The matchup between the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams was expected to be a low-scoring affair between game-managing quarterbacks and it did not disappoint. The Rams Defense had their way with Nick Foles and Jared Goff was able to coast to a 24-10 victory. Both teams exited Monday Night Football with 5-2 records.
Nick Foles, The Face of Purgatory
Foles and the Bears are going to make the playoffs barring a catastrophic meltdown. They still have five divisional games on the schedule but five wins through seven weeks put them on pace to at least net one of three Wild Card bids. Chicago has yet to allow an opponent to hit 27 points in a game and their opponents are averaging a measly 20 points. Khalil Mack's notoriety may have come down since being traded to Chicago but he's on pace for 13 sacks this year. He notched another sack versus the Rams and Robert Quinn forced a fumble on Robert Woods that was returned for the only Chicago touchdown of the night. This defense is going to keep them afloat for the rest of the year and likely through next year.
The only problem with their approach is that no amount of defensive talent is going to elevate the team beyond Foles' limitations. He has been intercepted in every game that he's thrown a pass for the Bears this year. Foles has played in five games but hasn't topped 6.5 yards per attempt once. He has been just good enough to let the Bears Defense win games but hasn't shown any reason to believe he can lead them on a deep playoff run. Cutting Foles after this season would saddle the Bears with $10.3 million in dead cap. Unless Foles returns to his Super Bowl MVP form, the Bears will struggle to take down elite teams. They'll be a gatekeeper to lesser teams but don't pose a major threat to the upper echelon of contenders because of Foles.
Los Angeles Runs Amok
With their defense getting it done against Foles, Sean McVay stuck with his ground-heavy approach on Monday night. Removing Goff kneels, the Rams ran 32 times for 163 yards. Darrell Henderson led the team with 15 carries for 64 yards and Malcolm Brown added 57 yards on 10 totes. Brown netted the only rushing score for Los Angeles. Even Robert Woods got involved on the ground. He ran four times for 23 yards. Goff's 6.6 yards per attempt were hardly better than Foles. However, Goff only took one sack and threw two scores. Foles was brought down four times and gave up the ball twice. With Sean McVay scheming up pre-snap motion and play action on a regular basis, Goff is an evolved form of Foles. He's unlikely to put on a performance that wins Los Angeles the game but his weekly floor appears to be much higher than Foles'.
The Rams' receiving room continued to be a mixed bag. Cooper Kupp led the team with six catches which he converted into 43 yards. Seemingly out of nowhere, Josh Reynolds led the team with eight targets and 52 receiving yards. He also scored once. Tyler Higbee was absent with a hand injury. Gerald Everett scored once on five targets but only went for 28 receiving yards. Backup tight end Johnny Mundt took the field more often than usual and managed a 34-yard catch that set the Rams up for a field goal. The Rams are a run-first team if they have any say in the matter. As long as their defense keeps humming, they will continue to shelter Goff and rely on winning low-scoring affairs.
Fantasy Slant: David Montgomery has averaged more than four yards per carry in just 36% of his games since entering the NFL. He hasn't crossed that mark in any game dating back to Week 3. Montgomery's only draw for fantasy purposes is his receiving role. He's averaged six targets per game since Tarik Cohen was lost to an ACL tear. He remains an RB2 with little upside. Allen Robinson managed 70 yards by catching all four of his targets. Even when the Bears Offense falls flat, he still finds a way.
Henderson looks to be operating as the primary ball-carrier for Los Angles but is still ceding work to Brown. He's a touchdown-dependent RB2 moving forward. Cam Akers did not see a touch and can be dropped in most fantasy leagues. The receiving duo of Woods and Kupp will be excellent fantasy plays in weeks when the Rams face a team that can put points on the board. Any week that they face a middling offense, fantasy managers should look to bench all Rams pass-catchers if there are suitable alternatives.
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Odell Beckham was confirmed to have suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season while recovering. In his absence, Rashard Higgins pulled down all six of his targets for 110 yards. Beckham hasn't gone for as many receiving yards since Week 2 of 2019. Higgins appears to be taking on the entirety of Beckham's role as the outside receiving threat for Cleveland. He shouldn't be expected to produce better numbers than Beckham going forward but is worth adding in all leagues.
The 49ers are expected to be without Deebo Samuel (hamstring) for at least two weeks while Jeff Wilson (ankle) will miss a minimum of three weeks after being placed on injured reserve. That leaves Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty as the only healthy backs on the roster. McKinnon only saw three carries in Week 7 but Kyle Shanahan said that McKinnon was being rested. That means he will likely return to a prominent role in this backfield with Hasty spelling him on obvious running downs. Hasty is worth a speculative add in all fantasy leagues. Brandon Aiyuk should take over as the No. 1 receiver and could become a weekly fantasy starter if he is able to capitalize on that role.
Kenyan Drake is expected to miss "a few weeks" with an ankle injury. Chase Edmonds touched the ball 12 times and racked up 145 yards on numerous chunk plays. He's served as the pass-catching back for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals this year. Now he will also take on a large role between the tackles. Edmonds looks like an RB1 for however long Drake is on the mend. Eno Benjamin has been declared inactive for every game this year but was an exciting prospect coming out of Arizona State. As a sophomore, he carried the ball 300 times for 1,642 yards. Benjamin was also noted as an impressive pass-catcher by scouts. He's an interesting prospect to target in dynasty and deep redraft leagues.
Chris Carson is considered week-to-week with a foot injury. Carlos Hyde handled 15 carries and four targets in his absence on Sunday night. He'll work as the first option at running back in Seattle and his target-total from Week 7 implies a three-down upside. Carsons's injury doesn't sound as bad as Drake's but Edmonds is already rostered in most leagues. That makes Hyde the best add off the waiver wire this week.