I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but with tonight’s meeting between the Bears and Redskins, we’ve already very clearly reached the annual lull-point of Monday Night Football’s schedule. I’m aware that more goes into these types of decisions than just picking the best game of the week – networks, team requirements and copious amounts of money to name a few – yet it’s hard for me to sympathize when all those factors come together to produce a Mitch Trubisky ($10,400) and Case Keenum ($10,200) clash on National TV. Looking forward offers no favors, either. That is unless you’ve got a reason to get excited about the winless Steelers taking on the winless Bengals.
We’ve got seven days to mentally prepare for that train wreck, though. In the meantime, allow me to make this evening’s matchup bearable by breaking it down from a Showdown perspective.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
-The Redskins have lost each of their past seven Monday night games.
-The road team has covered the spread in each of Washington’s past six games.
-Each of the Bears’ past seven games have gone UNDER the total points line.
-Chris Thompson has scored the first touchdown in three of the Redskins’ past six games as underdogs in September.
-Tarik Cohen has scored a touchdown in eight of Chicago’s past 15 regular season games.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Washington RedskinsFor as daunting a matchup as this appears to be for Keenum, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least point out that the QB has been effective through his first two starts of 2019. In losses against the Eagles and the Cowboys, Keenum has posted a 5:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and averaged a very respectable 23.5 DKFP per start. In fact, entering tonight’s game, among quarterbacks with at least two outings under their belt so far this season, Keenum’s 8.17 adjusted net yards per passing attempt trails only five men: Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson. That’s sort of Fantasy Football royalty right there. Still, I think it’s fair to suggest that most of Keenum’s success has been situationally dependent. Two of the pivot’s five passing TDs have come on his team’s final drive with Washington trailing by at least two scores. His best performance of the year was also in a matchup with a flawed Philadelphia secondary – a unit that’s currently surrendering an NFC-worst 350.0 opponent passing yards per contest. It all counts the same in DFS, but with tonight’s tilt possessing such a low implied total, I’m having a difficult time envisioning a scenario where Keenum is gifted all that much garbage time. The fact that Chicago hasn’t allowed a 300-yard passer since Week 6 of 2018 doesn’t really help his case, either. Nor does the information that the Bears have given up just four passing touchdowns in their past eight regular season games.
As you might imagine, teams have had almost equal issues running the football against Chicago. Through two weeks, the squad’s 3.56 adjusted line yards allowed per carry represents the third-lowest mark in the NFC. Knowing that, along with he Redskins’ status as underdogs in this matchup, it doesn’t appear that this is going to be a game-script that suits Adrian Peterson ($5,800). The veteran running back played only 30.5% of Washington’s offensive snaps in Week 2, a contest in which he scored a touchdown, but managed a mere 11.2 DKFP. Peterson’s viability is completely tied to the Redskins’ overall success. He’s simply not going to be involved when they’re trailing by a significant margin; a point validated with the 34-year-old averaging 97.1 rushing yards per game in the team’s wins last season, yet just 40.2 yards per loss. Even this past week showed how fragile Peterson’s involvement can be, with the RB touching the ball twice in the second-half against Dallas. Chris Thompson ($7,400) is the other side of the coin. Essentially, without ever starting the game, Thompson is Washington’s lead back. He’s played 55.3% of offensive snaps, he entered Week 3 leading all running backs with 18 targets, and his 12 catches rank him No. 1 on his own team. That volume shouldn’t really come as a shock, as the Redskins have targeted their backfield on a whopping 31% of attempted passes so far this season – the highest rate in the entire conference. Considering Thompson’s health and that Chicago surrendered 14 targets to Denver’s RB as recently as eight days ago, Thompson is the obvious play when sifting through Washington’s backs.
Still, Thompson isn’t the only Redskins’ receiving option that’s turned a few heads across the campaign’s opening two weeks. Last Sunday, Terry McLaurin ($8,600) became the first rookie wideout since Calvin Johnson in 2007 to amass at least 60 yards and a touchdown in each of his first two professional starts. More importantly, assisted by an 18.1 yard aDOT, McLaurin was the lone NFC wide receiver to have accounted for at least 50% of his team’s air yards, signaling that the Ohio State product’s viability is not just the result of volume, but high-leverage opportunities. Trey Quinn ($3,800) is another considerable option in this corps, with his floor elevated after garnering at least six targets in each of the Redskins’ two matchups so far. Quinn also gets a bump with the probability that he’ll be seeing a whole lot of Buster Skrine this evening. Dating back to the beginning of 2018, no slot corner with 300-plus routes covered has surrendered more yards per route than Skrine (2.02). I’d prefer Quinn to the likes of Vernon Davis ($7,800), as the duo have similar-enough roles where their $4,000 price discrepancy doesn’t really make any sense. Heck, Quinn’s out-snapped Davis 109-96 and he has a higher average target depth.
