This article is part of our Showdown/Single Game DFS Breakdown series.
This is getting a bit repetitive: Would you believe that this Thursday night game does not look especially good? At the very least it looks like it should be low scoring, another repeated detail from Thursday games of recent weeks. The owners of the league's worst two fields are meeting up in the slightly better of the two stadiums, which is to say Washington is visiting the Bears. One offense barely tries to move the ball and accordingly gets the results you would expect (Chicago), while the other aspires to great ambitions only to embarrass itself endlessly. The over/under is 38 and Washington is favored by one.
Carson Wentz ($10600 DK, $17000 FD) is one weird quarterback but he has his moments, and in a single-game slate he warrants more consideration than usual. That's particularly true since the Bears have poor cornerback personnel and a mediocre pass rush. Wentz's collapses are usually provoked by a pass rush or some other source of stress, and it's not obvious that the Bears can pose such a complication. If the Bears can't rattle Wentz then his receivers should get open downfield, and Wentz can hit those targets when he's seeing straight. It's not ideal that Jahan Dotson and Logan Thomas are out, but Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel are far too good for corners like these to match in coverage.
Justin Fields ($10000 DK, $16000 FD) simply doesn't have any help and as a result can't be counted on for any particular sort of production. With that said, the Washington defense has been awful going back to last year, so this might be one of the most favorable matchups of Fields' young career to this point. The main draw with Fields is of course his rushing ability, and while Washington has contained opposing quarterbacks on the ground they also haven't seen a threat like Fields yet. Fields has at least seven carries in every game this year, and at least eight in four games. He needs to stop fumbling so much, but Fields should see stable usage in this game and has looming big-play ability that can only be hidden for so long before making a reminding appearance.
The Washington defense sold out to stop the Dallas run game two weeks ago and held Ezekiel Elliott (49 yards on 19 carries) and Tony Pollard (six yards on eight carries) to just 55 yards rushing on 27 attempts. Dallas still won in large part because Washington left itself exposed to the pass, but a repeat of this scenario would still be challenging for David Montgomery ($10400 DK, $15000 FD). On the other hand, Montgomery reminded last week that even a down game as a runner (20 yards on 12 carries) can be offset with pass-catching production, and to this point Montgomery has been a very effective receiver in 2022 (nine catches for 100 yards on 10 targets in 114 snaps). If the Bears can maintain time of possession then Montgomery can wear a defense down as a runner even if he struggles early, but Khalil Herbert ($6200 DK, $10500 FD) looms as a competent player off the bench and one who is more likely to make one big play. Trestan Ebner ($400 DK, $5500 FD) saw just one snap last week.
Brian Robinson ($6600 DK, $11000 FD) was active last week and did nothing useful (nine carries for 22 yards) but Ron Rivera and Scott Turner appear committed to the bit of pretending their problems have anything to do with Antonio Gibson ($8600 DK, $9000 FD), who is easily the best Washington running back but the one apparently liked least by Rivera/Turner. J.D. McKissic ($6400 DK, $7500 FD) gobbles up targets and seems to specialize in placing the ball for the punt team. If only unconverted third-down receptions were a fantasy point category – luckily for McKissic PPR and 0.5PPR are enough to keep his value afloat.
WIDE RECEIVERS + TIGHT ENDS
Terry McLaurin ($9000 DK, $13000 FD) and Curtis Samuel ($8200 DK, $12000 FD) are both set up great in this one, especially with Jahan Doston out and Dyami Brown ($5000 DK, $8000 FD) managing a groin injury. If Brown is in he must be taken seriously, though. The Bears corners are of dubious quality and even at their best they aren't athletic even in theory. Brown's downfield game is real, and the Bears corners get worse the further downfield they cover. It's just a little easier to imagine that benefit more so going toward McLaurin and Samuel as the superior talents of the three. Dax Milne ($400 DK, $5000 FD) could be an interesting pick, especially if Brown is limited and especially if paired with the Washington defense/special teams since Milne is Washington's returner. Cam Sims ($1400 DK, $5500 FD) is less effective than Milne but will likely play much more, because to this point Milne has mostly lined up in the slot whereas Dotson's vacated snaps mostly occurred outside. With Logan Thomas out Washington has two tight ends worth consideration: John Bates ($3000 DK, $5500 FD) and rookie Cole Turner ($200 DK, $5000 FD). Bates isn't much of a receiver but has the higher floor as the starter and a player with nine targets on his last 29 routes. The limitation with Bates is that he's a blocker more than a receiver, whereas Turner is only a receiver if anything. He might not even be that – Turner is skinny for a tight end (6-foot-7, 249 pounds) and only a slightly above average athlete at best – but Turner was a high-volume receiver at Nevada and last week he ran 20 routes to Bates' 19. Perhaps that usage changes here, but Turner looks like a great value in this matchup if his playing time holds up.
Darnell Mooney ($7600 DK, $9500 FD) is a very good receiver, and sometimes the Bears even try to throw the ball to him. Sometimes they don't, though, and even when they try competency is an issue. Still, Mooney should be open in this game, as he often is. The Washington secondary has been maybe the league's worst going back to 2021, and none of these corners can cover him. Equanimeous St. Brown ($4800 DK, $7000 FD) is the second busiest Bears receiver.... with six catches on 13 targets in 211 snaps. Dante Pettis ($1800 DK, $6000 FD) has been the WR3 for Chicago to this point but might have his role revisited soon after failing two catch a pass in four straight games, failing to even draw a target in two of them. Ihmir Smith-Marsette ($600 DK, $5000 FD) deserves more playing time at receiver even after losing a fumble as a returner last week, though it's not clear if Chicago plans to make that switch from Pettis anytime soon. Cole Kmet ($5200 DK, $7500 FD) is one of the biggest fantasy busts of the year, even as a later pick, but he could play a major role in a single-game slate. Depth tight ends Ryan Griffin and Trevon Wesco are almost exclusively blockers.
Joey Slye ($4200 DK, $8500 FD) and Cairo Santos ($4400 DK, $9000 FD) could have multiple field goals to kick in this one, as both offenses are capable of stalling out in the red zone, not to mention providing the other offense with short fields. Both kickers appear competent, with Slye offering better range, but Santos already has three 50-yard field goals on the year on three attempts, so perhaps he has improved his range somewhat after being primarily known as a reliable short-range kicker to this point in his career. While Slye might have the better leg, Santos is likely more accurate.
One or both defenses could be useful if the scoring is as low as projected, and even when otherwise moving the ball Wentz is the kind of quarterback who can turn it over more than most quarterbacks even on his best days. With that said, the Chicago ($4000 DK, $9500 FD) defense might be a bit overmatched against the pass if Wentz is at all on his game. The Bears almost never blitz, so edge rushers like Robert Quinn and Trevis Gipson will need to get to Wentz without help, especially since Chicago has no cornerback depth at all. If Quinn and Gipson can get going then Wentz could toss up a handful of turnover-worthy plays. Although he lost a costly fumble last week, anyone selecting the Bears defense might want to pair it with Smith-Marsette – Smith-Marsette has real returner ability. The Washington ($3600 DK, $9500 FD) defense has much more talent than the Bears defense but gets worse results for it – credit to Jack Del Rio. The effect of Del Rio's negligent coaching might be minimized against a low-tempo, no-threat Chicago offense, and to be fair to Del Rio, the Commanders have been a competent run defense and have shown the ability to stop the run when selling out to do so. If they sell out to stop Montgomery it's unlikely the Bears make them pay for it with the pass. The Washington returner is Milne, if investors of the Washington DST want the returner pairing.