The Chargers came into the season with expectations to be the Chiefs’ only competition in the AFC West, but instead, they sit at 2-4 and have one of the worst defenses in the league in many stats, not the least of which Defensive Yards Average.
The Bears, on the other hand, came into the season expecting their success to depend on Justin Fields’ performance, and instead have watched their defense cripple on 3rd downs and in second halves, while currently riding the high of a victory on the back of a stellar running game and backup quarterback Tyson Bagent.
The midseason storylines of bad teams are going to make primetime football an unusual affair.
For Fantasy Football, Bagent remains a question mark despite nearly 6 quarters of regular season football tape from which to draw. His 171 total touchdowns at Shepherd should offer promise that the dude can lead a scoring drive, D-II defenses or otherwise, and he ran the ball well in the Bears preseason. His first career NFL appearance was a disaster, fumbling a ball that was picked up for a touchdown and then throwing a game-losing interception when he came in for Fields against the Vikings. He followed that up by spending four quarters throwing the ball around the line of scrimmage against the Raiders. Still, it worked too well to worry about throwing deep, and he wouldn’t have NFL opportunities if he didn’t have arm strength to heave it when needed.
Overall, he’s a fun risk in deep Fantasy Football leagues.
Chicago running backs will continue to be good value as the weather gets colder, but D’Onta Foreman is the clear leader of this pack while Khalil Herbert remains on Injured Reserve. For Foreman, touchdowns turned a good performance into a great one last Sunday, and he should continue that success as the Bears exploit a bad Chargers defense.
If it turns out the Bears' defense hasn’t turned a corner, then if the game script forces more throws, Foreman could be on the receiving. The Bears are likely to continue limiting Bagent’s target depth. That brings up Roschon Johnson, who recently cleared concussion protocol and should take Darryton Evans’ spot splitting snaps 60/40 with the leader Foreman. Johnson showed good ability catching passes out of the backfield before he suffered his concussion in Week 5, but it will be best to watch snap counts before starting him in fantasy.
All Bears’ receivers take a hit while Fields is out, none more than DJ Moore, who had worked his way into Top-5 receivers stats. Say what you want about Fields, he throws a beautiful deep ball and it’s worked well for Darnell Mooney in the past too. Moore had 9 targets, and Mooney had 5 against the Raiders.
Where the Bears have a receiver who benefits from Bagent’s start is rookie Tyler Scott, who saw 56% of the snaps last week compared to 23% of the snaps in the last game Fields finished. Scott will still be touchdown-dependent until he can get more than the 3 targets he saw against the Raiders, but you have to see the field to see the ball, and it’s a positive development.
Against the Raiders, Cole Kmet had more zeros than a CEO’s paycheck, but he blocked his tail off and was a big reason Foreman and Evans averaged a combined 4.57 yards per carry. That’s good for Bears fans. Not so much for Fantasy Football managers. He could have more success against the Chargers, but the Raiders aren’t exactly an elite defense either, and he never saw the ball. The floor is still zero until Fields returns. Hopefully, if this short passing game continues, a few go his way for some big boy YAC.
Let's look at what three major Fantasy Football websites have to say about the Bears players:
Bagent connected on 21 of 29 throws for 162 yards and a touchdown, with three carries for 24 yards in his first career start. Bagent is slated to start again in Week 8 and is in play as a streaming option against a Chargers defense that has allowed opponents to throw for over 300 yards per game.
The undrafted rookie out of Division II Shepherd managed the game effectively in the Bears’ convincing 30-12 win over Las Vegas, completing 21 of 29 pass attempts for 162 yards and a touchdown while adding 24 yards on the ground and committing no turnovers. Because the Bears are likely to rely on a ground-heavy game plan once again Week 8 while limiting Bagent’s opportunities to the throw downfield, the 23-year-old profiles as a low-end fantasy option in leagues that start two quarterbacks or have a QB flex spot available.
He only mustered 5.6 yards per attempt with zero big-time throws, so let’s be real about his performance. Bagent finished as the QB21 for the week. I don’t expect the Bears to let him rip it in his second NFL start, but he can produce solid QB2 numbers again this week in a wonderful matchup. The Chargers have allowed the highest yards per attempt, the most passing yards per game, and the second-highest passer rating to opposing quarterbacks.
Foreman was one of Week 7’s fantasy stars, rushing 16 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns with three receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. Foreman’s effort should keep him involved even when Roschon Johnson returns. Foreman remains a flex option unless Johnson suits up in Week 8.
The veteran back has had trouble even getting onto the field in Chicago and was a healthy scratch for four of the first five games, but after this performance, Foreman figures to have a significant role in Week 8 against the Chargers regardless of Johnson’s availability.
D’Onta Foreman rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns in the Bears’ 30-12 win over the Raiders. He also caught 3-of-5 targets for 31 yards and one touchdown through the air. Foreman is playing for the injured Roschon Johnson and Khalil Herbert and turned in an excellent performance in Week 7. Foreman was likely led a lot of teams to victory this week with his three touchdown performance.
Johnson has been sidelined since Week 5 with a concussion. He’s expected to clear protocol in advance of Week 8 but D’Onta Foreman has been productive in Johnson’s absence and the Chargers run defense is solid, so the safe play is relying on another running back for fantasy purposes.
