This article is part of our Monday Night DFS Breakdown series.
In what seems to be a trend this season, on paper we are headed for a low-scoring Monday night matchup between the Bears and Patriots. The game total is 40 or 40.5 points depending on the sportsbook, with New England a heavy favorite with an implied total of 24.75 points. The Bears are at 15.75 points. Those numbers suggest that neither offense is particularly exciting, but let's dig in to see if the books are missing anything.
We'll start in New England, where Mac Jones ($9,800 DK, $14,500 FD) is expected to return from a three-game absence caused by a high-ankle sprain. Prior to going down, Jones reached 30 pass attempts in all three of his starts. Unfortunately, it was empty volume as he managed only two touchdowns as opposed to five interceptions. There were some glimpses of promise, as Jones completed eight passes of at least 20 yards in Week 3 against the Ravens. The Bears entered the week almost exactly average against the pass as measured by DVOA, but that has translated to only 14.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks (just be aware of strength of opponent). Considering we don't know where Jones is health-wise, he's a considerable risk even given his relatively depressed price. Briefly, in case Jones is surprisingly ruled out, Bailey Zappe ($9,400 DK, $14,500 FD) has stepped in admirably from an efficiency perspective, though he's largely been very limited by the offensive game plan. Given the projected game script, it's hard to see Zappe getting there from a volume perspective.
Justin Fields ($10,400 DK, $15,000 FD) is an interesting case, particularly because he's priced above both Patriots' quarterbacks. Rostering a more expensive quarterback with a lower implied total is typically against the "rules" of DFS. The case can be made for Fields, however. The Bears were almost on the same level as the Falcons in terms of wanting to avoid pass plays to begin the season, but Fields has surpassed 20 passing attempts in three consecutive games. That was highlighted by a Week 5 performance against the Commanders when he took to the air 27 times — a season high. After surpassing 7.0 yards per attempt only once in his first three games, Fields has done so in each of the last three weeks. Unsurprisingly, big plays have trended the same way. After completing either one or two passes that went for 20 yards or more in the first three weeks, he's completed either three or four such passes in each of the last three games. Most important, Fields has gotten more aggressive on the ground, tallying at least 47 rushing yards in each of his last four games. Put another way, that's essentially adding another passing touchdown to his stat line. The Patriots rank sixth in pass defense DVOA and are roughly league average in fantasy points allowed per game to quarterbacks. Fields doesn't take the route of a traditional quarterback to accrue fantasy points, so it's debatable how much those numbers really mean. For reference, Lamar Jackson racked up 107 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 3 at Foxboro. Fields isn't Jackson, and likely never will be, but he's my favorite quarterback Monday night.
Rhamondre Stevenson ($10,800 DK, $14,000 FD) and David Montgomery ($10,600 DK, $13,500 FD) are priced comparably across sites, so it makes sense to compare them. Stevenson's value is directly tied to Damien Harris ($8,400 DK, $12,500 FD), who returned to full practice Thursday. Harris has played four games in full this season, and Stevenson tallied eight, nine, 12 and 14 carries in those games. Those numbers were trending in the right direction for Stevenson, but still came nowhere close to matching his workload when Harris either missed the majority of a game or a full game (25 and 19 carries, respectively). Stevenson does have a clear role as a pass catcher, as he's managed at least four catches in three of the team's last four games. Three of those matchups came with Zappe at quarterback. The Bears rank 27th in rush defense DVOA and allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs, so there's no reason to shy away for matchup purposes. If the field is off Stevenson due to the combination of his price and the return of Harris, I'd be inclined to play him in large-field tournaments. If he's popular, I'm more willing to bet on the likely outcome, which is that he won't reach the point total needed to meet his price tag.
When healthy, Montgomery has a predictable workload. He's earned at least 12 carries but no more than 17. His involvement as a pass catcher is a bit less clear, though he does have at least one catch in each of his fully healthy games. At his floor, Montgomery is likely to have as many touches as Stevenson. New England ranks one spot ahead of Chicago in rush defense DVOA but has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. Matchup and volume don't stand out as reason to play Montgomery, but if you believe Chicago can outperform its implied total/be competitive, pairing Fields and Montgomery is a combination that has a likelier chance of capturing all of its team's touchdowns than pairing Jones and Stevenson.
Harris is in a tier of his own. If nothing else, he's likely to occupy a role near the end zone. He has eight rushes inside the 20, five inside the 10 and three inside the 3 in five games. It may be surprising that he has also six, five and one target from those same distances. Stevenson has a higher raw total of red zone touches, but nine of his 13 carries inside the 20 have come with Stevenson out. Harris is a grinding back, so don't expect big plays. He's a great play if he can reach 50 total yards, a couple receptions and two trips to the end zone, which might not be as outlandish as a potential outcome as it sounds.
