The Chicago Bears roll on... downhill to a good draft pick and a bad product on Sundays. So lucky us, they play on Thursday this week. There was early-season excitement for the Fantasy Football prospects of DJ Moore, Justin Fields, Cole Kmet, and Khalil Herbert, but it’s fizzled at the mid-way point of a season seemingly headed toward a coaching overhaul.
If it was time to round down on scoring projections last week, it’s time to mitigate losses this week. Limit Bears players to the flex and, therefore, bench if necessary, in all but deep leagues.
Justin Fields won’t be medically cleared to play Thursday, setting up a return after the mini-bye in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. Against the Panthers, we’ll see another game of rookie Tyson Bagent at quarterback. Bagent reportedly told the coaches not to limit the playbook when he stepped in at quarterback a few weeks ago, but after a disastrous second-half against the Saints where he gave up the football four times in a one-score game, it might be worth wondering if they should have. Depending on how much your league penalizes giveaways, Bagent could range from below-average all the way to 32/32 of all NFL starters. He absolutely cannot be trusted in Fantasy Football.
At running back, the Bears will look to balance depth with health as D’Onta Foreman has been a force and Khalil Herbert could return off IR this week. Going into the season, Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson were projected to be the 1-2 punch at running back. Both went down in Week 5, and Herbert went to IR with an injured ankle and Roschon Johnson went into the league’s concussion protocol.
Foreman stepped up when called upon, and was FedEx Ground Player of the Week 8 when he scored 33 fantasy points (PPR format) against the Raiders. A performance like that puts managers over the top in Fantasy Football, but the consistency (touchdown-deficient team) just hasn’t been there for Foreman, as he’s averaged 6.87 fantasy points in the three games less the Raiders win.
Herbert was the 37th-highest scoring running back in PPR formats for Fantasy Football last year, and that was when he was the change-of-pace back behind David Montgomery. Of course it was best then to temper expectations until we saw what he could do, but the early-season injury still limits what we know about how the Bears plan(ned) to use him. What we do know is that he averaged about 57% of the snaps through the first four weeks, and if he’s active for Thursday, then he’ll be an asset for a team that runs the ball much better than they throw the ball. Can this coaching staff be trusted? History says no.
If he suits up, Herbert’s snaps and carries are most likely to eat into Roschon Johnson’s fantasy outlook, but that doesn’t neccesarily mean it’s time to drop Johnson yet. Darryton Evans, who won’t be a factor once Herbert returns, was the third look for the Bears at running back in a blowout loss against the Chargers in Week 8, but Evans also had the only touchdown for Bears position players in that game. If Johnson is the #3 moving forward, he could be considered a low-end touchdown-or-bust for a team that struggles to get touchdowns.
Still, the Bears’ habit of calling too many dropbacks when losing makes it tough to play any running back except in deep formats.
Bears fans saw an interesting development when Darnell Mooney looked like vintage WR2 form last week against the Saints. Mooney led all Bears receivers with 82 receiving yards on 5 catches, but without a touchdown it was still only a 13.2 fantasy score. He hasn’t been rostered much lately and a low ceiling won’t change that unless Fields returns and favors him downfield. DJ Moore, who will play this week against his former team, has yet to catch a touchdown pass from Bagent and is at best a flex play.
Cole Kmet is the only Bears tight end worth rostering, playing 85% of the snaps against the Saints and catching two touchdowns to remain in the top-8 fantasy tight end group. He’s often found blocking (well) when the Bears dedicate themselves to the run, but they don’t do that often enough to really limit Kmet’s favorable odds for scoring a touchdown and catching 5+ passes. He’s a great tight end for the Bears and in Fantasy Football.
Let's look at what three major Fantasy Football websites have to say about the Bears players:
In Week 9 versus the Saints, Bagent completed 18-of-30 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed eight times for 70 yards and lost a fumble. In Week 10, Chicago plays on a short week as they prepare for a Thursday meeting with the Panthers.
Bagent arguably has been better for fantasy purposes than he has been in real-life terms for the Bears, rushing for 97 yards and two touchdowns while completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 6.3 yards per attempt in roughly 14 quarters of action thus far in his NFL career. The problem is that he’s turned the ball over eight times (six interceptions, two lost fumbles), though he’s at least been able to avoid sacks (five on 115 dropbacks), which have long been Fields’ kryptonite. The matchup this Thursday is about as good as one could ask for, with the Panthers ruling out edge rusher Brian Burns (concussion) and cornerback CJ Henderson (concussion) and listing both of their starting safeties as questionable.
Bagent will get another start with Justin Fields (thumb) listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game with the Panthers. Bagent struggled in his last outing, committing four turnovers in a loss to the Saints. With the Bears set to have a longer rest period after Thursday’s game, Justin Fields will likely regain the starting job in Week 11.
Herbert (ankle) was finally back at practice and may come off of IR in time for Thursday night’s Week 10 game with the Panthers. Keep an eye on the news. If he plays, he can be considered for a fringe RB2 start.
The bigger question is the extent of Herbert’s role, as D’Onta Foreman found some success as a rusher over the past month, while Darrynton Evans and Roschon Johnson handled more of the backfield snaps on passing downs.
Herbert is continuing to recover from an ankle injury, but was able to log full practice sessions all week. Herbert is aiming to be activated and play in his first game since Week 5. Fantasy managers will want to continue to monitor his status up until kickoff.
*Note: Herbert is in his 21-day window to return off IR, but as of writing is listed as Questionable for Thursday Night Football.
Foreman had 20 carries for 83 yards in the Bears’ Week 9 loss to the Saints. In Week 10 against the Panthers, it looks like Khalil Herbert (ankle) could be back — which may take some value away from Foreman. Foreman is projected to have downside flex value if Herbert returns, but could be worth an RB2 spot if Herbert isn’t back or is working his way back slowly.
