*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
I’m doing this game recap first. A recap of the dullest…worst fantasy game of the week, in order to walk-through what happened. To see if any reason for panic ahead. Some people were paying a price to acquire Tarik Cohen last week and he delivered you an egg. Some of you finally got up the gumption to start Mitchell Trubisky…and he smacked you in the face this week.
I will explain this game best through the first player note below (on Tarik). Before that, just a quick view of the two teams after this Bears’ beatdown:
Chicago rises to 5-3. One more win to pay off some over/under win total bets for some, another two wins to get everyone paid off. I put most of my wagering capital on over/under win total wagering --because I’m so good at it, and been random week-to-week picking games for years – trying to find the 65%+ Holy grail of football game predictions (hit it last year, not there this year at all). This bears ‘over’ win total bet is in the bag. So too is New Orleans. I need one more Cincy win to get pay off some tickets, and two more wins to get all of them on Cincy…and they have Oakland and Cleveland 2x on the remain schedule. I’m going to run the table on my top 3 heavy over/under win total plays…I hope you are on the verge of cashing in and celebrating along as well.
Chicago vs. Minnesota to the finish for the NFC North. Green Bay is about dead, and Detroit got hit with a tranquilizer dart known as Matt Patricia. The Bears might pop the Lions twice the next 3 weeks, and thus they look strong for 10 wins now. Minny could beat them Week 11 and the Vikes still not get to 10 wins – the schedule is coming to get them like it did Green Bay, as I stated it would this summer -- @CHI, GB, @NE, @SEA Weeks 11-14 takes the Vikings 6-6-1 likely. They could beat CHI and let’s say GB in there too and go to 7-5-1 and they would still need to sweep the final 3 games (one vs. CHI) to get to 10 wins to get past the Bears. This is the Bears division to lose now.
The Bills. Two words. (1) Good. (2) Hell. How is this a football team? Hey, at least they are better than the Raiders.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- OK, Tarik Cohen (6-5-0, 1-8-0/2) had a delightful game…
I charted Tarik on the Bears first 24 ‘real’ offensive plays (including penalties). Why 24? At that point, the defensive TD happened, and the turnovers started and it was getting unraveled for a 28-0 halftime lead. It was after the Bears 3rd series/24 real plays that the floodgates officially flowed.
What did Cohen do in those 24 plays? He played at RB for 8 snaps. He played WR for another 8 snaps. 67% in on the first three series of plays. Two touches were negated with penalty (they were nothing special anyway). Among the highlights of these 24 plays…
*Cohen lined up as a pure wide flanker several times.
*He lined up in the slot a few times.
*He took one red zone wildcat snap at QB, slipped as he took off or might have run for a TD.
Of the 24 plays, he ran the ball 5 times (2 called back) and saw a target. They really used him more as a decoy, because (my opinion) they were pushing this offense as ‘practice’ for Trubisky and Miller connecting. More work for Trubisky throwing downfield/pocket passes. Working Miller to get him more experience because they need him in case Allen Robinson is a bust.
Not only was this practice for Miller-Trubisky, but Benny Cunningham and just activated Taquan Mizzell saw 13 snaps combined in this game versus the usual 0-3 snaps for backup RBs. Javon Wims took 6 snaps at WR. Daniel Brown got 7 snaps at TE. This was a practice game for starters than turned into a quick rout and then some work for backups.
Cohen out snapped Jordan Howard (28-26), but Howard took more basic touches/carries up the middle. It was a very not-normal game plan – because it didn’t need to be. Allen Robinson or Khalil Mack might have played if an important game, but this wasn’t – it was a scrimmage for the Bears.
Thus, Tarik Cohen played 20 of 28 snaps in the 1st half and didn’t see the ball much – to preserve him. He returned 3 punts, and one punt return for 32 yards he ran about 150 yards in circles to get the 32…and was so gassed he had to sit out a drive catching his breath. He could have gone back in if a ‘real’ game, but playing Buffalo or Oakland is going to be a scrimmage game for ‘good’ teams ahead.
I have no doubts or fears about Cohen and his usage ahead. What we had been seeing will be coming back – almost all the games ahead for Chicago are against average-to-good-to great opponents and most are NFC North critical wins.
You ‘believe’ in Cohen, and you’re a bit rattled by the past two games. Imagine someone who doesn’t believe? They would rather have Duke Johnson going forward then 1-catch in each of his last two games Tarik Cohen. Go buy him low – like RB2 price paid at best, possibly RB2.5 from the totally rattled. Savvy leagues he’s still an RB2 valuation – THEY do not believe and are scared…and don’t let them try to convince you otherwise.
Chicago goes back to normal starting next week in a must-win 3 game stretch against worthy opponents.
