The Chicago Bears continued their inconsistent week-to-week play with another dreadful performance in the national spotlight on Sunday Night Football. Coming off a solid team performance on offense to complement an inspired defensive showing against the Raiders, the Bears found ways to do everything wrong against the Chargers. Zero sacks by the Bears defense, with only one takeaway when the game was out of reach, won’t get you anywhere against a Chargers team loaded with offensive talent. Compared to the Bears offense, which had only 295 total yards, it’s not hard to tell where the fantasy points were found on Saturday.
Moving forward, it’s best to round down for Bears players’ fantasy projections.
At quarterback last Sunday, Tyson Bagent looked more like the rookie quarterback who fumbled and threw a pick when he came in for an injured Justin FIelds against the Vikings. The Saints boast the second-lowest completion percentage allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Tyrann Mathieu make for a deadly combo, so multiple receivers will need to get going for the Bears to have a good shot in this one. Fields is expected to be out again, so Bagent will get the nod again, but the most disheartening thing about his play is the lack of QB runs. Bagent can move, baby, get him going!
Speaking of running the ball, the Bears decided one week of doing that well was enough and left Bagent out to dry with obvious dropbacks. Running backs only had 19 carries against the Chargers, and the Saints are another team which could get ahead early, so Luke Getsy might quit calling the runs in the second half.
D’Onta Foreman, the FedEx Ground Player of the Week in Week 7, led the Bears in carries in Week 8 with 9 rushes for 34 yards, but was actually outpaced by the rookie Roschon Johnson in snaps. Johnson had 6 carries and 3 receptions, 31 total yards, and taking the majority of the snaps makes a very interesting development while starter Khalil Herbert is on injured reserve for at least one more game. Still, the snap lead could just be because Johnson is a better backfield pass blocker. Darrynton Evans rounded out the group against the Chargers with the third-most snaps, but turned in the best value with 4 carries, 3 receptions, 40 total yards and the only touchdown of the group. He had the only salvageable fantasy performance despite the least amount of snaps.
That committee will likely be the same against the Saints, and they aren’t fun risks with this current coaching staff in place. The Saints defense is middle-of-the-pack in yards per carry allowed at 4.3, so we could see a similar rushing performance to what we saw last week, if recent performance and seasonal averages meet.
Receiver is another position for the Bears which is threatened by an offense that has a habit of being an unpleasant surprise. DJ Moore, the Bears leading receiver, has been a volume guy lately regardless of touchdowns. He’s averaged over 8 targets per game since Week 4, and has played at his fantasy floor in Fields’ absence, and barely scraped under double-digit fantasy points with 9.50 last week for his second-lowest output of the season. He’s a must-start based on that volume alone, but if you don’t have him and your fantasy league trade deadline hasn’t passed, he’s also a good buy-low candidate. Fields’ return could line up with Fantasy Football playoffs, and he’ll be a good payoff.
Darnell Mooney has finally been active in the Bears’ passing attack with Bagent at the helm, averaging 4 targets per game for the past 3 weeks. He still hasn’t seen the endzone since Week 1, and still without a contract extension it will be hard to imagine his best days in a Bears jersey are ahead of him. Still, the first play of the game was beautiful, and he should have had more if the referees knew their head from their...Rookie Tyler Scott continues to get more looks in the offense, with 58% of the snaps against the Chargers, but he’s yet to score a touchdown this year and unless his volume stays steady when Fields returns, he’s best left on the Fantasy Football waiver wire.
Cole Kmet showed his floor is a goose egg when the Bears commit themselves to pounding the rock, as he got dirty blocking all day in Week 7. So what do you think he did in Week 8 when they gave up running the ball? 10 targets, every one of them a reception, 79 yards and a solid day at the offense. The only thing he was missing was a touchdown, but he was one of the only players to really exploit a bad Chargers defense. The Saints defense presents a challenge for all Bears players trying to get open downfield, but PPR should help Kmet and Moore continue getting points. Unfortunately the last game showed just how bad these Bears can be, and they’re a liability for Fantasy Football owners.
Let's look at what three major Fantasy Football websites have to say about the Bears players:
With just a single passing score through three outings and not much value as a running threat, there isn’t much reason to trust Bagent in a matchup with a solid Saints defense.
Since taking over for Fields in the middle of Week 6 against the Vikings, Bagent has completed 56 of 80 passes for 477 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, rushed nine times for 27 yards and two more TDs and fumbled twice (one lost) across two-plus contests.
Among 36 qualifying quarterbacks, Bagent ranks 32nd in yards per attempt and 24th in fantasy points per dropback, but those numbers don’t tell the full tale. Bagent’s numbers as a passer could look wildly different if Velus Jones didn’t fall down in the end zone last week and if Darnell Mooney’s long completion last week wasn’t blown dead. A better indicator of Bagent’s passing prowess is the fact that among the sample group, he is fifth in adjusted completion rate, highly accurate throw rate, and hero throw rate. Despite those glittering numbers, Bagent remains only a QB2 this week against a staunch Saints pass defense. New Orleans has held passers to the second-lowest yards per attempt, the lowest passer rating, and the lowest adjusted completion rate. New Orleans has given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
Limited to just 24 snaps and nine combined carries and targets in his return last week, Johnson is likely the best play of this murky backfield against the Saints this week. This is, mind you, a very relative distinction.
