Every week, I’ll be writing a comprehensive primer on every NFL matchup and all of the relevant players, matchups, pace and playcalling notes, and injuries. It covers everything you need to know when setting your lineups. But since that article is massive and requires a full pot of coffee, we’re also going to offer these more focused matchup overviews to help you prepare for Thursday Night Football.
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Washington Commanders vs. Chicago Bears
- CHI -0.5, O/U 39.5
- Commanders vs. Bears Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Pace and playcalling notes
- This game won’t be full-on molasses, but we should lower our volume expectations. Washington is 14th in neutral pace, but Chicago creeps in at 24th.
- While Chicago has remained run-centric with the league’s top neutral rushing rate, Washington has skewed more to the air and is now 11th in neutral passing rate.
: The Bears’ pass defense started the year surpassing expectations, but they have since come back down to earth. Outside of keeping opposing passers out of the endzone (eighth-lowest passing touchdown rate), they have been a below-average unit. They have yielded the seventh-highest success rate and eighth-highest EPA per dropback. Wentz has outplayed anyone’s preconceived notions of his fantasy value entering this season as the QB8 in fantasy. His real-life play has been lackluster, as he’s 26th in PFF passing grade and 21st in adjusted completion rate (minimum 25 dropbacks). What has propelled Wentz to top-12 status is the fact that he is second in passing attempts (fourth in passing yards) and has connected on big plays (11th in big-time throw rate). If Washington can hold off Chicago’s pass rush (tenth in pressure rate), Wentz could be in for another big day. Chicago is 29th in DVOA against deep passing, while Wentz is second in deep pass attempts with the fifth-highest deep passing grade per PFF. Wentz is on the QB1/2 borderline this week.
: Over the last two games, Fields has shown growth. While he is still 25th in PFF passing grade, he’s also ranked 16th in adjusted completion rate and tenth in big-time throw rate. Still, with his limited passing volume, it’s difficult to trust him as anything more than a low-end QB2 despite a burnable secondary on deck. Washington has conceded the seventh-highest EPA per dropback, the highest passing touchdown rate, and the sixth-highest yards per attempt. The issue that could lead to Fields’ unraveling his Washington is also eighth in pressure rate and ninth in blitz rate. Fields could be under duress all day as the NFL’s second-most pressured quarterback.
|Player||% of Rushing attempts||Target share||Route Run %||Red zone opportunities|
: In his first game action of the season, Robinson led the team in carries (nine, 22 rushing yards) and played 29% of the snaps. He was a total zero in the passing game as the team worked him in slowly as the early down thumper and nothing more. He only managed 1.56 yards after contact per attempt with zero missed tackles forced. After a long layoff and a limited sample in his first game back, I’m willing to give these ugly numbers a pass. Last week’s matchup against Tennessee was rough for rushing, but that’s definitely not the case this week. Chicago’s run defense has been a laughing stock this year. They have yielded the tenth-highest rushing success rate, third-highest explosive run rate, and second-most rushing yards per game. They are eighth in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs. Robinson could flirt with 15 touches in this game, making him a solid RB3 with upside.
: Well, that didn’t take long. Robinson stole Gibson’s early down role in his first game back. Robinson also almost out-snapped Gibson, who handled 32% of the snaps with six touches and 39 total yards. I expect Robinson’s snaps and workload to climb further in his second game back, so Gibson is unplayable. He’s a stash-worthy play only.
: McKissic has been regulated to a passing-down option only with Robinson back. While McKissic remains among the best-receiving backs in the league, this game doesn’t set up like one where his services will be heavily needed. He’s seventh in target share, fourth in receptions per game, seventh in receiving yards per game, and 20th in yards per route run among running backs (minimum five targets). Chicago is 13th in DVOA against passing down backs facing the sixth-fewest targets to the position. Opposing teams have had so much success running the ball they have had little need for their backs through the air. McKissic is a low-end flex play in PPR leagues only.
|Player||% of Rushing attempts||Target share||Route Run %||Red zone opportunities|
: Last week Montgomery returned to the lineup, handling close to his customary workload as the Bears’ primary back. He played 72% of the snaps with 16 touches and 82 total yards. He did most of his damage against the Vikings in the receiving department, with 62 receiving yards. He also handled both red zone opportunities for this backfield in Week 5. Montgomery’s effectiveness might not be back to 100% as he logged his second-lowest yards after contact per attempt (2.08) and elusive rating (52.1) of the season out of his full games played. Montgomery is a volume-based low-end RB2/RB3 in a dreadful matchup. Washington has been a horrible defense for running backs to face this year. They have permitted the fourth-lowest rushing success rate and fifth-lowest rush EPA. Washington has also held backs to the ninth-lowest explosive run rate and rushing yards per game. Fantasy managers have to hope he can get it done in the passing game again this week. Washington is 18th in DVOA against receiving backs, and while they have faced the seventh-fewest targets to the position, they are tied for the most receiving touchdowns allowed.
: Herbert returns to high-end handcuff status. He only saw four touches last week (11 rushing yards) while playing 28% of the snaps with a route run rate that’s likely to fall further in Week 6.
:Washington has sadly rendered McLaurin to mid WR3 status. He’s the WR36 in fantasy points per game seeing a 15.9% target share (60th, minimum ten targets) with a 28.7% air yard share. He’s only 44th in weighted opportunity (minimum ten targets). McLaurin will run about 80% of his routes against Kindle Vildor and Jaylon Johnson. Vildor has allowed a 59.1% catch rate and 81.3 passer rating. Johnson has only seen three targets in coverage this season (two games) allowing one to be secured and a 42.4 passer rating.
: Samuel has been a high-floor WR3 play this year with spike week potential in PPR formats. He’s seen seven or more targets in every game with only two weeks below 50 yards receiving. He’s the WR20 in fantasy points per game (PPR), handling a 21.7% target share (31st, minimum ten targets). Wentz should lean on Samuel in a smash matchup this week. Samuel will run about 71% of his routes against Kyler Gordon
, who continues to be a slot corner that teams pick on. Gordon has allowed an 80.6% catch rate and 131.1 passer rating. He has seen the third-most slot targets giving up the second-highest yards per snap (minimum 25 coverage snaps).
:Dotson has been ruled out for Week 6.
: Mooney’s 24.4% target share and 44.2% air yard share look sexy on paper until you realize that has only resulted in 4.2 targets per game. Chicago’s low-volume passing offense has limited Mooney to WR4/5 status. He has shown some life over the last three weeks averaging 5.3 targets, 2.7 receptions, and 56.3 receiving yards per game. The limited volume and 1.42 yards per route run are too thin to count on weekly. He’ll run about 63% of his routes against Rachad Wildgoose
, who has only seen four targets in coverage in his short career, allowing three receptions and a 95.8 passer rating.
: Thomas has been ruled out for Week 6.
: Despite his 14% target share and 84.5% route run rate, Kmet is only a desperate TE2 target. His target share has only amounted to 2.4 targets per game. He’s been held below 20 receiving yards in three of five games. Washington is 15th in DVOA, facing the third-fewest tight end targets and yielding the sixth-fewest receiving yards.