Houston Texans (0-1-1, 2-0 ATS) at Chicago Bears (1-1, 1-1), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Texans Stats and Trends
The Texans have led entering the fourth quarter in each of their first two games but they’ve failed to leave with a victory in either game.
Houston is 5-1 ATS in its last six contests.
The Texans are 7-1 toward unders in their last eight road games.
Davis Mills had his worst start since Week 7 of 2021, completing just 19/38 passes for 177 scoreless yards for an ugly 4.7 YPA average. He averaged 7.2 YPA with 13 TDs and three INTs in the seven starts between his terrible performances. Aaron Rodgers posted 234/2 passing against the Bears last week.
Brandin Cooks failed to reach double-digit FP last week with just 4/54 receiving, but he hit double-digit targets for the fifth time in his last six contests with 10 looks against the Broncos. Sammy Watkins went for 3/93 receiving on four targets against Chicago’s secondary last week.
Nico Collins has hit double-digit FP just once in his last six games, but he at least moved in the right direction with 4/58 receiving on nine targets against the Broncos. Allen Lazard posted 2/13/1 receiving on three targets against the Bears last week.
Rex Burkhead shockingly led the Texans backfield in the season opener, but they wisely moved him back into a secondary role in Week 2 while elevating rookie Dameon Pierce into the lead runner spot. Pierce finished with 15/69 rushing (4.6 YPA) with an eight-yard catch on a promising 62% snap share against the Broncos. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined for 33/193/1 rushing (5.8 YPC) against Chicago last week.
Brolley’s Bears Stats and Trends
The Bears have played under the total in four straight September games.
Chicago is 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games.
Justin Fields is an NFL quarterback in title only as he’s attempted just 28 passes through two games, completing just 15 passes for 191 yards (6.8 YPA). Fields’ rushing production can only carry his fantasy production so far, and he has just 19/48/1 rushing in the early going. The Texans limited Russell Wilson to 219/1 passing and 2/3 a week ago.
Needless to say, this entire receiving corps has been torpedoed by Fields’ miserable start to the season. Darnell Mooney has just 2/4 receiving on five targets through two games, which is better than Cole Kmet who has yet to catch a pass on two targets. There’s not much else to say until we see if Fields can get his best receiver involved on a consistent basis.
David Montgomery quieted his skeptics with an impressive performance against the Packers, totaling 15/122 rushing and 2/14 receiving on an 80% snap share. He’s seen 15+ carries in six straight games and in eight of his last nine contests. The Texans are allowing 4.9 YPC and a league-high 143.5 rushing YPG (143.5) to RBs.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Plays per game: 16th
Pass: 12th | Run: 21st
Plays per game: 31st
Pass: 31st | Run: 2nd
Texans-Bears is the third-worst game for Week 3 from a combined pace and play perspective and neither of these offenses have done anything to inspire confidence yet. Especially the Bears.
Through two games, Justin Fields has attempted just 28 passes as new HC Matt Eberflus and OC Luke Getsy clearly do not want Fields throwing. Chicago leads the league in run rate when trailing (58.7%) and they are running at 23.1% (!!) above expectation, which also leads the league by a mile. The Bears are going to have to let Fields throw at some point, but this is an amazing spot for their ground game to do all of the work as the Texans have allowed a generous 4.72 YPC and are 25th in FootballOutsiders Run Defense DVOA to start the season.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The big story is Chicago is how awful this passing game has been through two weeks. Here’s Scott Barrett from Start/Sit on the problems from a fantasy perspective for Justin Fields:
The argument for Fields: He currently ranks top-10 in fantasy points per pass attempt. He ranks 2nd among all QBs in rushing attempts. After back-to-back brutal matchups (49ers, Packers), Fields has a much softer matchup this week, at home against the Texans.
The argument against Fields: He averages just 14.0 pass attempts per game. For perspective, Joe Flacco averages 51.5 pass attempts per game. Fields ranks just 9th in rushing yards (48), with only 7 more than Baker Mayfield. Houston was only slightly below average against QBs last year, and they rank 3rd-best in YPA allowed this year (5.6).
Ultimately, I’m still pretty bullish on Fields long-term. But this was a far-from-ideal start to the year, and I don’t yet trust him enough to start him in 1QB leagues.
Here’s Graham Barfield on the Bears’ disastrous passing attack and how it’s affected Darnell Mooney, from Start/Sit:
I’m still holding Mooney because he’s the Bears only prayer at a competent passing offense this season, but there is simply no way you can trust him in lineups until we see signs of life from Justin Fields. This is a great “show me” matchup against the Texans to potentially rebuild some trust and I will be completely fine if Mooney has a solid game on my bench. His floor is just too low right now.
The one thing that has worked for the Bears is the run game, and David Montgomery has looked great. Here’s Graham:
The “split backfield” everyone was so worried about amongst the Fantasy Football Twitter Hivemind has not materialized in Chicago. Through two games, Montgomery is the established bell cow back – he’s played on 73% of the snaps (seventh-highest rate among RBs) and has handled 72% of the carries (12th at the position). The Bears are going to have to let Justin Fields throw at some point, but this is an amazing spot for their ground game to do all of the work as the Texans have allowed a generous 4.72 YPC and are 25th in FootballOutsiders Run Defense DVOA to start the season.
Here’s Scott with more on Dameon Pierce, from Start/Sit:
After handling just 27% of the backfield in Week 1, Pierce dominated the backfield in Week 2, bumping that number up to 72%.
Pierce was a must-draft player for me until his ADP skyrocketed and he started to look a little overvalued. I assumed he would be a lock for nearly 90% of the team’s rushing attempts every week, but I worried about his usage on passing snaps for a team that was likely to trail most weeks. Pierce handled all 15 of the team’s RB carries in Week 2 (100%), but, encouragingly, also had better route participation than I expected. He ran a route on 37% of the team’s dropbacks (to Rex Burkhead’s 49%).
Pierce only scored 8.7 fantasy points last week, but his matchup looks significantly better in Week 3. Houston lost 9-16 last week, trailing throughout the near entirety of the game. This week, Houston enters as underdogs against the Bears, but just slightly (+2.5). And the Bears rank bottom-6 in YPC allowed (5.33) and rushing YPG allowed (128.0), while Pierce’s Week 2 opponent (the Broncos) has given up a league-low 10.3 FPG to opposing RBs.