Most attention has been on the Bears’ coach(es) lately, but let’s talk about which Bears you should be starting in fantasy football.
The streak currently sits at 5-straight losses, and the writing is on the wall for coach Matt Nagy to be a free agent soon. Last week, the Chicago Bears let a Lamar-less Baltimore Ravens team score a touchdown within the final two-minute warning of the game (again!), and walked out of Soldier Field as the cobwebs grow in Club Dub.
In fantasy football, the Bears were as abysmal as they had been in weeks prior, especially in the first half of that Ravens matchup. Until receiver Darnell Mooney caught a 60-yard touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter, most fantasy managers with a Chicago Bear on their team were pining for years prior when they took Jonathan Taylor on a flier and left him on the bench all year. Mooney had a solid final stat, although 5 receptions on 16 targets screams “inaccurate throws.”
Quarterback Justin Fields, meanwhile, didn’t contribute enough to help the Bears keep a goose egg off the halftime score. What’s worse for fantasy managers and Bears fans alike; he left the game with a rib injury in the 3rd quarter and never returned. Fields finished with 3.46 fantasy points in standard PPR format. Those who jumped at the chance to say it was time to start Justin Fields in fantasy should take a cold shower.
Receiver Allen Robinson II did not play due to a hamstring injury. The Bears trailed for most of the second half, so the game-script kept running back David Montgomery from 20 carries. Even still with 14 carries, he only reached 7.7 fantasy points.
Tight ends Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham still weren’t involved enough to be on fantasy radars. They had 2.2 and 4.5 fantasy points, respectively. Running back Khalil Herbert saw one carry and only 7 total snaps. Montgomery’s return from injury has eaten up almost all of Herbert’s playing time, even with Damien Williams sidelined with a calf injury.
If you’re playing start/sit with the Bears, you may need to request your commissioner expand the bench spots.
Here’s your start/sit guide for the Bears in week 12:
START: David Montgomery
Drafting Montgomery early has made the past two months a tough pill to swallow for fantasy managers. A knee injury in week 4 took Monty out of action, but even before then, he was averaging 14.95 fantasy points per contest. The Bears weren’t leading in enough game clock for the young running back to be used consistently.
Now that he’s back from injury, he should be fed handoffs and thrown the ball, right? No, he’s taking snaps in the wildcat package. It can’t be understated how inept this offense is.
Better days should still be ahead for Montgomery. Justin Fields is likely sitting the game out this Thursday against the Detroit Lions, meaning the Bears will send Andy Dalton out to play quarterback. Dalton played efficient football, if not exciting (save for the Mooney throw), in the second half against the Ravens. But when both sub-.500 NFC North teams take the field with 0-0 on the scoreboard this Thanksgiving, the Lions will have to gameplan for a Bears running attack which is going to push extremely hard to avoid throwing the ball.
Montgomery hardly sat at all against the Ravens, with 95% of the snaps, so the book on his injury can be closed.
ESPN projects Montgomery as:
Montgomery rushed for just 58 yards in Week 11, but he got 14 out of the 15 RB carries for the Bears, which bodes very well for his volume going forward. He gets a fantastic matchup against the Lions in Week 12 and projects to be an RB1/RB2.
There aren’t enough Bears players to go around in starting fantasy lineups, but there’s no reason to second-guess inserting Montgomery into your lineup this week. Start the former Cyclone.
SIT: Jimmy Graham
Some may have watched Andy Dalton’s entrance and made a mental connection as the veteran quarterback made passing connections to his veteran tight end. Jimmy Graham hadn’t been used much outside of the goalline all year, and the first pass Dalton throws is a 23-yarder to Graham?
Does this mean Graham is back on the radar?
Not likely. The passing plays designed for Graham are likely the result of Dalton’s familiarity with Graham when they run together as the 2s. Once Dalton entered the game, the Bears needed to think quickly for plays he might know well which involve Darnell Mooney. While deciding, they made quick decisions to run easy routes for veterans to find each other for easy gains.
Graham’s snaps still don’t provide any optimism for his fantasy prospects moving forward. 12 plays involving the 5X Pro Bowler only amounted to 20% of the Bears’ offensive snaps.
ESPN projects Graham as:
Graham had two receptions (three targets) for 25 yards in Week 11. He’s the No. 2 tight end for a weak Bears offense. Even in a strong matchup against the Lions in Week 12, Graham should not be considered for fantasy lineups.
Graham may very well catch a touchdown pass for the Bears against the Lions. You can be happy with 9 points from a tight end not named Kelce or Kittle. Graham may very well see 8 snaps and not even log a target against the Lions. Low ceiling, low floor. If you’re scrolling the waivers for week 12, leave Graham where he is.