Detroit Lions (0-3, 2-1 ATS) at Chicago Bears (1-2, 1-2), 1 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Lions 19.5, Bears 22.5
Spread/Total Movements: 3.5 to 3, 44 to 42
Weather: 68 degrees, 50% chance of rain, 10 mph
Lions Injuries to Watch: EDGE Trey Flowers (knee, out)
Bears Injuries to Watch: QB Andy Dalton (knee, questionable), OLB Khalil Mack (foot, questionable), LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring, out), S Tashaun Gipson (hamstring, doubtful)
Brolley’s Lions Stats and Trends
Detroit is 1-4 ATS and 4-1 toward overs in its last five road games.
OC Anthony Lynn figured out how to get the ball in his best player’s hands in the second half last week with D’Andre Swift posting 6/56 receiving with a rushing touchdown in the loss to the Ravens. Swift has posted 8+ FP as a receiver in each game and Kareem Hunt just went for 6/74 receiving against the Bears last week.
Jamaal Williams saw a season-high 49% snap share last week on his way to 14/67/1 scrimmage, and he’s seen double-digit touches in each of the first three games. The Bears are giving up 4.4 YPC to RBs through three weeks.
Jared Goff failed to hit double-digit FP in a mostly neutral gamescript against the Ravens in Week 3. He completed 22/30 passes for 217 yards without a touchdown or an INT after throwing five TDs in the first two games of the season. Goff has attempted 66 passes the last two weeks and the Lions could stay more run-heavy in a game lined at less than a field goal.
T.J. Hockenson airballed in Week 3 by catching both of his targets for 10 yards after posting 16/163/2 receiving on 20 targets in the first two weeks. Hock still ran a route on 76% of Goff’s dropbacks last week, and it’s a reminder that defenses could key on taking him away moving forward since he’s getting no help at WR. He had two good performances against the Bears last season with 7/84 and 5/561 receiving.
Quintez Cephus scored a touchdown in each of the first two games before seeing just one target in Week 3 — he ran the second-most WR routes (23). Khalif Raymond has seen the most steady playing time through the first three weeks of the season, and it finally paid off with 6/68 receiving on 10 targets against the Ravens. The Bears are giving up the eighth-most FPG (41.7) to WRs through three weeks.
Brolley’s Bears Stats and Trends
The Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last five games.
Chicago is 5-2 toward overs in its last seven games.
Rookie QBs are 1-9 outright and ATS so far. Mac Jones is the only rookie quarterback with an outright win and an ATS cover and they both came against Zach Wilson in Week 2.
Justin Fields and HC Matt Nagy set back the game of football with their offensive performance against the Browns in Week 3. The Bears finished with ONE net passing yard as Fields completed just six passes for 68 yards while being sacked nine times for -67 yards. The Bears averaged 1.1 yards per play, which was the second-fewest yards per play in a game this century since the Luke McCown-led Browns averaged .6 yards per play against the Bills in 2004. Fields also suffered a hand injury near the end of the game so the Bears could be down to Nick Foles as their starter with Andy Dalton still week-to-week with his knee injury. This is a bounce-back spot against the Lions who are giving up the 10th-most FPG (22.3) to QBs through three weeks.
Allen Robinson has yet to top 35 receiving yards in a game this season with this offense imploding. A-Rob posted games of 6/75 and 5/74 receiving against the Lions last season, and Davante Adams posted 8/121 receiving in this matchup in Week 2.
Darnell Mooney is leading the Bears with a pathetic 101 receiving yards through three weeks. For perspective, the NFL has seen 38 single-game performances of 101 yards or more to start the season. Marquise Brown posted 3/53 receiving in this matchup last week, but he had three drops for major gains and potential TDs.
Cole Kmet has just 7/53 receiving on 12 targets to open the season, but at least the Lions have given up 11+ FP to a TE in three straight games.
David Montgomery hasn’t been immune to the offense’s struggles with his FP falling in three straight games (18.8>10.9>7.5). His snap share has at least grown every week (59%>80%>82%) so he’s back into more of a bell-cow role if this offense can ever get their heads out of their behinds. Montgomery finished with 21/111/2 scrimmage as a bell-cow back in this matchup in Week 13 last season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1-3 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 30.8 (26th)
Week 1-3 – Plays per game: 69.3 (7th)
Week 1-3 – Pass: 65.7% (8th) | Run: 34.3% (25th)
Week 1-3 – Pace: 30.4 (25th)
Week 1-3 – Plays per game: 63.3 (15th)
Week 1-3 – Pass: 61.4% (15th) | Run: 38.6% (18th)
After last week’s debacle, there is no way to trust the Bears right now. Chicago team has a breach in their ship's hull, and even though the water is coming in the cracks slowly, you know the boat is going down and it’s not going to be pretty. For fantasy, this game is gross. This matchup is fourth-worst in the pace/plays model with both sides ranking bottom-8 in seconds in between snaps and the total has fallen from 44 (open) to around 41.5 to 42 on most books.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
It would be an understatement to say that the Detroit O-line is built for run blocking. The unit provides plenty of push to create run lanes. But they’ve failed on several levels in protecting the pocket for Jared Goff. Detroit’s O-line can be found at the very bottom in QB pressures allowed. And that is not a product of the Lions passing at the fifth-highest rate. The protection has simply been poor. While Goff and TJ Hockenson failed to show up last week, D’Andre Swift popped to keep the Lions close with the Ravens. The Browns didn’t respect the Bears’ run defense… and didn’t need to, given how awful the Bears’ offense was. Will it be much of the same this week?