His upcoming role is in some question...after D’Onta Foreman reeled off 187 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns over the last two games with Khalil Herbert (ankle, IR) sidelined. In five games this season, Johnson is averaging 4.9 yards on his 25 carries, has hauled in 11 of 12 targets for 58 yards and scored one rushing TD.
Moore had a season-high eight receptions in Week 7 for only 54 yards. Moore lines up for another productive game in Week 8. He belongs in the WR1 tier facing a Chargers secondary allowing the most passing yards per game in the league.
With undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent under center in place of Justin Fields (thumb), the Bears’ passing game was limited to short, safe tosses, but Moore was still the team’s top option through the air. The former Panther has exactly eight catches in three of the last four games, amassing a 29-466-4 line on 36 targets over that stretch, but if Fields isn’t able to return in Week 8 against the Chargers, Moore will likely be more of a floor than a ceiling play.
DJ Moore caught 8-of-9 targets for 54 yards in the Bears’ 30-12 win over the Raiders. Moore led the team in receptions, targets, and receiving yards in the win Sunday. The 26-year-old continues to perform well and has turned in solid performances over the last few weeks. Fantasy managers should continue to start Moore heading into a Week 8 matchup with the Chargers.
Mooney caught a season-high four passes in Week 7 for 32 yards as rookie QB Tyson Bagent focused on short passes. Even though Mooney should have more room to maneuver in Week 8 against the Chargers, he’s not reliable enough to trust in a fantasy sense.
Mooney was second among Chicago’s wide receivers with four targets in a game the team controlled throughout. On the season, he has yet to surpass 53 yards in a game while finding the end zone once. Unless Mooney begins to see an uptick in targets, he’ll likely continue to be a low-upside fantasy option.
Last week with Bagent, Mooney handled a 13.8% target share and a 38.1% air-yard share. He had 1.33 YPRR with a 21.1% first-read share. Since Week 2, Mooney has finished as a WR4 or better only once (WR45). Mooney has only one red zone target since Week 2. He will run about 69% of his routes against Ja’Sir Taylor (62.1% catch rate and 89.7 passer rating).
Scott’s 33 scrimmage yards in Week 7 were the most he’s compiled all season, but he’s just an ancillary part of a low-octane offense, at least until QB Justin Fields returns. With rookie Tyson Bagent back under center in Week 8, Scott remains out of the fantasy discussion.
After being targeted five times over Chicago’s first five games, Scott has seen four targets in each of his last two games. The recent bump in production along with an increased snap share since Week 5 are promising, but until Scott can post higher yardage totals, he’s not yet a consistent fantasy option.
Tyler Scott caught 2-of-3 targets for 19 yards in the Bears’ 30-12 win over the Raiders. Scott also logged 14 rushing yards on two attempts. The 22-year-old has not topped 20 receiving yards in any game this season and has logged just seven receptions this season. Fantasy managers can leave Scott on the waiver wire for now.
With RB D’Onta Foreman doing the heavy lifting and rookie QB Tyson Bagent at the helm, Kmet did not garner any targets in Week 7. Expect that to change in Week 8 as Bagent and Kmet have another week of practice together. The Bears face a Chargers defense that is the worst in the NFL leaving Kmet as a solid fantasy option.
After recording at least 38 yards in four of his first five games, Kmet has a total of nine yards over his last two games. His recent slump coincides with Justin Fields’ thumb injury, and it’s possible that Kmet doesn’t regain his consistency until Fields is back in action.
Kmet is the TE10 in fantasy, ranking 11th in deep targets and fourth in red zone targets among tight ends. He has a 16.8% target share (12th) and a 14.2% air-yard share (11th). With Bagent under center, he failed to draw a target. The Chargers have allowed the eighth-most receiving yards and the fifth-highest yards per reception to tight ends. Even with the favorable matchup, with Bagent under center and the passing attack being neutered into game manage mode, Kmet is nothing more than a TE2.
Santos converted a 54-yard field goal in the Bears’ 30-12 win over the Raiders on Sunday. Santos missed one of his extra-point attempts, but he remains one of the more reliable kickers in the league. For fantasy, he has one game with more than seven points, and he lacks the consistent upside that many of the top kickers possess due to the Bears inconsistent offense.
Cairo Santos made 1-of-1 field goals (54) and 3-of-4 extra point attempts in the Bears’ 30-12 win over the Raiders. Santos missed his first extra point attempt of the season, but has luckily hit on all 11 of his field goal attempts. The Bears’ offense appears to be turning the corner which should provide Santos with extra opportunities moving forward. Santos is a solid starting option heading into Week 8.
What do you think? Did the so-called fantasy experts get it right with these outlooks? In my humble opinion, Tyson Bagent is the best fantasy play this week. The Chargers are going to watch tape and focus heavily on shutting down the short passing game. You think Luke Getsy will adjust? If Bagent can limit turnovers, and I’m confident he can, then he should benefit from some offensive line stability and run for some good yardage for fantasy value. That will limit receivers’ fantasy value, and Johnson’s return will limit Foreman’s ceiling, so watch Bagent run for 60 yards and a touchdown to push for 20 fantasy points.
The Bears travel to SoFi Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at 7:20 PM Central Time.