Foxy’s Fantasy Forecast – Bears @ Rams
Andy Dalton (QB)
Projected Points: 17.57
Most Bears fans are livid with the fact that Andy Dalton is getting the start in LA against the Rams on Sunday night which is understandable. However, I can also understand why Matt Nagy would prefer to start Dalton over Fields in Week 1 as the Bears OL has looked bad throughout the preseason and they’re going up against a top tier DL with Aaron Donald. Seeing as Dalton is rostered in only 2% of leagues, I don’t see anyone starting him and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do so.
Verdict: Sit (he shouldn’t be on your roster anyways)
Justin Fields (QB)
Projected Points: 0.00
We all know Fields won’t start Week 1 against the Rams and, honestly, I’m not all that mad about it. I’m fine with protecting the future of the franchise this week as Aaron Donald and friends would love to welcome him into the NFL. However, it’s totally possible that Donald and his DL squad get to Dalton enough times they may actually kill him (joking… kinda… I don’t want Dalton to get injured at all). If that were to happen, Fields will step in to take his first snaps as an NFL QB. You can’t count on that though and would you really want to start him this week against the Rams in fantasy to begin with? The answer should be no. If you didn’t snag him late in your draft, consider stashing him on your bench if you have good depth. I think it’s only a matter of time before he plays.
Verdict: Obviously Sit (but seriously consider him as a stash for later in the season)
David Montgomery (RB)
Projected Points: 15.34
No one finished the 2020 season hotter than David Montgomery. I made an effort to pick him up in the 3rd round of as many fantasy drafts as possible, but people are onto the fact that he’s a fantasy stud. While Week 1 against the Ram will be a huge test for him and his OL. In last season’s Week 7 game Monty carried the ball 14 times for 48yds and caught all five of his targets for 21yds (6.9pts standard / 11.9pts PPR). Game script will be important in this game for how much work Monty gets, but I’d expect him to have a heavy workload in the first quarter regardless. Seeing as he’s likely the RB2 on your roster, it’d be tough to sit him Week 1 no matter how tough of a matchup.
Verdict: Start (temper optimism here though)
Damien Williams (RB)
Projected Points: 5.22
After a year off due to Covid, the RB1 for the 2019 Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs is back to action in a new uniform. Williams was a great depth signing by Pace in the off season and would step into a much larger role if anything were to happen to Montgomery (please no!). I wouldn’t anticipate him being super involved unless the Rams get way ahead. Williams could take on that Tarik Cohen role of the pass catching RB in the offense and may be able to carve out a nice role for himself in Chicago. While I wouldn’t start him this week, he may be a sneaky PPR play later in the season. He’s only rostered in about 5% of leagues, so he’s more than likely available if that happens.
Verdict: Sit (but pay close attention to his role Sunday night)
Allen Robinson (WR)
Projected Points: 14.86
I love Allen Robinson in fantasy. He’s as consistent as they come. The guy has had some of the worst QB play throughout his career and still produces. He’s an absolute target hog (150+ each of the past two seasons) and catches everything that’s catchable. Week 1 will be a tough test for him when lining up opposite Jalen Ramsey, but he’s almost guaranteed to get 6-7+ targets no matter what happens (Robinson caught all four of his targets for 70yds last year against the Rams). If the Rams get ahead, Robinson will eat in garbage time as we saw last season with Trubisky. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of chemistry he has with Dalton early on in this game. To this point in his career, Dalton may be the best QB he’s ever played with, so it I’m very interested to see how well they connect. Seeing as he’s either the WR1 or WR2 on your roster, there’s no way you don’t start him. On top of that, his consistent production and involvement in the offense make him a locked in starter.
Verdict: Start (always)
Darnell Mooney (WR)
Projected Points: 11.52
Viewed by many in the fantasy community as a potential breakout star, Mooney is the deep threat the Bears will need for big chunk plays. He finished 2020 strong with an 11 catch, 93yd game against the Packers in Week 17. We’ve all seen the highlight of Mooney absolutely burning Jalen Ramsey in last season’s Week 7 matchup, so we know Ramsey is going to be motivated to lock down Mooney Week 1. Mooney had seven targets to Robinson’s four in last season’s game (Mooney finished with 3recs for 40yds) which I would anticipate to flip back to Robinson as Dalton gets acclimated to the offense. While I also love Mooney as a breakout candidate, I don’t think this will be the week to do it.
Verdict: Sit (unless you absolutely have to)
Cole Kmet (TE)
Projected Points: 7.61
Kmet is an interesting fantasy TE prospect. The Bears spent a 2nd round pick on him in 2020 and he really took the reins of the TE1 job 5-6 weeks of the season. Both Pace and Nagy have talked about his development and how they want to make him a focal point of the offense moving forward which is great news for any fantasy owners who invested in him. Knowing that, it’s puzzling to see he’s projected for fewer fantasy points than Graham. I’m excited to see what his contribution to the offense is Week 1 which is a bit of a mystery at this point as we didn’t see much in preseason. I’d keep an eye on him against a good Rams D to see how involved he is and may look to grab him in a league or two if available (35% rostered). There are more proven TEs out there (Rams Tyler Higbee for example) that I’d prefer to roll into Week 1 with.
