Chicago Bears (2-2, 2-2 ATS) at Las Vegas Raiders (3-1, 2-2), 4:05 p.m.
Brolley’s Bears Stats and Trends
The Bears 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as a road underdog, and they’re 2-6 in their last eight road games overall.
Chicago is 4-1 toward unders in its last five games.
David Montgomery gave everyone a scare when he went down in a heap with a knee injury in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s victory over the Lions in Week 4. He didn’t suffer a season-ending injury, but there’s a good chance he rests through their Week 10 bye. Damien Williams will be elevated to an every-down role during his absence, and he should be good to go after he suffered a thigh bruise late in their Week 4 loss. Rookie Khalil Herbert will also factor into the backfield and he’ll see an elevated role if Williams isn’t quite at 100% in Week 5. Williams scored a four-yard touchdown before left in Week 4, and 44 of his 70 scrimmage yards came after Montgomery left the lineup for good. The Raiders are giving up 4.6 YPC to RBs and six touchdowns overall to the position.
Justin Fields played much better in Week 4 with a much better game plan against a weak Lions’ defense, and the organization finally announced he’ll be their starter moving forward. He completed 11/17 passes for 209 yards with one INT, but the biggest disappointment was that he ran just three times for nine yards. Fields has just 6/21 rushing in his two starts, which needs to change for fantasy since he’s a limited passer. The Raiders have given up between 20.0-21.3 FP to QBs in three games not involving Ben Roethlisberger.
Darnell Mooney showed his upside playing with his rookie quarterback in Week 4. He had a 64-yard reception and three different catches of 20+ yards on his way to 5/125 receiving on seven targets in Chicago’s victory over the Lions. The Raiders contained Mike Williams last week with just an 11-yard catch and they’ve limited opposing WRs to just 9.8 YPR.
Allen Robinson topped 35+ yards for the first time last week when he caught all three of his targets for 63 yards against the Lions. A-Rob actually matched Mooney with an 18.0-yard aDOT last week but Mooney lapped him in target share (35% to 18%). Keenan Allen led Chargers WRs in receiving with 7/36 on 11 targets in this matchup last week.
Cole Kmet has just 3/17 receiving in the last three weeks after posting 5/42 in the season opener, but they were tagged for 9/121/2 receiving by the Chargers TEs last week while Mike Gesicki had 10/86 the week before.
Brolley’s Raiders Stats and Trends
The Raiders are 2-0 ATS at home after a previous 2-10 ATS run at home.
The Raiders have played over the total in four straight games as a favorite.
Derek Carr managed just 196/2 passing against a nasty Chargers’ defense last week, which ended his streak of 315+ yards and 2+ TDs in his last seven full games. The Bears haven’t allowed an opposing QB to get to 19+ FP after Matthew Stafford posted 321/3 against them in the season opener.
Henry Ruggs survived a matchup against the Chargers’ secondary last week with 3/60 receiving on six targets, and Carr overthrew him for another huge gain. He has 6+ targets and 60+ yards in three straight games after never hitting 6+ targets and hitting 60+ yards just twice in his rookie season. Kalif Raymond (3/46/2 receiving) and Odell Beckham (5/77) each thrived in this matchup the last two weeks.
Hunter Renfrow’s biggest play last week came when he laid a big hit on a fake punt attempt by the Chargers. When he wasn’t laying the lumber, Renfrow posted another double-digit FP performance with 6/45/1 receiving on eight targets. He now has 5+ catches in four straight games to open the season. Amon-Ra St. Brown managed 6/70 receiving out of the slot against the Bears last week.
Bryan Edwards has slipped to the bottom of the Raiders’ receiving tree after mustering just a four-yard catch on four targets against the Chargers last week. The good news is that the Bears are giving up the sixth-most FPG (43.9) to WRs, and Quintez Cephus posted 4/83 receiving in this matchup last week.
Darren Waller has seen exactly seven targets with between 50-65 receiving yards in the last three games after opening the year with 10/105/1 receiving on 19 targets. The Bears limited T.J. Hockenson to 4/42 receiving on eight targets last week.
Josh Jacobs returned to the lineup last week off his ankle/toe injuries, and he turned in 13/40 rushing and 5/17 receiving on 63% of the snaps. His five receptions were a career-high, which is an indictment on Kenyan Drake, who didn’t see a single target on a season-low 35% snap share. The Bears are giving up a solid 4.3 YPC but they’ve allowed just two TDs to RBs this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 30.5 (26th)
Plays per game: 62.3 (26th)
Pass: 54.8% (28th) | Run: 45.2% (5th)
Pace: 28.9 (19th)
Plays per game: 74.0 (3rd)
Pass: 66.2% (6th) | Run: 33.8% (27th)
We saw signs of life from this Bears offense last week as Matt Nagy came to his senses and let Bill Lazor call the plays. Chicago jumped out to a quick two score lead in Week 4 and didn’t have to do much in the second half, but they went a whopping 75% run-heavy on early-downs last week – which was easily the highest rate in the league. Even though Fields still didn’t run often, Lazor was much more imaginative than Nagy and dialed up a number of deep shots to Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney when they actually threw it. While I’m cautiously optimistic that the change in play callers will benefit Fields long-term, I’m not even close to ready to trust this Bears attack. They won’t be able to stick with the run that often this week as 5-point road underdogs.
