San Francisco 49ers (2-4, 1-5 ATS) at Chicago Bears (3-4, 3-4), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s 49ers Stats and Trends
The 49ers, Football Team, and Jets are the only teams with just ATS cover this season.
San Francisco has failed to cover in four straight contests.
Kyle Shanahan’s offense has scored 21 or fewer points in four of their last five games, and they’re averaging 18.8 points per game in that span.
Jimmy Garoppolo has yet to clear 20+ FP in five games this season after completing 16/27 passes for 181 yards (6.7 YPA), one TD, and two INTs in sloppy conditions against the Colts. The Bears held Tom Brady to 5.9 YPA last week but he threw for four TDs thanks to short fields from Chicago’s anemic offense.
Deebo Samuel has posted 16+ FP in 5-of-6 games after hanging 7/100/1 receiving in ugly conditions against the Colts last week. He now leads the league with a 37% target share after bogarting 41% of Jimmy G’s attempts last week. The Bears had tightened up in the secondary in recent weeks before getting ripped by Mike Evans (6/76/3 receiving) and Chris Godwin (8/111/1) last week.
Brandon Aiyuk didn’t see a boost coming out of San Francisco’s bye, catching his only target for six yards. He’s now fallen six FP in five of his six games so there’s little hope even with a matchup against a Bears’ defense that’s giving up the fifth-most FPG (41.5) to WRs.
Elijah Mitchell was still San Francisco’s top RB coming out of their bye, toting it 18 times for 107 yards and one touchdown against the Colts. He also played on 66% of the snaps, which means he’s been above a 60% snap share in every game he’s been active. He still has just 4/30 receiving this season with JaMycal Hasty stepping back into his passing-down role with 3/15 receiving last week. The Bears are giving up a generous 4.7 YPC and the seventh-most rushing yards per game (108.9) to RBs this season.
Brolley’s Bears Stats and Trends
The Bears, Steelers, Chargers, and Seahawks are the only teams that have played over the total just once this season.
The Bears are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog.
Chicago is 1-6 toward unders, just squeezing over the total by two points in the season opener thanks to the Rams scoring 34 points. The Bears have gone under the total by an average of two scores (8.8 points) in their six games that went under the total this season.
The Bears haven’t had many positives come out of the last three weeks of action, but rookie Khalil Herbert has been a major revelation. He played on 77% of the snaps last week with Damien Williams coming off the COVID list on Saturday and missing practice all week. The sixth-round pick should stay at the top of the depth chart for as long as David Montgomery is out of the lineup after posting an impressive 18/100 rushing while adding 5/33 receiving against a nasty Buccaneers’ front seven. The Bears should continue to ride Herbert this week with Justin Fields struggling mightily, and the 49ers just gave up 18/107/1 rushing to Jonathan Taylor in sloppy conditions.
Justin Fields has been miserable in his first five NFL starts with just one double-digit FP performance (14.3 FP in Week 6). He completed 22/32 passes for 184 yards (5.8 YPA) and three INTs and he added 8/38 rushing and two lost fumbles in a terrible performance against the Buccaneers in Week 7. The 49ers are giving up the seventh-most FPG (21.4) to QBs if we’re looking for a silver lining.
Darnell Mooney has topped out at 45 receiving yards in the last three weeks, and he’s finished with fewer than eight FP in 3-of-5 games with Fields as the starter. Allen Robinson has been even worse with Fields at QB, failing to reach double-digit FP in any of his five starts. San Francisco is giving up the 12th-fewest FPG (35.8) to WRs.
Cole Kmet has yet to hit double-digit FP this season, but he does have 9/92 receiving on 11 targets in the last two weeks. Mo Alie-Cox (3/25/1 receiving) became the first TE to reach double-digit FP against the 49ers since T.J. Hockenson ripped them for 8/97/1 receiving in the season opener.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 28.7 (21st)
Plays per game: 65.7 (20th)
Pass: 56.7% (26th) | Run: 43.3% (7th)
Pace: 29.8 (25th)
Plays per game: 63.9 (25th)
Pass: 54.1% (29th) | Run: 45.9% (4th)
Let’s just call a spade a spade right off of the bat: This game is brutal for fantasy upside. Both the 49ers and Bears play slow, don’t generate a ton of volume, and are the fourth-most (49ers) and the most (Bears) run-heavy teams above expectation. Chicago’s games have gone towards the under in six-straight because their offense simply can’t sustain drives. A guy who has never seen football before in his life but just randomly caught Bears-Bucs’ last week could tell you how bad it has been for Justin Fields out there. Bears’ games have combined for 37, 32, 38, 29, 38, and 41 total combined points since Week 1, so this game deserves every bit of garnering the lowest total on the slate (39.5).