Verdict: Sit (but pay close attention to Kmet this week)
Jimmy Graham (TE)
Projected Points: 8.01
Jimmy has had a decorated NFL career and is entering his 11th season (one catch away from 700 career receptions). He’s played in 16 games each of the last five seasons and has shown great durability. When I took him as the last pick in my 2011 fantasy draft, I had no idea how good he was going to be (99 recs/1,310 yds/11 TDs). Unfortunately, that was 10 years ago and he’s a grizzled vet who’s main job is to groom Cole Kmet. Even so, Jimmy was still a threat in the Redzone throughout most of last season finishing 2020 with 8 TDs. All that said, Jimmy will take a back seat to the developing Kmet and will likely play about 40-50% of snaps. I’d expect about four targets and they may all be in the Redzone. He’s a boom or bust type of spot starter who I don’t want anything to do with Week 1. He’s owned in only 2% of leagues which tells you everything you need to know.
Verdict: Sit (don’t go chasing those TDs)
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford (QB)
Projected Points: 22.49
After leaving Detroit for Los Angeles, I’m sure Staffor thought to himself, “I’m so glad I won’t have to face Mack and that Bears DL twice a year anymore.” Well, surprise, the NFL lines him up against the Bears Week 1 for his first game in his gorgeous new home, SoFi Stadium. The new Stafford has a ton more weapons to play with, a better line, a far superior offensive play caller to work with and the high expectations that come with it. He’s familiar with the Bears D and put up a combined 699 passing yds, 4 pass TDs and 2 INTs against the Bears in two games last season. The guy has always been a stat monster in fantasy. This could be a huge year for him if he minimizes mistakes and runs McVay’s the way he can. I like him this week against the Bears and think he could finish as a top 5-7 QB by season’s end.
Verdict: Start (without hesitation)
Darrell Henderson Jr. (RB)
Projected Points: 13.74
After an unfortunate training camp injury to Cam Akers (a guy many fantasy people were very excited about), Henderson is now the RB1 in LA. With that comes great opportunity as McVay loves to feed his RBs (both carries and targets). On the other side of the ball, the Bears return the majority of their defensive line starters from last year and add Eddie Goldman after his opt out year due to Covid. Henderson had 15 carries for 63 yds along with 2 recs for 13 yds against this Bears D last season. With new Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai, we should see a defensive scheme that looks more like Vic Fangio’s than Chuck Pagano’s, so Henderson’s results may vary. As he’s likely your RB3 on your roster, you won’t have to start him in your Flex spot, but you could if you need to.
Verdict: Start (don’t expect a huge game, but a busy one)
Sony Michel (RB)
Projected Points: 6.09
Michel comes over to LA in a very recent trade with the Pats. He’s flashed in the past, but hasn’t been inspiring over the last two seasons while in New England. Sony is going to slot in as LA’s RB2 once he’s acclimated to the offense which likely isn’t going to be this week. He could see some goal line work which makes him a boom or bust type candidate. I don’t have him rostered in any of my leagues, but recognize there is upside here should something happen to Henderson or LA gets up big.
Verdict: Sit (wait and see approach here)
Cooper Kupp (WR)
Projected Points: 16.54
Kupp finished last season just under 1,000 yds, but saw his TD production drop significantly from the year before (10 in 2019 to 3 in 2020). He caught all six of his targets for only 43 yds last year against the Bears. With Stafford now under center for LA, I expect Kupp to look more like 2019 Kupp than 2020 Kupp. The Bears CB2 (Kindle Vildor) is a big question mark so it’ll be interesting to see how they play Kupp and Woods. I love whichever LA WR who’s not guarded by Jaylon Johnson in this one. As a Top 20 WR draft pick, Kupp is your WR2 so you should be starting him in every game as you know he can be a TD machine based on his 2019.
Verdict: Start (…and hope they put Johnson on Woods)
Robert Woods (WR)
Projected Points: 16.73
Woods had a slightly better season in 2020 than Kupp. The fact that these two WRs finished just short of 1,000 yds in 2020 was likely a big reason for moving on from Jared Goff as he seemed to regress a season after going to the Super Bowl. Stafford immediately makes Woods a better WR just like Kupp. How he performs in this game will be all about how he gels with Stafford and how Desai schemes against him (Johnson or Vildor). Woods had a tough game against the Bears last year catching 3/5 targets for only 22 yds. I love both Kupp and Woods, but am very curious to see how they work with Stafford. He’s being drafted around the same spot that Kupp is, so the same rules apply. Start your WR2.
Verdict: Start (…and hope they put Johnson on Kupp)
Tyler Higbee (TE)
Projected Points: 11.51
If you read any fantasy columns, listen to fantasy podcasts or pay attention to fantasy discussion at all, you know who Tyler Higbee is. He’s coming into his fifth season with the Rams and is a favorite of the fantasy community to be a breakout TE this season. Higbee is no longer competing for snaps and targets with Gerald Everett as he has gone to Seattle in free agency where he will be a TE1 in his own right. The Bears were awful against TEs last season and I don’t see how they’ve improved in that area. He missed last season’s game against the Bears as well as their matchup in 2019, so it’ll be interesting to see how he exploits his matchup with Stafford getting him the ball as Stafford loves his TEs. I love this play this week.
Verdict: Start (all season long)
I’m not starting the Bears Defense in this one. I am starting the Rams Defense if they’re on my roster as I see them eating Dalton alive. I’ll be very interested to see how Desai’s scheme against the Rams play out as they have a top tier offense. The Rams Defense is one of the best in the league and should be a start most, if not all, weeks.
Good luck to all you fantasy football players in Week 1. Check back next week for another fantasy forecast against the Bengals. Heads up, you’re going to want to start pretty much all of your Bears.