Foxy’s Fantasy Forecast – Week 9

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Chicago Bears

Justin Fields (QB)

Projected Points: 15.73

Finally, last week we got the opportunity to see the true potential of Justin Fields! It was truly glorious from a Bears fan perspective as well as a fantasy perspective. He finished with his best stat line of the season and a beautiful 27.05 fantasy points against a stout San Francisco D. This week will be a bit tougher against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. After they held Baker Mayfield and the Browns to just 10 points last week, Fields is going to have his hands full. The Steelers have one of the best D-lines in the NFL which will be creating pressure on Fields all night. If the Bears can get Fields rolling out of the pocket and leverage play action better like last week, Fields could have another good game. With Matt Nagy back on the sidelines, that may not be the case which would be bad news for Fields.

Verdict: Sit (tough matchup + Nagy back = regression)

David Montgomery (RB)

Projected Points: 0

With Monty being activated to return from practice on Thursday, there’s still no projected points for him as there isn’t any certainty whether or not he’ll suit up for Monday night’s game. That said, Montgomery owners will need to monitor his progress reports closely. Even if he suits up, I anticipate Khalil Herbert to take the bulk of the carries. As Montgomery is the RB1, the Bears will likely want to slow play his return to avoid reaggravating his injury. I’m out on playing him this week as the matchup is tough to begin with and there’s no way of knowing what kind of volume he’ll get in the game.

Verdict: Sit (wait to play him until after the Bye next week) 

Damien Williams (RB)

Projected Points: 1.98

With only six carries over the last two weeks for Williams, it’s clear that Khalil Herbert has earned the RB2 spot on the Bears (RB1 w/ Montgomery out). On top of that, Williams has been dealing with a knee issue that kept him out of practice on Thursday. He’s only rostered in 14% of leagues and will be a depth guy once Montgomery is back. Feel free to drop him.

Verdict: Sit (he’s now RB3 on the depth chart and should not be rostered)

Khalil Herbert (RB)

Projected Points: 10.87

Since taking over as the lead back for the Bears Week 6 against the Packers, Herbert has averaged 20 carries per game over those three weeks. He was less productive last week against the 49ers with 23 carries for 72 yards as Fields went off with his legs. With Montgomery likely to play a very small role this week (if at all), Herbert should lead the backfield in carries again this week going into the bye. Unfortunately, the Steelers are allowing the 6th fewest fantasy points to RBs this season, so it’s not a great matchup.

Verdict: Sit (bad matchup and uncertainty around Monty’s availability)

Allen Robinson (WR)

Projected Points: 9.21

After another stinker last week against the 49ers (3 recs, 21 yards), it’s a shock that Pace didn’t try to move Robinson at the deadline. He and Fields are clearly just not on the same page in any way. With little to no reps with Fields in the preseason, it’s not shocking they are having growing pains, but to the extent they are is tough to see. At this point, Robinson is 79% rostered which means people are giving up on him. If you can, keep him on a bench spot, but do NOT start him until you see measurable change in his targets and performance.

Verdict: Sit (just can’t play him right now)

Darnell Mooney (WR)

Projected Points: 10.49

With nine targets, six catches and 64 yards last week, Mooney turned in a respectable performance for the offense. He leads the team in targets and clearly has the best chemistry of any pass catcher with Fields (JP Holtz and Jesse James may argue this). The Steelers allow the 12th most fantasy points to WRs, so there is opportunity here if the Bears O-line can keep Fields on his feet. If not, it will be another long day. With Nagy back calling plays, I’m not optimistic about the outcome.

Verdict: Sit (just can’t do it)

Cole Kmet (TE)

Projected Points: 7.43

Kmet, for the fourth week in a row, put up a similar stat line of three catches for 24 yards against the 49ers. He had six targets for the second week in a row which is encouraging, but it just feels like the Bears don’t know how to get him involved. The kid’s got size, talent and athleticism, but I don’t see him separating himself as anything special. Especially not in this system. Feel free to drop him if he’s still on your roster. At 20% rostered in Yahoo leagues, most people have.