Khalil Herbert ($5,400 DK, $10,000 FD) is the last relevant back for either team. When Montgomery has played in full games, Herbert has not surpassed nine carries and that mark came in Week 1. The fantasy community might believe Herbert is superior to Montgomery, but the Bears don't. By rostering Herbert, you're betting on him hitting on a long run for a touchdown.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jakobi Meyers ($8,200 DK, $12,000 FD) is the most expensive wide receiver, and rightly so. He has 28.2 percent target per routes run, which puts him in a reasonable price range. He's a better play on DraftKings due to his lack of touchdowns (three career TDs on 192 receptions), the PPR scoring and the 100-plus yard bonus. DeVante Parker ($7,000 DK, $8,500 FD) is priced differently on DK and FD. He is the second-most expensive New England wide receiver on DK and third on FD. Assuming Nelson Agholor ($5,800 DK, $7,500 FD) returns, Parker could be phased out of his role. Even when he's played a significant amount, it's difficult to rely on him. The public may just look at last week's 4-64 line and play him, but that came without Agholor and Kendrick Bourne ($3,000 DK, $6,500 FD). If both Bourne and Agholor are out, Parker steps into a larger role. If not, he's a dart throw at too high a price point. Reports suggest Bourne will not play Monday. That leaves Agholor as a great value assuming he plays, and assuming there's an indication he will be at full health. Tyquan Thornton ($6,600 DK, $9,000 FD) is the second-most expensive Patriots' receiver on FD, and that seems to be an overreaction to his two-touchdown performance in Week 6. Again, the team was without both Bourne and Agholor and Thornton still played only 24 offensive snaps in his second game as a pro. It's possible his role grows, but those who roster him at the price need to believe the Patriots want him to work as a complement to Meyers. The Bears have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. Keep in mind they've faced the Giants, Texans and Commanders, meaning I wouldn't put much stock into that number.
Chicago is a bit simpler. Darnell Mooney ($7,400 DK, $11,00 FD) is the leader of the Bears' receiving corps by a significant margin. However, his targets per route run is at a pedestrian 18.9 percent, so his price being even remotely comparable to Meyers is difficult to justify. Equanimeous St. Brown ($4,600 DK, $7,000 FD) hasn't had a role in the offense in recent weeks. Dante Pettis ($5,200 DK, $6,000 FD) served as the Bears' second wide receiver recently and is a nice value. N'Keal Harry ($200 DK, $5,000 FD) is likely to be active and has the revenge narrative but nothing else. Velus Jones ($1,200 DK, $6,000 FD) could be schemed into touches near the goal line, but that's a pretty thin reason to play him. Overall, if you're considering any Bears receiver, remember their conservative pass volume.
Hunter Henry ($5,00 DK, $8,000 FD) is interesting. The narrative is likely to be that he was a non-factor when Jones played but suddenly emerged into a role with Zappe as quarterback. Like most narratives, there's a more likely explanation, which is that Henry has seen his targets jump when Agholor has been sidelined. It's possible Henry keeps a role, but he's overpriced on paper. Cole Kmet ($4,800 DK, $7,500 FD) has been one of the biggest disappointments at tight end this season and it's difficult to roster him as compared to Pettis or even Agholor. His 12 percent targets per route is lower than the now-benched Albert Okwuegbunam. Jonnu Smith ($2,400 DK, $6,500 FD) is an interesting punt play as he has multiple receptions in three of his five games this season.
If you believe the books have this game pegged correctly, Nick Folk ($4,400 DK, $9,000 FD) is the kicker to consider. However, he's made multiple field goals in a game only twice this season and oddly has only four attempted field goals from 40 yards or more. He's 2-for-4 from that range. There's not much upside for Folk despite the implied total. Cairo Santos ($4,200 DK, $9,000 FD) has made three field goals in two separate games, but he's had one or none in three contests. He's shown more range than Folk, making all six of his attempts from 40 yards or more.
It's likely to be a low-scoring game, but this may not be a game for the DST of either the Patriots ($5,600 DK, $10,000 FD) or Bears ($4,000 DK, $9,500 FD) to shine for fantasy purposes. Both offenses are likely to rely on the ground game, mitigating chances for each defense to rack up points via sacks, fumbles, interceptions and touchdowns. If you think one team will be forced to take to the air and chase points, target the opposing defense.