The early results could indicate that Lions may have found a corner to feature in Aaron Glenn’s defense — 2020 UDFA Bobby Price, who has played very well so far this year. Since Price plants his feet on the left sideline, Darnell Mooney will work against him on around half of his routes. Not the best matchup for Mooney to continue his fledgling connection with Justin Fields.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
How can anyone confidently play a Chicago Bear right now, with the potential exception of RB David Montgomery? Montgomery is the overall RB21 so far this year, and he is by far the most productive Bear. Their highest-ranked WR is Allen Robinson (WR66), and their highest-ranked TE is Cole Kmet (TE33). Chicago’s leading receiver is Darnell Mooney with 101 yards. That’s 95th in the NFL. If it were a single game, it would rank tied for 38th.
At the very least, this projects to be a close game with the Bears favored, which means Montgomery should get enough work to be a reliable if boring RB2.
Obviously, a lot depends on who will start at QB, and Detroit should be a much easier defense to attack than Cleveland’s, but the Lions overall did a solid job on Lamar Jackson last week (well, aside from the fact that their best two defenders might have been Hollywood Brown’s right hand and left hand).
As it stands now, if Justin Fields starts as expected, I’m hesitant to put even Robinson in my lineup. ARob has proven to be mostly QB proof in his career (his best quarterback might literally have been Blake Bortles), but Fields was such a unique brand of awful that it has broken even ARob. Only Jacksonville’s Laviska Shenault has run more routes with fewer than 100 receiving yards than ARob, and his 0.9 yards per route run is 6th-fewest among WRs with 10 or more targets. Detroit is a good matchup, but I’d want to see Andy Dalton or even Nick Foles out there if I’m going to play him confidently. Even then, he’s a WR3.
The good news for Fields is the Lions won’t have EDGE Trey Flowers (knee).
It’s kind of funny how we are viewing the Lions, at 0-3, vis-a-vis the 1-2 Bears. That’s because they’re actually kinda fun for fantasy?
Let’s start with the backfield, where D’Andre Swift is looking like a veritable league-winner. Swift is currently the RB3 by FPG (20.0). Swift’s 23 targets ranks second among RBs and would be 25th among WRs. Swift is running 26 routes per game, which is fifth-most among RBs, just slightly behind Austin Ekeler (26.3). And if coach Dan Campbell is to be believed, Swift might start to get more opportunities. Though a “game started” doesn’t necessarily matter for RBs, it’s worth pointing out that Jamaal Williams has actually started every game for Detroit so far this year. Swift hasn’t started one, and has started just four of 16 career games.
Would Swift “starting” make much of a difference for us? Not really. But it could be a signal that Detroit wants to get him more opportunities, which is extremely welcome. Swift just keeping his current 62.4% rate would be just fine. If he starts to push 70%? He could be a top-five fantasy player. Hell, he already is. He’s an RB1. Williams, to his credit, is the overall RB11 despite just a 40.9% snap share. Williams, Kareem Hunt, and Cordarrelle Patterson are the only three top-12 RBs in total PPR fantasy points with snap shares under 50%.
The Lions use both Swift and Williams at the goal-line — Williams has 2 snaps and 2 carries inside the opponents’ 10, while Swift has 6 snaps, 2 carries, and has run 2 routes. Everything suggests Swift’s performance is sustainable, while Williams will be a little more week-to-week.
“I, certainly, think you’re going to see a lot more of Swift, and he can very easily be out there first play,” Campbell said. “I think he’s done enough to earn that.” https://t.co/5GsGIuYMM0— NFL Beat Writers (@32BeatWriters) September 29, 2021
Swift’s 23 targets lead the Lions. Next is TE TJ Hockenson’s 22. Despite catching just 2 passes for 10 yards on 2 targets against the Ravens last week, Hockenson remains the TE3 in a wasteland of a position, because he is still third in targets and receptions. The Ravens bottled up Hockenson despite being crushed by Travis Kelce and Darren Waller the previous two weeks, but it may have also been a result of Baltimore not fearing any of Detroit’s other receivers and focusing on taking Hock out. If you’ve got Hockenson, the hope — and my expectation — is that this was merely a blip on the radar. And the Bears likely won’t have S Tashaun Gipson (hamstring).
The Lions’ other receivers basically play a game of musical chairs every week. Among WRs, Kalif Raymond led with 10 targets in Week 3, Quintez Cephus led with 7 in Week 2, and Trinity Benson tied Cephus for the lead in Week 1 with 6. None are season-long worthy.
The Bears have given up the 11th-fewest FPG to opposing QBs this year. Jared Goff has played decent football, but he doesn’t really do it for me this week. That could change if EDGE Khalil Mack (foot) doesn’t play.