Last updated: October 23rd at 5:58pm ET.
Team Totals: Bears 22, Chargers 18
Winless in three games since Melvin Gordon returned, the Chargers visit a similarly downward-spiraling Bears team coming off consecutive losses to the Raiders and Saints in which DC Chuck Pagano’s defense allowed 58 combined points. As Josh Jacobs (26/123/2) and Latavius Murray (27/119/2) can attest, Chicago’s main defensive weakness has come versus the run, however, and Los Angeles has shown no ability to create running room minus LT Russell Okung (heart), C Mike Pouncey (neck), and now LG Forrest Lamp, who broke his leg last week. Okung will reportedly try to play in Week 8, but not for the entire game. 27 of Gordon’s 36 carries have gained three yards or fewer (75%) with two fumbles, including one at the goal line that lost last Sunday’s game in Nashville. Gordon’s receiving effectiveness is also nonexistent with three yards or fewer on 11-of-14 targets (79%). All told, plays intended for Gordon have averaged an anemic 2.3 yards while simultaneously ruining the flow of a Bolts offense that scored 22.5 points and gained 403.8 yards per game in Weeks 1-4, then slid to 16.7 points and 319.7 yards in Weeks 5-7. Gordon is a touchdown-or-bust RB2/flex option. … The Chargers did play Austin Ekeler over Gordon in Week 7 crunch time, and Ekeler wound up out-snapping him 59% to 52% while leading the team in receiving (7/118/1) and ripping off consecutive gains of 19 and 15 on Los Angeles’ final drive to set up Gordon’s game-losing turnover. The Bears have allowed the NFL’s third-most receiving yards per game to backs (58.0), keeping Ekeler firmly in PPR-specific RB2 play. … Not a single quarterback has finished above QB15 against the Bears, while Philip Rivers’ year-best outcome is QB9. Behind an injury-decimated offensive line, Rivers is a low-floor, low-ceiling two-QB-league play.
Rivers’ Weeks 6-7 target distribution: Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry 17; Mike Williams 16; Ekeler 12; Gordon 7; Virgil Green 3; Jason Moore 2; Geremy Davis 1. … Similar to Michael Thomas in Chicago last week, Allen is an underrated DFS-tournament play after drawing 11 targets and leading the entire NFL in Week 7 Air Yards (209). Thomas (9/131/0), Stefon Diggs (7/108/0), Emmanuel Sanders (11/98/1), Paul Richardson (8/83/1), and Terry McLaurin (6/70/1) each put up big stats against the Bears’ overrated secondary within Chicago’s last five games. Unsurprisingly, Allen popped in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 8 Buy Low Air Yards Model. … Henry leads all NFL tight ends in targets, yards (197), and routes run (71) since returning two games ago. Although Chicago has allowed the NFL’s second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, Henry should stay entrenched in season-long lineups based on opportunity and talent. … Eighth in the NFL in Air Yards (656), Williams has squandered immense opportunity but remains positioned for positive-TD regression without a single score on the year despite five targets inside the ten-yard line, fifth most in the league. Still part of a deep pass-catcher corps in a matchup where Los Angeles’ passing game is unlikely to have much success, Williams is a boom-bust WR3 play. With that said, Williams’ attractiveness is raised as Week 8’s No. 1 buy-low target in Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model.
Fantasy investments into David Montgomery require obvious leaps of faith after the struggling rookie managed a season-low four touches on 47% of Chicago’s Week 7 offensive snaps and lost a third-quarter fumble. But Bears quarterback play has been so awful that Matt Nagy couldn’t possibly justify putting this game in the hands of Mitchell Trubisky against a Chargers defense that’s been waxed for 166/746/5 (4.49 YPC) rushing by enemy backs while nursing injuries to starting DE Melvin Ingram (hamstring), NT Brandon Mebane (knee), and DT Justin Jones (shoulder). Montgomery is a high-risk if viable flex play on the assumption Nagy coaches rationally. … Held below 50 total yards in 6-of-6 games, Tarik Cohen has been among 2019’s least-effective offensive skill players on 2.4 yards per carry and 5.1 yards per catch. Just 8 of Cohen’s 49 touches (16%) have gained first downs. No longer the beneficiary of Nagy’s creative designs in a discombobulated offense, Cohen is merely a hope-and-pray flex dart specific to PPR leagues. … Much as his likeness Blake Bortles was once wont to do, Trubisky salvaged a top-16 fantasy finish with late-fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Allen Robinson and Javon Wims in last Sunday’s loss after the Saints already built an insurmountable 36-10 lead. Just 2-of-7 quarterbacks to face Los Angeles have managed top-12 QB1 results, a mark Trubisky has yet to reach this year. Playing with a harness on his twice-injured left (non-throwing) shoulder, Trubisky bailed out of the way even on pitch plays and wound up with zero rushing attempts in Week 7’s loss to the Saints. He’s a low-end two-QB-league play.
Trubisky’s 2019 target distribution: Allen Robinson 43; Cohen 31; Taylor Gabriel 16; Anthony Miller 15; Trey Burton 11; Montgomery 10; Adam Shaheen and Cordarrelle Patterson 8; Mike Davis 7; Javon Wims 4. … Playing at as high a level as any NFL wideout in an otherwise abominable passing “attack,” Robinson has cleared 60 yards and/or scored a touchdown in seven of his last eight games going back to last year. As Robinson ran nearly a third of his Week 7 routes in the slot, Marshon Lattimore was able to chase him on only 4 of Robinson’s 16 targets. Chargers top CB Casey Hayward has played just 1% of his snaps inside. Robinson is an every-week WR2 with WR1 upside. … Gabriel has gone 16 straight games without topping 75 yards. … Back to playing 75% of Chicago’s offensive snaps, Miller has entered PPR WR4/flex territory with 17 targets in his last two games. His outlook does improve as Week 8’s No. 4 buy-low wideout in Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Burton hasn’t hit pay dirt or topped 20 yards in a game this year. He ranks dead last among 41 qualified tight ends in PFF’s yards per route run metric (0.58). … Wims caught a short Week 7 touchdown in deep fourth-quarter garbage time but played just 34% of the snaps with Gabriel back from his concussion. Wims’ value is limited to Dynasty leagues.
Score Prediction: Bears 17, Chargers 16