The Bears are showing signs of becoming more balanced, so which Bears should you be plugging in to your fantasy lineup this week?
The Bears let a 4-game losing streak spank them into the bye week, but now they enter week 11 with a tough matchup against the 6-3 Baltimore Ravens. Head coach Matt Nagy has never won a game coming off a bye week in his career with the Bears, but all three post-bye losses in previous years featured Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback.
With Justin Fields, everything feels different.
Rightly so. Fields has put together consecutive performances of exciting quarterback play, taking the Steelers down to the wire (questionable officiating aside) most recently including leading a would-be game winning drive with 1:45 left on the clock.
The averages still favor the Bears’ running backs, with David Montgomery returning from injury in week 9 to pick up double-digit fantasy points on only 13 carries. His points were 10.0, so albeit barely double-digits. Rookie Khalil Herbert is also still seeing some action despite Monty’s return. The game script didn’t allow for many runs in that Monday Night matchup, but moving forward if FIelds can lead earlier scoring drives then both Monty and Herbert can be fair plays.
Here’s your start/sit guide for the Bears in week 11:
START: Justin Fields
The time has come. Those who took a flyer on Fields in late rounds have seen him put up respectable fantasy numbers two weeks in a row on their bench, and those who dropped him from their bench weeks ago are scrambling to add him back. Despite the Bears still continuing to struggle on offense (6 points through 3 quarters last Monday), Fields is tucking and running without taking coverage sacks and throwing deep passes with accuracy.
What’s more, despite what some may say about Baltimore’s defense, this matchup can be fruitful for quarterbacks. In traditional PPR format, quarterbacks have put up the following fantasy numbers against Baltimore’s defense:
18.96 (Brissett + Tagovailoa)
That’s all good for a 18.3 point average, a number to be happy with for a quarterback in a fantasy world which hamstrings everything passers do. Fields is growing from a quarterback dependent on Darnell Mooney to get open, to a quarterback who can zip balls into tight windows and scan the field for an open deep shot.
ESPN has Fields’ projection as:
Fields went into the Bears Week 10 bye on a high note after recording his best game as a pro in Week 9 against the Steelers. However, even with the extra week to prepare, Fields isn’t ready to be trusted in a fantasy lineup when the Bears entertain the Ravens in Week 11.
If you have a top-5 NFL quarterback on your fantasy team, it won’t be time to start Fields in place of them. But if you’re streaming quarterbacks (you should be unless you’re in WCG’s 20-team cluster of a league) then Fields is a solid pick-up with a high ceiling considering his past couple weeks and Baltimore’s defensive allowance.
SIT: Darnell Mooney
If quarterback Justin Fields is going to excel against the Ravens, which he should based on the ingredients in this brew, then it will be by spreading the ball around. Against the Steelers, tight end Cole Kmet found some open spots in the defense and exploited them for 6 catches, 87 receiving yards on 8 targets. That’s good for 14.7 points without a touchdown, impressive for any tight end.
Allen Robinson cracked double-digits as well, with 10.8 fantasy points drawn from a season-high 68 receiving yards. He also was held without a touchdown.
David Montgomery is expected to be much closer to 20 touches than he was against the Steelers, and there may even be room for Khalil Herbert to stay involved with this offense.
This is all to say, the Bears are making effort to get players not named Mooney involved in the game.
Mooney has been a double-digit fantasy performer in 3 of the past 4 weeks, including a 20.6 performance against the Steelers bolstered by an impressive late-game touchdown that would have won the whole thing if there weren’t still time for the Steelers to snatch it all back. Mooney still saw 81% of the snaps and it was clear the defense was keyed in on him.
Against the Ravens, Mooney will often be tasked with getting open against cornerback Marlon Humphrey, a former First-Team All-Pro.
ESPN has Mooney’s projection as:
Allen Robinson II may be slotted as No. 1 wideout on the Bears depth chart, but Mooney has been more productive this season. When the Bears last took the field in Week 9, he scored a pair of touchdowns, one through the air and the other on the ground out of the wildcat formation. The Bears will likely have to throw the ball to keep up with the Ravens, rendering Mooney a WR3 for Week 11’s home date with Baltimore.
Mooney will find better matchups down the stretch, even with the weather spelling better days soon for Montgomery and the running backs. Specifically, keep in mind Mooney gets the Detroit Lions the week after this. Put a running back in your FLEX position in place of Mooney this week.