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
The number of true shadow corners has dwindled to the point that expecting more than one-or-two per week might be expecting too much. And ~90% of the shadow assignments we’ve seen this season have ended with the corner covering another receiver on more than a handful of snaps. With this in mind, the importance of alignment percentages is brought into the spotlight. Jaylon Johnson is a talented, ultra-competitive corner. He called out Davante Adams in Week 6, following through on his shadow promise by limiting Adams to a 3/84/0 line. But the same approach did not work as well last week. An early Mike Evans-travel resulted in a 4/57/2 line by halftime. Unsurprisingly, Johnson stuck to his right sideline in the second half.
If Johnson convinces Sean Desai to let him tail Deebo Samuel this week — provided he plays — it will not last once he puts his hands on Samuel’s RB-like physicality. However, the percentages tell us it will be Kindle Vildor that is stationed across from Samuel on nearly half of his reps.
Patience is of utmost importance with rookie QBs. The very last result Chicago wants is for Justin Fields to lose his confidence. He’s clearly not on the DFS radar at this stage in his development. His struggles have pulled every bit of the upside for Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney, and Cole Kmet right down with him. But the lights can turn on in an instant with some rookie QBs.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The Bears’ offense is a disaster right now. There’s really no other way to shake it. You can blame whoever you want, but the fact of the matter is that Justin Fields is not a functional NFL quarterback as it stands today.
Most sacks charged directly to QB rather than blockers, @PFF:— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) October 25, 2021
Kyler Murray 8
Zach Wilson 7
Davis Mills 6
Russell Wilson 6
Patrick Mahomes 6
Justin Fields 5
Ben Roethlisberger 5
Teddy Bridgewater 5
QBs are a factor in MOST of their sacks, but this is a list with no split blame
Fields ranks last in sack rate (14.4%), last in passer rating (61.8), last in completions (57.3%), last in on-target throws from a clean pocket (67.4%), and last in EPA/dropback (-0.39).
Given Fields’ problems with sacks, I wanted to go into our Greg Cosell’s scouting report on Fields from before the NFL Draft. Here were some telling tidbits.
Did not show a natural feel for timing and anticipation, needed to see it before turning it loose
Needs work eliminating and isolating when the pre-determined read/throw is not there
Fields was not asked to read and work through progressions as a significant part of the OSU pass game
At times, too deliberate with his elimination and isolation in regards to how route concepts break down coverage
Too many snaps in which Fields left throws on the field - did he not see things clearly?
My sense watching the tape was Fields was a bit of a slow processor — can that be improved at the next level?
That said, Greg acknowledged Fields’ high-level traits, and he saw them even in last week’s debacle against the Buccaneers:
“You see the flashes with Fields, Ball comes out easily with juice, There are times he sees it clearly and delivers with timing and confidence; But Fields is not there yet when it comes to consistently taking receivers into zone windows”
Fields is a talented kid who is in a broken offense with a lame-duck coach in Matt Nagy. There is still reason to be positive about his future, but for our purposes, his play has just utterly tanked the usefulness of anyone in this offense not named Khalil Herbert. Playing Darnell Mooney or Allen Robinson is just praying at this stage.
As for Herbert, I think he’s done enough to have a role even when David Montgomery comes back. Here’s Graham from the Week 8 Market Report:
“What was a surprise, however, is how well Herbert ran it against the league’s best run defense. Herbert ripped the Buccaneers for 18/100 on the ground and looked fluid as a pass catcher, grabbing all five of his targets and turning them into 33 yards. Because he is playing so well, Herbert has earned a large role for as long as David Montgomery (knee) is out. And honestly, he’s earned a role even when Montgomery is back healthy. Speaking of which, Montgomery will have a 21 day window to come off of injured-reserve after Week 8. Chicago has their bye in Week 10, so getting Montgomery back by Week 11 may be the team’s target.”
Herbert joined Chris Carson (2019) and Dalvin Cook (2020) as the only RBs to top 100 rushing yards on the Bucs the last three seasons. Herbert is an RB2 this week.
At least Jimmy Garoppolo is helped by the fact that Khalil Mack (foot) is out, which would be big if LT Trent Williams (elbow/knee) can’t play.
Here’s Graham again:
“Mitchell absolutely shredded the Colts in the first quarter – he had nine carries for 80 yards and a score – and then HC Kyle Shanhan inexplicably only gave him 9 more totes for the remainder of the game. The bottom-line, though, is that Mitchell is going to dominate the workload for as long as he’s healthy. Mitchell played on 66% of the team’s snaps on SNF while Ja’Mycal Hasty worked in for a 34% snap share in his return from an ankle injury. Meanwhile, Trey Sermon only played on special teams while it sounds like Jeff Wilson (knee) isn’t going to be available until late November at the earliest. This is Mitchell’s backfield.”
Deebo is dealing with a calf injury, one that caused him to miss practice on Wednesday, but the fact that he was in there on Thursday is likely a good sign for his availability.
Deebo Samuel (calf) was back at 49ers practice catching practices from Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance in early warmups. Not a surprise, since Shanahan expected Samuel to be ready to go by Sunday— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) October 28, 2021
By the way, Trey Lance is off the injury report (knee) and will back up Jimmy G on Sunday.