The Green Bay Packers were low on running backs heading into Thursday night’s tilt with NFC North rival Chicago, but Aaron Rodgers surrounded himself with wide receivers and went to work, throwing the ball 56 times for 326 yards as the Packers topped the Bears 26-10. While Rodgers was busy feeding his receivers in every possible fashion, the Bears were stuck in neutral after Brian Hoyer left the game in the second quarter with a broken arm. The resulting matchup of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Barkley went exactly as expected in a rather uneventful Thursday night matchup.
Early in the day on Thursday, the Packers placed injured running back Eddie Lacy (ankle) on injured reserve as he prepares to undergo ankle surgery. With fellow running back James Starks (knee) on the shelf as well, Green Bay was left with newly signed Knile Davis and recent practice-squad call-up Don Jackson to handle rushing duties against the Bears. After the dust settled on the Packers’ divisional victory, Davis and Jackson (who suffered a hand injury early in the game) combined for just four rushing attempts while wide receiver Ty Montgomery led Green Bay with nine carries for 60 yards. Montgomery was a dynamic weapon for a second-straight week, running the ball nine times and catching 10 of 13 targets for 126 total yards. The only thing missing from Montgomery’s Thursday night stat line was a touchdown, as teammate Davante Adams handled most of the scoring in this game. Adams had a monster night, catching 13 of 16 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns as he led the Packers’ receiving crew that had three players targeted 13 times or more.
Any potential for fantasy contributions from the Chicago side of the ball went down in flames when QB Brian Hoyer broke his left arm in the second quarter. Matt Barkley replaced Hoyer and went 6/15 passing for 81 yards and two interceptions, giving the two quarterbacks a combined 10 completions on Thursday night compared to 39 for the Packers. Two late-game drives with the potential for garbage time fantasy production were both torpedoed by Barkley interceptions, as the Bears failed to feast on a Green Bay secondary that is littered with injuries. Alshon Jeffery led the Bears with 11 targets but was able to haul in just three passes for 33 yards in a disappointing night for Chicago pass catchers.
While the Chicago passing game is now trending south until Jay Cutler (thumb) recovers, the Bears’ backfield is also cause for fantasy concern as Jordan Howard’s workloads are dwindling by the week. For the second-consecutive game, Howard was outgained by Ka’Deem Carey as Chicago has begun shifting its backfield into an even timeshare. Over the last two weeks, Carey handled 20 touches for 107 total yards, while Howard turned 24 touches into just 62 total yards. The impending return of Jeremy Langford (ankle) only makes this picture muddier and fantasy owners placing Howard on the trade block this week may very well be met with crickets.
Editor's Note: Looking for a weekly edge in your fantasy leagues? Get the Rotoworld Season Pass for projections, early-week rankings, WR & RB reports, exclusive columns and chats with our experts and much more for just $19.99.
Bears at Packers Quick Slants
Randall Cobb had a nice night on Thursday, catching 11 of 15 targets for 95 yards and a score and even helped in the Green Bay backfield, handling five carries for 21 yards. … Zach Miller led Chicago with 40 receiving yards, though he caught just two passes on five chances. … Cam Meredith turned in a clunker with one lone reception on two targets. The Bears’ pass catchers will be severely downgraded with Barkley starting. … Jordy Nelson disappeared despite the pass-happy ways of the Packers. Nelson was targeted four times but caught one pass for nine yards.
In Other News…
Buffalos’ LeSean McCoy (hamstring) missed practice again on Thursday and conflicting reports have surfaced regarding the status of the Bills’ offensive workhorse. The situation is trending toward a game-time decision at absolute best for McCoy, which leaves backup RB Mike Gillislee waiting in the wings as a potential must-start fantasy back if Shady does indeed sit out. Gillislee should now be scooped up in leagues of all sizes and has a shot at serious fantasy production if McCoy misses multiple weeks with the Bills fifth among NFL offenses in rushing attempts and first in rushing yards this season. McCoy owners who missed out on acquiring Gillislee’s services could be in for a bumpy ride, as hamstring issues are tricky for NFL running backs and there is a very real possibility that McCoy misses extended time.
Joe Flacco racked up 307 passing yards in Week 6, his highest output of the 2016 season, but apparently did so while injuring his shoulder. Flacco has not practiced this week and his Week 7 playing status now appears to be in serious question as the weekend approaches. While CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports that “there’s some optimism” that Flacco could play on Sunday, this situation will require monitoring up until kickoff. Flacco was a decent streaming option for quarterback-needy fantasy teams as the Ravens will take-on the defensively challenged Jets this week, but fantasy owners can scratch his name from the list of startable fantasy options with Ryan Mallett in line to start if Flacco is held out of action.
Editor's Note: Special Offer - Get our Fantasy Football Season Pass for FREE with a $10+ deposit on FanDuel -- claim now! Must be a new FanDuel user.
Odell Beckham (hip) returned to practice on Thursday and although he should be monitored as Sunday creeps closer, Beckham should play this week in London. … Terrelle Pryor (hamstring) is a dicey bet to play in Week 7 and could see limited snaps if he does suit up. Pryor owners would be wise to make alternate plans this week, and expect a bump in production from tight end Gary Barnidge if Pryor sits. … Stefon Diggs (hamstring) has been practicing in limited fashion this week and is on track to play in Week 7. … Tyler Eifert (back) was limited at practice on Thursday but his involvement shines some positivity on the chances that Cincinnati gets their tight end back in action this week. … Carlos Hyde (shoulder) is no longer using a sling on his injured right shoulder, indicating that the Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn show will be cancelled after just one week in the San Francisco backfield. … Dwayne Washington (ankle) practiced on Thursday and should be able to play this week for Detroit, who is short on healthy running back options with Theo Riddick (ankle) still not practicing. … Phillip Dorsett (foot, hamstring) has not practiced this week and his Week 7 playing status is looking shaky, leaving the Indianapolis receiving group in shambles as they prepare for Tennessee. … DeSean Jackson (shoulder) missed practice again on Thursday and is now on the weekend watch list. … Carson Palmer (hamstring) got in a limited practice session on Thursday and will be a tough fantasy option to trust against Seattle on Sunday.