Fantasy Football: Start, sit advice for Packers-Bears meeting in Week 15
Not only does Sunday’s meeting between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears matter for the NFC North race, but also fantasy playoffs around the world.If you’re still in contention for a fantasy title, there’s a good chance you have Packers representation on your roster. Aaron Rodgers leads the way at the quarterback position, while Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams sit comfortably in the top-10 at wide receiver.ANALYSIS: Scouting the Bears ahead of Week 15 meetingInjuries have decimated the Bears offense. Quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer, wide receiver Kevin White and a host of offensive linemen have either missed significant time or suffered a season-ending injury.Despite that, rookie running back Jordan Howard has turned out to be one of the best waiver pickups of the year. Alshon Jeffery owners are also excited for his return from a four-game suspension this week. While Jeffery has failed to produce consistently in fantasy, he’s still one of the league’s premier wide receivers and enters a good matchup with the Packers secondary.Looking ahead to a frozen Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon, who should you start, sit in your fantasy playoffs matchup?Next: Quarterbacks Sep 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes the ball during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Rodgers (START): This isn’t a good week for many of the top fantasy QBs. If you have Rodgers, you’re starting him no matter what. Chances are you’ll be coming up against another top QB, but many face tough matchups. If you have Rodgers and play against one of Tom Brady (at Denver), Andrew Luck (at Minnesota), Drew Brees (at Arizona) or Marcus Mariota (at Kansas City), you have to like your chances.
Rodgers is the leading fantasy scorer and is a QB1 this week, assuming he plays through his calf and hamstring injuries.
It’s worth noting the Bears have allowed an average of just 11.45 fantasy points to opposing QBs at home. But Rodgers should have a strong day with the Packers’ short passing game.
Matt Barkley (SIT): Although Barkley has exceeded expectations in real football, his fantasy numbers are yet to catch up. He’s averaging just 13.70 fantasy points after three starts.
There should be better streaming options on the waiver wire than Barkley. Although he enters a good matchup, it’s tough to trust a third-string quarterback in a game the Bears are likely to turn to their running game frequently.
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) rushes for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Ty Montgomery (FLEX): Montgomery is finally listed as a running back on the Packers’ official website. James Starks is listed as the starter on the updated depth chart, but it’s clear there’s been a power shift in the backfield.
Montgomery offers value due to his unique role in the Packers offense. Not only will he get touches as a runner, he also sees work in the passing game. Consider Montgomery a safe-floor flex option this week.
Christine Michael/James Starks (SIT): While Michael’s role is steadily increasing, his upside is limited due to a timeshare in the Green Bay backfield. Until proven otherwise, Michael and Starks should sit on your bench.
Jordan Howard (START): Expect the Bears to turn to their rookie sensation early and often. Howard is the RB5 over the past four weeks. In that same span, the Packers are allowing 18.15 points to RBs. While not a dream matchup, it’s also not a bad one for Howard.
There are no longer any question marks in the Chicago backfield: Howard has locked down the job and is an every-week start. He’s an RB1 this week and could finish inside the top five.
Sep 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) makes a touchdown reception over Chicago Bears cornerback Sherrick McManis (27) during the second half at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jordy Nelson (START): Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton. Those are the only two wide receivers to score more points than Nelson over the past four weeks. Nelson is the WR4 on the season and is once again a must-start this week.
Davante Adams (START): Adams’ low-floor might scare owners, but his upside is too hard to ignore. With 867 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on the season, Adams looks a different player to the mistake-prone one we saw last year.
Chicago owns the 12th-best defense against WRs in fantasy, but Adams should see another healthy share of targets.
Randall Cobb (SIT): Cobb hasn’t posted double digit fantasy points since the Week 7 meeting with the Bears. It’s difficult to predict when he’ll find the end zone, and touchdowns have been the main factor in any solid fantasy outing this season.
Alshon Jeffery (START): Returning from a four-game suspension, Jeffery certainly poses a risk to fantasy owners. But Matt Barkley’s targets have to go somewhere, and why wouldn’t he lean towards his most talented pass catcher? On a contract year, Jeffery has a point to prove in a favorable matchup.
Other Bears WRs (SIT): Cameron Meredith is the only Bears WR inside the top-50 at the position over the past four weeks. Jeffery’s return will likely eat into what’s already been an inconsistent fantasy stat line for Meredith.
Dec 4, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Jared Cook (89) signals a first down in the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports
Jared Cook (SIT): Outside of a 14.50-point game versus Philadelphia, Cook has failed to surpass 3.10 points once this season. He’s been held below two fantasy points in five of his seven outings.
The tight end position is a fantasy wasteland. I get it. But even in the deepest of leagues, Cook is a boom-or-bust play, with a considerably higher probability he busts.
The good news for the Packers is their free agent tight end is expected to play Sunday. He suffered a chest injury versus the Seahawks last week, but was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. This is good for the Packers, but not your fantasy team.
Other Bears TEs (SIT): After Zach Miller was lost for the season in Week 12, Logan Paulsen assumed the role as the Bears’ top tight end. Trouble is, he only has 15 yards receiving on the season, without a single yard since Miller got hurt. I don’t care how desperate you are at the position, you’re not going near Paulsen.
The same can be said of any Bears TE for that matter. Not one has registered a single point in the past two weeks. Not even practice squad member and future Hall-of-Famer Justin Perillo, who is due for five touchdowns in his revenge game this week.
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WS, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) celebrates after an interception against the Seattle Seahawks as the Green Bay Packers host the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Mandatory credit: Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY NETWORK
Packers (SIT): As it happens, both of these defenses have been viable streaming options over the past few weeks. In the last two games, the Bears are the No. 1 D/ST, the Packers at No. 3.
Green Bay’s defense registered five interceptions and a forced fumble versus Seattle last week, piling up 19 fantasy points.
They aren’t a bad streaming option if you’re desperate this week, but there are likely better options available to you. If Houston (at Jacksonville), Buffalo (vs. Cleveland), Atlanta (vs. San Francisco) or Miami (at NY Jets) are available, choose one of them.
Bears (SIT): Despite the Bears D/ST’s recent success, don’t start them. Over the past four weeks, the Packers have allowed a league-low 1.50 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses.
Banged up or not, Aaron Rodgers should be able to move the football down the field. The Packers have allowed only four sacks over the past four weeks, and Rodgers hasn’t thrown a single interception.
If you’re looking for a streaming option, view the teams listed above. If none are available, I’d pick the Packers D/ST over the Bears.
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