Last updated: October 16th at 12:56am ET.
Team Totals: Bears 21, Saints 18
While Teddy Bridgewater deserves partial credit for his team’s 4-0 record sans Drew Brees, the buck will in all likelihood stop at Soldier Field against a Bears defense that erased its first five opponents for QB23 (Aaron Rodgers), QB17 (Joe Flacco), QB21 (Case Keenum), QB25 (Kirk Cousins), and QB25 (Derek Carr) fantasy results before its Week 6 bye. A top-20 quarterback in just 4-of-5 appearances this year, Bridgewater is a low-end two-QB-league play in this probable low-scoring affair. … Alvin Kamara logged a season-low 59% of New Orleans’ Week 6 snaps, afterwards revealing he “tweaked” a knee following his in-practice ankle scare. Kamara’s snaps were already trending down over the prior month (88% > 79% > 68% > 59%), and Brees’ injury has all but zapped his touchdown upside. Chicago’s defense has stoned enemy backs for 112/392/4 (3.50 YPC) rushing but is giving up 58.6 receiving yards to Kamara’s position. Kamara is a volatile fringe RB1/2 play in The Windy City. Tuesday reports referred to Kamara’s injury as a “high-ankle-type issue,” ominous phrasing for a running back who so relies on cuts, jukes, and open-field elusiveness and burst. … Another Kamara concern is Latavius Murray’s Week 6 efficiency in an enhanced role; Latavius parlayed his 11 touches into 79 yards on a year-high 42% of the Saints’ offensive snaps. Particularly with Kamara’s health shy of 100%, Murray’s productivity could encourage coach Sean Payton to deploy him more at Kamara’s expense.
Bridgewater’s 2019 target distribution: Michael Thomas 51; Kamara 31; Jared Cook 22; Ted Ginn 18; Josh Hill 11; Murray 7; Taysom Hill 4; Tre’Quan Smith 2. … Stefon Diggs (7/108/0), Emmanuel Sanders (11/98/1), Paul Richardson (8/83/1), and Terry McLaurin (6/70/1) each showed over Chicago’s last four games that the Bears’ biggest defensive vulnerability is its secondary, where slot CB Buster Skrine is easy to beat and top CB Kyle Fuller is having a down year. With 89-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 6-of-6 games, Thomas has remained a true model of consistency despite New Orleans’ quarterback downgrade and regularly goes low owned in DFS tournaments. A true volume monster, Thomas leads the NFL in catches (53) and target share (32%). … Cook has stayed afloat with touchdown catches in consecutive weeks but hasn’t cleared 41 yards in a single 2019 game, while fellow TEs Darren Waller (4/39/0), Noah Fant (4/33/0), Jimmy Graham (3/30/1), Vernon Davis (2/30/0), and Kyle Rudolph (1/12/0) have all gotten little going against the Bears. … Ginn hasn’t topped 36 yards since Week 1.
The Bears come off their bye with Mitchell Trubisky back from his non-throwing shoulder injury to face a Saints defense that stymied previously-hot Dak Prescott (QB24), Jameis Winston (QB14), and Gardner Minshew (QB26) consecutively in Weeks 4-6, thriving since DT Sheldon Rankins (Achilles’) rejoined the lineup and Marshon Lattimore began shutting down every No. 1 wideout in sight. Even as Trubisky’s rushing ability is arguably his best trait, he’s averaged just 12.9 rushing yards over his last 12 starts compared to 30.8 in his previous 12. Trubisky’s reduced running correlates directly with last year’s shoulder injury, suggesting we shouldn’t anticipate a resurgence following his latest. With no fantasy results above QB13 through four starts and Lattimore virtually certain to chase Allen Robinson, Trubisky is a low-end two-quarterback-league option against the Saints. … Chicago’s pre-bye London loss to the Raiders was catastrophic for everyone but Robinson; the Bears ran a season-low 51 plays and were destroyed 35 to 25 in time of possession. While the Bears’ offensive line hasn’t created lanes – they’re 25th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards run-blocking metric – David Montgomery is averaging 17.8 touches over Chicago’s last four games, good enough for RB2/flex treatment even in a so-far inefficient rushing attack. Against Oakland, Montgomery was hurt by Matt Nagy’s unsuccessful attempt to feature Tarik Cohen on a season-high ten touches, catering to short-area QB Chase Daniel. Whereas Cohen has been featured in Daniel’s 2018-2019 starts, Montgomery has seen more work with Trubisky.
Trubisky’s 2019 target distribution: Allen Robinson 27; Cohen 19; Taylor Gabriel 14; Montgomery 8; Trey Burton and Mike Davis 7; Adam Shaheen and Anthony Miller 6; Cordarrelle Patterson 5; Javon Wims 3. … Lattimore checked Amari Cooper (5/48/0), Mike Evans (0/0), and D.J. Chark (3/43/0) in the Saints’ last three games. One way for Robinson to escape Lattimore’s coverage would be for Nagy to shuffle him into the slot, where Robinson has already run 43% of his 2019 routes. Lattimore has covered the slot on just 2% of his snaps this year. Nevertheless, Robinson should be downgraded into high-volatility WR3 range amid suspect quarterback play in a tough draw. … Gabriel caught three touchdown passes in Week 3 at Washington, then missed two games with a concussion. He’s gone 15 straight games without topping 75 yards. In Week 7’s second-lowest-totaled affair, it’s difficult to get excited about Gabriel’s upside. … Burton has topped 40 yards in 3-of-20 games with the Bears and has one touchdown over his last 12 appearances. … Albeit with Chase Daniel at the controls, Miller showed pre-bye Week 5 signs of life with season highs in snaps (77%), routes run (34), and targets (7) against the Raiders. Miller runs 80% of his routes in the slot, where the Saints have been drilled by Tyler Lockett (11/154/1), Chris Godwin (7/125/2), Cooper Kupp (5/120/0), and Kenny Stills (3/37/1). Based on his plus matchup and inclining usage, Miller is a deep sleeper for an above-expectation Week 7 game.
Score Prediction: Bears 17, Saints 16