Johnson was able to pass the league’s concussion protocol in time to suit up for Sunday’s matchup against the Chargers. The 22-year-old wound up splitting touches with D’Onta Foreman, with neither player standing out in the box score. Both backs could struggle to develop consistent value due to fluctuating usage from an indecisive coaching staff trying to salvage a season that is clearly heading the wrong direction, and that’s before the eventual return of Khalil Herbert (ankle) gets factored in. For now, assume another roughly even split between Johnson and Foreman against the Saints in Week 9.
Among 65 qualifying backs, Johnson is 49th in missed tackles forced per attempt and yards after contact per attempt. Johnson is a low-end/deep league flex play only against a defense that has contained backs with the sixth-lowest fantasy points per game and the 11th-fewest rushing yards per game allowed.
Seeing nine totes but minimal snaps in the passing phase last week, a committee approach is now confirmed in Chicago’s backfield. Given the lack of floor and upside here, Foreman is best left on the pine against the Saints.
Foreman rushed nine times for 34 yards and caught one of his two targets for two yards in Sunday’s 30-13 loss to the Chargers. Foreman was coming off a massive three-TD performance against the Raiders, but that didn’t seem to earn the veteran any extra work against the Chargers, as he split carries almost evenly with Roschon Johnson...
Among 65 qualifying backs, he ranks 16th in missed tackles forced per attempt and 32nd in yards after contact per attempt. The Saints are a slightly below-average matchup for Foreman. They have the 13th-highest stuff rate while holding backs to the eighth-lowest yards per carry on zone runs (Foreman 60% zone).
The passing production has dipped in the wake of Justin Fields’ injury, particularly for Moore. Based on playmaking talent alone, it’s fine to still ride with Moore in lineups, but the risks of facing a top secondary aligned with Tyson Bagent isn’t ideal.
Sunday Night Football featured teams with losing records in Week 8, but fans were treated to an individual battle between two of the league’s top talents when Moore locked horns with Chargers lockdown corner Asante Samuel. Both players had their moments, with the end result being a solid receiving line for Chicago’s young star. Moore hasn’t been able to recapture the magic from his whopping three-touchdown game in Week 5, but his fantasy floor remains high heading into Week 9 after reaching 50 yards in three straight games.
With Bagent under center, Moore has had a 22.7% target share, a 25.7% air-yard share, 1.68 YPRR, and a 31.8% first-read share. Moore is fifth in deep targets and 29th in red zone looks among wide receivers. Moore will run about 83% of his routes on the perimeter against Marshon Lattimore (56.8% catch rate and 76.1 passer rating) and Paulson Adebo (51.7% catch rate and 43.9 passer rating). New Orleans has allowed the lowest PPR points per target and receiving yards per game to perimeter wide receivers.
Sent just three targets on his 36 routes last week, it’s wise to avoid Mooney against a capable New Orleans pass defense.
Mooney caught one of four targets for 41 yards in the Bears’ 30-13 loss to the Chargers on Sunday. He added three rushing yards on one carry. Mooney hauled in a deep pass in the first quarter but was unable to secure any of his three other targets. He has posted between 32 and 53 yards in five games but was shut out in the other three contests. For now, he’s a low-floor, low-upside fantasy option in an erratic Chicago passing attack.
Mooney is a sneaky flex play this week. With Bagent, he has had a 12.1% target share, a 28.5% air-yard share, 1.28 YPRR, and a 15.9% first-read share. Mooney has only two red zone targets this season, so to pay off, he’ll likely need to break a big play, but that’s possible this week. The Saints have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards and the seventh-most receiving touchdowns (tied) to opposing slot receivers. Mooney will run about 73% of his routes against Alontae Taylor (66.7% catch rate and 100.5 passer rating).
It’s not easy to accrue value while being the third receiver on a bad Chicago offense. Look for better options at this deep position than Scott against the Saints.
Scott caught one pass for 11 yards in the Bears’ 30-13 loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Scott has played 58 percent of Chicago’s snaps over the last three games, though he’s yet to post 20 yards in any contest. The increased usage is promising, but until his production follows, he may not be a reliable fantasy option.
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.
As the checkdown target last week, Kmet consumed all of his targets to deliver a strong PPR performance. The floor is a bit lower against a solid Saints defense.
Kmet brought in all 10 of his targets for 79 yards in Sunday’s 30-13 loss to the Chargers. Kmet turned out to be one of the few bright spots for Chicago’s offense in a game that understandably got out of hand for a rebuilding team that was starting an undrafted free agent under center. The tight end set new high-water marks in both targets and receptions Sunday after being held catchless in last week’s win over Las Vegas.
With Bagent under center, Kmet has had a 15.2% target share, a 16.7% air-yard share, 1.72 YPRR, and an 18.2% first read share. The Saints are a team I don’t want to test with tight ends in fantasy. New Orleans has held tight ends to the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game and the second-lowest receiving yards per game.
Santos converted his lone extra-point attempt in the Bears’ 30-13 loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Santos now has five games in which he’s attempted one or fewer field goals. Unless the Chicago offense begins to show increased production, Santos will continue to be a low-floor fantasy option.
It was a quiet night for the whole Bears offense. Santos remains off the fantasy radar outside of very deep leagues.
What do you think? Did the so-called fantasy experts get it right with these outlooks? In my humble opinion, Tyson Bagent was my pick for a risky-fun play last week but was kept in check by a bad Chargers defense. A better Saints defense makes the safe play a running back, and following the snap counts from last week that means Roschon Johnson is the best play on the Bears roster this week.
The Bears travel to the Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 5, 2023 at Noon Central Time.