Chicago BearsThough they probably wouldn’t have drawn it up where they needed a roughing the passer penalty and a 53-yard Eddie Pinero ($3,400) game-winning field goal in the final seconds, the Bears won in Week 2 running the football. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to assume that that’s how they’d like to go about things moving forward, especially with how poorly Trubisky has looked as of late. The former first-round pick dropped back only 27 times last Sunday, with the Bears content to run on a massive 51.8% of their offensive plays. Between that preference and Trubisky’s recent reluctance to escape the pocket and run for himself, I’m just not sure how you can feel confident in the QB’s viability in any matchup. The latter point is really the key. Going back to the beginning of 2018, Trubisky has averaged an eye-popping 30.6 DKFP on the five occasions he’s produced more than 40 yards on the ground. In the other 11 regular season starts? The third-year pivot has managed an underwhelming 13.8 DKFP. To make matters even more embarrassing, Trubisky has put up a mere 3.68 adjusted net yards per attempt in 2019, the lowest rate of any non-Dolphins quarterback. You’ll likely have the benefit of differentiation if you choose to roster Trubisky on this slate, yet the prospect of owning the 25-year-old is about as unappetizing as it gets.
Really, Trubisky’s woes have been so predominant that Allen Robinson ($9,800) is the lone Chicago receiver that you can even consider rostering. Robinson has a 28.2% overall target share within the Bears’ scheme, yet the numbers become even more skewed when you remove the running backs from the equation. Through two games, Trubisky has only attempted 32 passes directed at Chicago WRs, with 20 of those going towards Robinson. That volume’s still resulted in an underwhelming 7.2 yards per target for Robinson, but the bar for relevance isn’t very high in his receiving corps. Anthony Miller ($3,600) has gone from playing 53.6% of snaps in 2018 to just 36.1% this season; Trey Burton ($6,000) is likely continuing to feel the effects of a lingering groin injury; and Taylor Gabriel ($4,400) runs a majority of his routes on the left side of the football field, pretty much a death sentence for a wideout who generally accumulates his fantasy points in big-play chunks. Sure, maybe the narrative that Trubisky can’t throw left has gone a little too far; however, the QB has completed an ugly 35.9% of his attempts of over 15 yards to that side of the field throughout his career, with a ratio of two touchdowns to six interceptions. Doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, does it?
Really, the player on the Bears’ roster that its easiest to be optimistic about would have to be David Montgomery ($9,400). He’s incredibly expensive in comparison to his raw production, however the rookie running back was heavily utilized in Week 2’s victory over the Broncos. Montgomery received a carry or a target on 21 of his 27 offensive snaps against Denver and has been the only Chicago running back to get a rushing attempt inside the opponent’s 10-yard line so far this season. That volume doesn’t necessarily make Tarik Cohen ($6,800) an avoid, but it is somewhat unnerving that the Redskins surrendered the fewest targets to the running back position through the first two weeks of 2019. The fact that Cohen dropped to a 36.7% snap share after seeing the field on 71.8% of the Bears’ offensive plays in Week 1 is troubling, too. Honestly, with salary always being a factor, Mike Davis ($1,800) might be a more tempting DFS option. He did next to nothing versus the Broncos, yet he’s also a single game removed from racking up seven targets in the passing game. Still, even with the price point and the possibility of upside, Davis isn’t someone deserving of high exposure.
THE OUTCOMEI don’t blame anyone for feeling a little lost when it comes to trusting a player enough to bestow them with 1.5x value on this slate. The list of potential candidates is certainly a small one. I do like the high floor of a piece like Chris Thompson ($11,100 CP), especially considering how involved he’s been the first two weeks of the season. Allen Robinson ($14,700 CP) and Terry McLaurin ($12,900 CP) are also slightly enticing. Still, the best choice might just be the most obvious. Bears DST ($9,300 CP) has yet to rack up the turnovers like they were able to in 2018, but the sacks should at least be there this evening with Washington left tackle Trent Williams in the midst of a holdout.
Final Score: Chicago 17, Washington 10
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