The bruising back took on another heavy workload as the unquestioned lead back and was reasonably productive with the opportunity. Foreman didn’t have any involvement in the passing game after logging eight targets over the previous three games, but his rushing yardage tally was his second over 80 in his four-game starting stint. Khalil Herbert (IR-ankle) is eligible to return for Thursday night’s Week 10 matchup against the Panthers, but with Foreman putting together a solid body of work thus far and a divisional clash against the Lions on tap in Week 11, the Bears may opt to be cautious with Herbert for the time being.
Foreman was involved heavily on the ground on Sunday, getting 20 carries and turning that into a team-high 83 yards in a close loss to the Saints. He wasn’t particularly efficient and didn’t find the end zone, so his production was pretty underwhelming from a fantasy perspective. He’s capable of having a good game but is hard to depend on thanks to his reliance on scoring touchdowns to have a good fantasy outing.
Johnson had two carries for six yards and added one catch for nine yards in the Bears’ Week 9 loss to the Saints. If Khalil Herbert (ankle) is back for the Week 10 game against the Panthers, it’s likely Johnson will have even less value for fantasy managers, who should be looking elsewhere at running back.
Johnson saw the same amount of work as No. 3 running back Darrynton Evans, while D’Onta Foreman dominated the backfield with 20 rushing attempts. Other than the game when Johnson was injured in Week 5, this was the first time he had fewer than six touches in a game. He also hasn’t had 50 scrimmage yards in a game since Week 1, making Johnson a low-upside fantasy option.
The Bears have run the ball well this season. Unfortunately, it has been with the muddiest committee in the league. Outstanding rookie Roschon Johnson only earned three touches in Chicago’s Week 9 loss to New Orleans. He was overshadowed by D’Onta Foreman and Darrynton Evans, which is troubling. I still want a piece of this backfield, and Roschon is easily the most talented one here.
In Week 9 against the Saints, Moore caught 3-of-5 targets for 55 yards and also lost a fumble. He faces his former team in Week 10 as the Bears go up against the Panthers. Moore has fantasy value as an WR3/flex option.
It was a ragged day all the way around for the normally reliable receiver, who finished behind both Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney in receptions while also losing a fumble in Bears territory early in the third quarter that led to a Saints field goal. Moore has now been under the 100-yard mark in four consecutive contests after a stellar two-game stretch in Weeks 4 and 5, but he could have Justin Fields (thumb) back under center in a Week 10 home matchup against the Panthers on Thursday night.
Moore struggled to get going on Sunday, catching just three passes in the team’s loss to New Orleans. It didn’t help that the offense turned the ball over five times, including a fumble that he himself coughed up. He hasn’t been good with Tyson Bagent at QB for the Bears, but he will go back to being a solid WR2 option if Justin Fields is able to return for Week 10.
In Week 9 against New Orleans, Mooney caught 5-of-6 targets for 82 yards. Things could get interesting for Mooney in the Week 10 Thursday night game against Carolina if QB Justin Fields (thumb) makes his return.
Mooney got off to a fast start with a 13-yard reception on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage and a game-high 38-yard grab on the last play of the opening period. The fourth-year speedster went on to set the pace in receiving yards for Chicago on the afternoon with a figure that also qualified as a season high. Mooney has a 12-203 line over his last four games after a four-game stretch during which he was blanked on three occasions, and he could have Justin Fields (thumb) back as his quarterback in a Week 10 home matchup against the Panthers on Thursday night.
Mooney had a good game on Sunday, leading the team in receiving yards with 82 on the day. He did this despite having rookie QB Tyson Bagent starting for the Bears, which makes this performance all the more impressive. He hasn’t had a good year so far and likely won’t bring any sort of consistent fantasy value, even when Justin Fields is back in the lineup for Chicago.
Kmet (knee) caught 6-of-8 targets for 55 yards and two touchdowns in Week 9 against New Orleans. Right now, however, Kmet is questionable for the short-week game against the Panthers. His fantasy managers should definitely keep an eye on the injury reports leading up to Week 10’s Thursday night kickoff.
He has five touchdown catches across his last six games, and the tight end is the one player in the Bears’ passing game whose production may not be affected much if Justin Fields (thumb) replaces Tyson Bagent under center for Thursday night’s date with the Panthers.
The 24-year-old has been quite productive this season, catching 41 passes for 374 yards and five touchdowns. In Week 9 alone, he found the end zone twice. If active on Thursday night, fantasy managers should view him as a low-end TE1 who gets a slight value boost if Justin Fields (thumb) suits up.
Santos has 19 points over the last four games. Aside from a massive game in Week 5, when he scored 16 points, he hasn’t had more than seven points in any contest. Unless the Bears offense shows significant improvement, Santos will be a low-floor fantasy option.
Santos didn’t get many opportunities to score on Sunday and ended the game with an underwhelming five points. He also missed one of his two field goal attempts, which further added to the disappointment that fantasy managers felt if they started him. He’s not worth playing for the foreseeable future while Chicago’s offense looks like one of the worst in the league.
What do you think? Did the so-called fantasy experts get it right with these outlooks? In my humble opinion, the Bears don’t have a great fantasy option this week, which is why DJ Moore should be the only safe play as he plays his former team. This game has implications for who won the trade last March, where the Panthers ended up with the pick to take Bryce Young and the Bears got DJ Moore and the Panthers’ upcoming first-round pick. The story plays well for Moore to play well in a tight contest.
The Bears return home to Soldier Field to take on the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 7:15 PM Central Time.