-- When Chicago goes back to normal, Jordan Howard (14-47-2) goes back to second fiddle taking 10-15 carries and you hope he gets a TD, which with this offense is good odds. He’s an RB2, but if his last two weeks makes people think he’s an RB1.5 again with Cohen dispatched to nothing (just look at the last two box scores) – then cash in on Howard as an RB1.25-1.50 if you want. Howard + thing FOR a bigger RB…or Howard + Gronk/Engram might get you Ertz or Kelce from those ‘dying’ at RB.
Or just hold Howard for depth as the Cohen handcuff…which is probably the smartest idea if you have both and are on your way to the playoffs – HWB…Handcuffs With Benefits. You can play both Cohen/Howard in a week, successfully, ahead a few times, in some leagues, I bet. But just having the cuff is valuable.
-- Obviously, with everything said, same goes for Mitchell Trubisky (12-20 for 135 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 1-6-0). You know it was a weird practice game because Trub only completed 12 passes and they scored 41 points. He also only ran once…and it was a for a goal line score that if they reviewed they would have gave to him, but Chicago was so unconcerned in this practice game they didn’t review and the next play gave JoHo one of his 2 TDs.
Trubisky as your 2nd QB is a good thing if you have Mahomes or Goff. Current owners KNEW Trubisky was a flash in the pan, so they’d sell easier this week. You watch. I know these ESPN teet suckers.
-- All this somewhat holds true for Taylor Gabriel (3-45-0/5) AND he had Tre’Davious White on him some this game to make matters worse, as I feared (thus the low projections last week). Gabriel looks damn good as a WR. Don’t give up on him he’s going to work when things get back to normal ESPECIALLY if Allen Robinson gets back to help.
The schedule ahead is a problem for Gabriel, maybe. More on that in a moment.
Speaking of ARob…you’re not crazy to plant him on the back of your bench to see if he just needed a few more weeks to shake the rust, etc., from his 2017 injury. He’s basically being given away right now – he used to be thought of as a WR1 hopeful.
-- Poor Nathan Peterman (31-49 for 189 yards, 0 TD/3 INTs)…1 TD/7 INTs this season. 3 TDs/12 INTs for his career.
Daniel Jeremiah and Mike Mayock were making the case for Peterman as one of the best in class for 2017…I can remember it like they are saying it to me right now (during the Senior Bowl week).
Still, Davis Webb sits on a practice squad. It’s unconscionable.
-- LeSean McCoy is averaging 3.1 yards per carry and has not TDs this season. I guess the towel is good to be throw in, no? Who still has him? Who even started with this joker?
-- A Buffalo Bill had 7 catches on 8 targets in this game. Who do you think it was?
Not Benjamin or Zay.
Not Charles Clay.
Not newly signed Terrelle Pryor.
Former Bruce Arians bust QB-turned-TE Logan Thomas (7-40-0/8) had a nice little run in this game. Obviously, Peterman had some comfortableness here working 2nd-team with him this season. Thomas looked pretty good popping off the line into his routes.
Just mentioning if Charles Clay is out and you are deeper roster league desperate.
-- Chris Ivory may be done for the year it appears – if so, Marcus Murphy is going to get touches and maybe an even heavier workload later in the year, FYI.
-- The Bears-DST was dominant as expected…even without Khalil Mack.
I worried that the Bears schedule ahead was more trouble than it’s worth until the Lions utterly collapsed this week vs. Minnesota. Matt Stafford was sacked 10 times as the Lions continued a 3-week fade quitting on Patricia.
I don’t want to start the Bears Week 11 (MIN), or Weeks 14-15 (LAR-GB). I no longer fear Weeks 10 and 12 vs. DET. If you have a great record, I might not fear Week 11 vs. MIN either, but Weeks 14-15 are no-fly-zones for fantasy.
If you only consider Weeks 14-15, the best pairing (defenses that might be available to sit on now/soon) for the Bears-DST are (in order):
DET (ARI, BUF) – if they are still ‘in it’ at all.
NYJ (BUF, HOU)
*If JAX opens up to you off waivers they have (TEN-WAS) and would be at the top too.
-- Fantasy Playoff items/look-ahead:
The Bears #1 WR could be an issue. Slay-Rhodes-Slay the next 3 weeks is some trouble – and that could be for Taylor Gabriel.
If the Rams get Aqib Talib back Week 14…Talib and Jaire Alexander could be trouble Weeks 14-15.
Trubisky should be fine through all this, although Week 14 with the Rams at full strength might be not-great.
Cohen is immune to opponent, just the playbook/game flow can hold him back.
Snap Counts of Interest:
79 = Zay Jones
75 = Terrelle Pryor
67 = Benjamin
47 = Logan Thomas
42 = J Croom
08 = Clay
28 = Cohen
26 = Howard
07 = Mizzell
06 = Cunningham