The Chicago Bears pulled off a close win against a lifeless Carolina Panthers team on Thursday Night Football in Week 10, and it was mostly due to the Bears avoiding huge mistakes. Zero turnovers, zero sacks, 3.6 yards-per-carry, and a balanced approach with 33 passes to 37 runs. A final score of 16-13 in primetime was enough to annoy viewers who weren’t fans of either team, but seeing the Bears win will always be a beautiful sight to me.
Quarterback Tyson Bagent played well enough to let the team around him get another win. With Justin Fields expected to return this week, Bagent will return to the bench boasting a 2-2 record in games he started. Meanwhile, Fields, a top-50 fantasy football performer in 2022, should suit up and likely have some dust to shake off after nursing a thumb injury for the past month.
Fields has rushed 47 times in 6 games played so far this year. By the time he went down with his injury, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy had dialed up far too many plays keeping Fields in the pocket. Fields was also holding the ball too long, the combination of which made Bears games a sack-fest. Fantasy Football managers have to hope to see Fields scramble more to get enough points to be worth starting in fantasy. Until we know that he once again rip it downfield, Fields will be a slightly risky play in single-quarterback formats, with rushing potential too good to pass up. It’s worth noting only 7 quarterbacks scored more than 20 points in PPR format in Week 10, and Fields averaged 20.16 points through the first five weeks before his injury.
The Bears running back room has some interesting developments for both the team and Fantasy Football: Khalil Herbert is practicing this week (and last) in his window to return from injured reserve. Herbert came into this season as the top running back, but D’Onta Foreman has emerged as the best reserve running back in his absence. The latter averaged 4.3 yards yards-per-carry when he stepped up in Herbert’s absence. Foreman is still in play for Fantasy Football flex position, as the Bears will likely split carries between the two, but Roschon Johnson is no longer in play (he was only in play for deep leagues anyway) and Darryton Evans was waived by the Bears this week.
Consider Herbert a RB2 and Foreman a deep flex this week.
If the Saints game was a breakout game for Darnell Mooney, then the Panthers game was a return to normal for the fourth-year receiver. In the former game, he had 82 receiving yards. The latter, just 14 yards. He still hasn’t caught a touchdown since week 1 against the Packers, so the loss or gain of Justin Fields doesn’t move his needle enough, so he’s not in play for the Bears for Fantasy Football.
A player who did see a significant drop off in production when Justin Fields suffered his injury in Week 6: DJ Moore. The sixth-year receiver was headed toward a career year after a four-game stretch in Weeks 2-5 where he averaged 126.5 receiving yards per game and 5 touchdowns. That included a game against the Commanders where Moore scored 3 touchdowns and put up the second-most single-game receiving yards in Bears history. Moore had 49.0 fantasy points in PPR format that week. He hasn’t even approached that since, failing to top 60 receiving yards or score a touchdown in the 4 games with Bagent at the helm. This statistic drop-off is despite continuing to average over 7 targets per game in games without Fields at quarterback. Moore is a fantastic play with Fields expected back.
Cole Kmet continues to hold down the fort at tight end for the Bears and Fantasy Football managers, rarely having a bad game but also rarely having a killer performance. Kmet is great for the Bears in ways he isn’t always great in fantasy, similar to George Kittle. When a tight end often plays off the line, they get involved with chipping and run blocking in ways which can reduce their number of receptions. Those plays can help lead to victories, though. Kmet was just under 5 receptions per game averages in the first five weeks so of the season before Fields went down, and the Bears don’t sub tight ends when the field gets short, so Kmet is still great value in PPR format.
Let's look at what three major Fantasy Football websites have to say about the Bears players:
Fields (thumb) did not play against the Panthers in Week 10 and is still listed as questionable for the Week 11 game versus the Lions. Even if he plays — which does seem likely —fantasy managers will likely have better options for the QB spot.
Over his first six starts before exiting midway through a Week 6 loss to the Vikings with the injury, Fields completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 7.4 yards per attempt and 11 touchdowns against six interceptions while accounting for 237 yards and another score as a runner.