Verdict: Sit (not worth a start)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger (QB)

Projected Points: 18.37

Big Ben is coming off of a pedestrian performance in Cleveland putting up 17.3 points in a W that should mostly be credited to the defense. That’s basically what he’s been doing every week so far this season. Historically speaking, he’s always played better at home than he has on the road, but with the way he’s been playing this season I’d anticipate a similar stat line. A lot will depend on the availability of Kalil Mack coming into this game. With a weaker O-line this season, Roethlisberger has had less time to let his WRs get open and make plays which has lead to a far less potent offensive attack. He’s only rostered in 23% of leagues which tells you he’s no longer the Big Ben of old.

Verdict: Sit (no thanks)

Najee Harris (RB)

Projected Points: 19.55

While Jamar Chase steals all the offensive rookie headlines, Najee Harris has been quietly having an incredibly impressive rookie campaign for the Steelers. He’s stepped into the massive workhorse role behind a suspect O-line and made an immediate impact. In the last five games, Harris has had 21+ fantasy points each week. Aside from a Week 1 stinker against the Bills (5.9pts), he’s been arguably the most reliable and consistent RB in the NFL. After watching 6th round pick Elijah Mitchell go bonkers on the Bears last week, I love this matchup for Harris. He is tough to bring down, runs hard, holds onto the ball and catches anything Big Ben throws his way. I love him in DFS this week.

Verdict: Start (he’s a great play this week)

Diontae Johnson (WR)

Projected Points: 17.54

Speaking of consistency, Diontae Johnson is the picture of it. Aside from missing Week 3 against the Bengals, he’s put up 14.6 or more points in every game this season. He’s been targeted 13+ times in three of his last four games. With JuJu Smith-Schuster on IR, Big Ben has had to rely on him even more in short yardage as the Steeler O-line struggles. The Bears slot corners are exploitable and that’s the game plan the Steelers will likely go with: heavy dose of Harris followed by short completions to Johnson. He should have another good night.

Verdict: Start (Mr. Consistency)

Chase Claypool (WR)

Projected Points: 14.21

While Johnson is Mr. Consistency, Claypool is Mr. Boom or Bust. Chase Claypool is a physical specimen at 6’4”, 238lbs. He’s able to stretch the field with his speed but hasn’t had as many deep targets this season due to the fact that Big Ben is so strapped for time when dropping back. That’s resulted in fewer targets and opportunities for Claypool. Similar to Deebo Samuel, Claypool can bust a big play at any moment, it’s just difficult to predict when that will happen. 

PS: Claypool was drafted six picks after Cole Kmet in 2020. Would’ve loved to see this guy in a Bears uniform, but that’s another discussion.

Verdict: Start (unless you have a better option)

Pat Freiermuth (TE)

Projected Points: 7.42

The 2nd round rookie out of Penn State has had a pretty impressive start to his NFL career in Pittsburgh. While most NFL TEs take at least three seasons to get adjusted, it looks like Freiermuth is far ahead of that curve. He’s had seven targets in each of the last two weeks and is quickly becoming a favorite target of Big Ben’s. All that said, the Bears are letting up the 2nd fewest points to the TE position so far this season. That’s been one of the bigger improvements for the Bears D this year. They were awful against TEs the previous three seasons and have really figured it out this year.

Verdict: Sit (bad matchup)

Other Notes:

Both these defenses have potential this week. If I had to pick one, I’d go with the Steelers as they play well at home and we’re not certain how the Bears offense will look with Nagy back on the sidelines. I’m playing the Steeler D in a few DFS lineups and would encourage anyone playing the Monday night matchup to do the same.

Good luck to all you fantasy football players in Week 9. We’ll be off next week due to the Bears Bye, but I may be putting together a fantasy related article for you all anyways.

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