I’ve been tracking a change in the Raiders tendencies through the opening month. Last year, Jon Gruden was very balanced in neutral situations (game within a score in 1st-3rd quarter) and called a 54% to 46% pass | run split. This year? The Raiders have gone 67% pass | 37% run in neutral situations as Gruden is trusting Derek Carr and giving him a much longer leash. Even though the Raiders offense struggled badly in the first half of MNF last week, Carr still threw for multiple TDs in his fourth-straight game and is well on his way to shatter his career-highs in attempts (42.5) and yards (349.8) per game.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
The 196 passing yards Derek Carr posted last Monday night snapped a six-game stretch where he collected the three-point bonus for 300 passing yards, averaging 373/game. Week 5 will bring a Chicago defense to Sin City with a strong pass rush, but with distinct vulnerabilities in the secondary. Carr will also be heading back home where he’s averaged 23.8 FPG, with a 10-5 TD-INTs over his last five healthy games.
Chicago has been kind to all WRs. However, slot man Hunter Renfrow will see coverage from their most generous benefactor: CB Duke Shelley.
We knew it was only a matter of time before the Bears fully committed to Justin Fields. The Raiders have done a tremendous job transforming their pass defense — a pass rush that assembled the most QB pressures this season will not help matters for the rookie.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Let’s start with the Bears who, for all the hoopla with Justin Fields, are still starting a QB who has completed 17 passes in two career starts, which isn’t exactly great for fantasy — Allen Robinson is the WR60 in total fantasy points.
For Fields, I think it’s important to note that, after his disaster of a first start, there were building blocks in Week 4. Here’s Greg Cosell from his Week 4 study:
“Bears still featured 5 man protection concepts and quick game concepts just as they did in Fields first start last week, Difference was the throws were there and Fields was under less quick pressure which allowed him to be more decisive…
Fields showed his throwing traits versus the Lions with some excellent intermediate and vertical throws, He was particularly effective on play action: 5-6 for 86 yards.”
However, the comments about pressure concern me. I’d be more likely to sit and wait on Fields this week than firing him up against the Raiders and Maxx Crosby.
As for Robinson, he plays 41% of his routes inside, where the Raiders have given up 55.8% of their fantasy production to WRs. That’s because Casey Hayward, PFF’s top-graded coverage corner, plays exclusively outside. That will make the going tough for Darnell Mooney. Frankly, while last week was a huge positive for the speedy Mooney given the way Fields throws the ball downfield, I’m having a hard time getting to the window with him as more than a weak WR3. I actually think Robinson is the safer bet this week.
“Williams put together a full practice on Wednesday, which means he’s this week’s Chuba Hubbard. Or, in other words, he’s maybe an RB3-level talent who is likely to see fringe-RB1 levels of volume. And as such, should be viewed as a mid-range RB2 for fantasy this week.
David Montgomery exited early in the fourth quarter last week, with a knee injury, and will be out 4-5 weeks. Williams earned 8 carries and 2 targets last week, and was effective, totaling 70 YFS. Round 6 rookie Khalil Herbert had three carries on the day, but those carries came on the last three plays of the game (before kneels) when the game was out of reach. And Williams out-snaps him 70 to 9 on the full season. He’s a threat to mix in, but I’d expect Montgomery-esque usage for Williams moving forward.
He gets a great matchup this week, against a Raiders defense that has surrendered the 3rd-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (+9.1). They also rank bottom-12 in YPC allowed (4.60), rushing FPG allowed (15.4), and receiving FPG allowed (11.5) to enemy RBs. Projected gamescript isn’t great (+5.5), but Chicago has leaned heavier on the RBs with Justin Fields under center, and Williams is seeing enough usage in the passing game (16 carries to 10 targets) and has long seen good usage in the passing game (310 career carries to 186 career targets) that I think he can rise above it.”
As for Khalil Herbert, the Bears traded for WR Jakeem Grant so they could take Herbert off of kick returns, which indicates he’ll have a backfield role while Monty is out.
You typically know who to start with the Raiders. I don’t know if it’s a great spot for Derek Carr, but Wes likes Hunter Renfrow for good reason this week, and obviously Darren Waller must be in your lineup.
However… what about Josh Jacobs? Nobody likes Jacobs, but with Peyton Barber hurt (toe - questionable) and Kenyan Drake predictably underwhelming, Graham Barfield likes him this week! From the above-linked Start/Sit:
“The start to Jacobs’ season has been sketchy at best as he battled through turf toe to get there in Week 1 (10/34/2 rushing), then he missed two games, and didn’t exactly look like his normal self in his return on MNF against the Chargers. The usage Jacobs got, however, was amazing. Jon Gruden immediately re-installed Jacobs as his featured runner last week as Jacobs played on 63% of the snaps, handled 13-of-15 carries, and even got 5 targets. Well, this is the ideal spot where Jacobs usually does his best work. For his career, Jacobs averages 21.1 FPG when the Raiders win as a whopping 19 of his 21 career TDs have come in victories. The Raiders are 5.5-point favorites over the Bears. With Jacobs getting borderline bellcow usage, he’s a RB2 start with RB1 and multiple TD upside in this spot.”
Bear DT Akiem Hicks (groin) is doubtful, which also helps Jacobs.
The other Raiders’ WRs are an enigma. You probably need a big play from Henry Ruggs, while Bryan Edwards is like fantasy Benjamin Button — his snaps have increased every week (66% < 74% < 76% < 89%), but his production bottomed out at just 4 yards on a single catch last week. I think that might be on Carr — per Next Gen Stats, Edwards has the lowest average separation in the NFL, but contested catches are his game. I still think an Edwards breakout is coming.