The last time we saw Fields, he was fresh off QB3 and QB1 finishes in fantasy before an injury booted him from his Week 6 game against Minnesota. The rushing upside is always present with Fields, especially with the Bears recommitting to using his legs. Fields is second in rushing yards per game and sixth in red zone carries per game. Fields remains an underrated passer. Among 37 qualifying quarterbacks, he ranks 11th in yards per attempt, 14th in highly accurate throw rate, and 11th in hero throw rate. Since Week 5, the Lions have been a team that you can pass against with a high degree of success. They have allowed the ninth-highest yards per attempt, the fourth-most passing touchdowns (tied), and the 12th-most fantasy points via passing. Fields’ biggest concern is against the Lions’ pass rush. Detroit is tenth in pressure rate. Against pressure, Fields has been middle of the road, ranking 20th in adjusted completion rate and 17th in passing grade. Since Week 5, the Lions have the 12th-highest rate of single-high (55.1%) and have allowed the second-highest fantasy points per dropback in single-high. Among 37 qualifying quarterbacks against single-high, Fields is tenth in yards per attempt and fantasy points per dropback against single-high while also ranking sixth in CPOE. This game could turn into a shootout easily. If that happens, Fields could be a top-three quarterback this week.
Herbert (ankle) did not play in the Week 10 game against the Panthers and is currently still on IR. It is looking like he will be activated for the Week 11 game against Detroit and he just may get enough carries to be worth an RB2 spot for fantasy managers.
Though Herbert is now dealing with a shin issue in addition to the ankle sprain and was a limited participant Wednesday to kick off his second week of practice, his ability to take every rep Thursday suggests he’s tracking toward a return to the lineup Sunday in Detroit. The Bears will have to activate Herbert from IR by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday in order for him to be eligible to play this weekend. Herbert opened the season as the Bears’ top option on early downs, but upon his return to action, he could have to share those duties or perhaps even cede them entirely to D’Onta Foreman.
Herbert hasn’t seen the field since Week 4 due to an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve, but he was able to participate and log a limited practice on Wednesday. He will have a chance to play this week, but we won’t get word on his official status until closer to game day. His return to the lineup would be bad news for D’Onta Foreman, who has been a great fantasy option over the past few weeks in his absence.
*Note: Herbert is in his 21-day window to return off IR, but was still limited in practice on Wednesday.
Foreman rushed 21 times for 80 yards and a touchdown in the Bears’ Week 10 win over the Panthers, adding two catches for 12 yards. He seems to be the clear No. 2 running back, assuming Khalil Herbert (ankle) is back as expected in Week 11 versus the Lions.
Foreman is still looking to move past an ankle injury that he suffered at some point during the Bears’ Week 10 win over the Panthers back on Nov. 9. While the ankle issue didn’t appear to affect his workload during the contest, Foreman may need to upgrade to full practice participation Friday to avoid an injury designation for this Sunday’s game in Detroit.
He should be good to go against the Lions if he can log a full practice session before the end of the week, but he might be in line for less work with Khalil Herbert (ankle) possibly returning to the lineup for Chicago.
In Week 10 against Carolina, Moore caught 5-of-9 targets for 58 yards and rushed once for another yard in the win. In Week 11, the Bears head to Detroit for a game against the division-leading Lions. Our projections put Moore in the WR2/WR3 range for the week.
Moore secured five of nine targets for 58 yards and rushed once for one yard in the Bears’ 16-13 win over the Panthers on Thursday night. Moore set the pace for the Bears in receiving yards and targets while tying Cole Kmet for the team lead in receptions. The talented wideout wasn’t able to come close to a top-end performance against his old squad, but Moore’s receiving yardage total was his highest since his breakout 230-yard effort Week 5 against the Commanders. The veteran could see a boost in production again in a Week 11 divisional clash against the Lions on Sunday, Nov. 19 that should mark Justin Fields’ (thumb) return to action.
In Weeks 1-5 with Fields under center, Moore had a 22.4% target share, a 44.3% air-yard share, 3.18 YPRR, and a 37.1% first-read share. He also led the team with four end-zone targets. Since Week 5, the Lions have the 12th-highest rate of single-high (55.1%). In the first five games of the season, Moore dominated single-high with 3.16 YPRR and a team-leading 35.3% first-read share. Moore is eighth among wide receivers in deep targets. He will run about 82% of his routes against Cameron Sutton (61.5% catch rate and 106.0 passer rating) and Jerry Jacobs (60.4% catch rate and 80.2 passer rating). Since Week 5, Detroit has allowed the eighth-highest PPR points per target and the sixth-most receiving touchdowns (tied) to perimeter wide receivers.
Mooney caught 2-of-4 targets for 14 yards in the Bears’ Week 10 win over the Panthers. Chicago will face a tough challenge going against the division-leading Lions in Week 11. Mooney will likely not see enough targets thrown his way to even be worth a flex spot.
Mooney was coming off a season-best 5-82 line on six targets in Week 9 against the Saints, but his production took a notable dive in the low-scoring win. The speedster was a clear complementary option behind top targets DJ Moore and Cole Kmet, and even rookie back Roschon Johnson saw more targets (six) than Mooney. The fourth-year pro could potentially see a boost in his outlook if Justin Fields (thumb) is able to return for a Week 11 road battle against the Lions on Nov. 19.
With Fields under center, Mooney had a 9.9% target share, a 17.3% air-yard share, 0.82 YPRR, and a 13.5% first-read share. In Weeks 1-5, he had only two red zone targets with one weekly finish as a WR3 or better (WR20). Since Week 5, the Lions have the 12th-highest rate of single-high (55.1%). With Fields against single-high, Mooney saw his target share increase to 11.8%, his air-yard share rose to 25.4% (16.7 aDOT), and his first-read share stood at 15.7%. Since Week 5, the Lions have been a turnstile against slot receivers, allowing the third-highest PPR points per target and the second-most receiving touchdowns. Mooney will run about 67% of his routes against Brian Branch (76.7% catch rate and 114.4 passer rating). Among 29 qualifying slot corners, Branch has allowed the most receiving touchdowns and the sixth-highest passer rating. Mooney is a solid flex this week with upside.
Kmet caught 5-of-7 targets for 45 yards and also rushed for a yard in the Bears’ Week 10 win over the Panthers. He heads to Detroit for a Week 11 game against the Lions, who are much better against the run than the pass. Kmet may be worth a start at tight end in deep leagues.
Four days after posting a two-touchdown tally in Week 9, Kmet didn’t turn in quite as productive a performance but still tied DJ Moore for the team lead in receptions while checking in second in both receiving yards and targets. Kmet now has at least five catches in three consecutive contests and seemingly has a good chance of getting Justin Fields (thumb) back as his quarterback for a Week 11 divisional road showdown against the Lions on Nov. 19.
Kmet is the TE6 in fantasy, ranking fifth in red zone targets. Among 51 qualifying tight ends, he is ninth in target share (18.0%), tenth in YPRR (1.70), fifth in end zone targets (five), and 12th in first-read share (18.9%). Since Week 5, the Lions have the 12th-highest rate of single-high (55.1%). With Fields under center, against single-high, Kmet has had an 18.8% target share and a 21.6% first-read share. The Lions have been a friendly matchup for tight ends this season, allowing the tenth-highest fantasy points per game and the 12th-highest yards per reception.
Santos converted all three of his field-goal attempts and his line extra-point try in the Bears’ 16-13 win over the Panthers on Thursday. This was the second time all season Santos has surpassed seven points in a game. He’ll remain a low-floor weekly option with potential for occasional spike weeks.
Santos hit field goals from 54, 36, and 39 yards out to help propel the Bears to their third win of the season. The veteran kicker has been reliable for the Bears in 2023, having made 15 of his 16 field goals and missing just one of his 20 extra-point tries. He will take on the Lions in Week 11.
What do you think? Did the so-called fantasy experts get it right with these outlooks? In my humble opinion, Cole Kmet is the lone player on the Bears who had good production before and after Fields’ injury this season. He’s been a top-10 fantasy performer at the tight end position and caught three touchdowns in the two games directly before Fields went down. He should have a touchdown and more, while this game could become a fun stat contest between Kmet and Lions rookie Sam LaPorta.
The Bears travel to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday, November 19, 2023 at Noon Central Time.