Monday night features a matchup of two NFC North teams that are very similar despite their records. Minnesota is at 3-5, and Chicago is more of a 3-5 team despite their 5-4 record to this point. The Bears have lost each of their last three games and have scored just 50 points in those three contests combined. Minnesota comes in winners of their last two by leaning on the running ability of Dalvin Cook, who has back-to-back games of over 200 total yards. Look for Minnesota to establish the run early and for the Bears to do their best to neutralize Cook and control the clock the best they can in a game that should be a defensive battle.
The Minnesota offense is one of those old school, smash-mouth offenses, and the focal point is Dalvin Cook. Over his last two weeks, Cook has seen at least 24 touches in each contest. The Vikings have faced two NFC North opponents over their last two games. Against Detroit last week, Cook had 22 carries for 206 yards and two touchdowns while catching two passes for 46 yards. Against the Packers, Cook went off for 163 rushing yards on 30 carries for three touchdowns and also caught two passes for 63 yards and a score. Spoiler alert: Cook will be my most heavily used player in the captain's spot.
The Bears passing game has been inconsistent, and that's putting it nicely. One constant throughout, though, has been Allen Robinson. Robinson has seen seven or more targets in all but one game this season and has topped 70 receiving yards in six of his seven contests. The former Jaguar has a 24 percent target share and is fifth among receivers with 913 air yards, and is third in completed air yards with 559. Just as the Vikings' offense runs through Cook, the Bears offense runs through Allen Robinson, especially with David Montgomery out.
Nick Foles will deliver the ball or attempt to do so to Robinson and the other receivers for the Bears. By now, you know that Foles has taken over for Mitch Trubisky, and this is a good matchup for him to exploit. The Vikings allow 288 passing yards per game, which is 30th in the league, and Foles has attempted 40 or more passes in five of his six games. With the injury to Montgomery, look for the Bears to be forced to throw the ball a bit more than they'd like to.
NOTE: All are worth considering as captain's plays.
With Dalvin Cook being on such a roll and considering how involved he is in the offense, it would be crazy not to look at him as the top play as captain tonight. Of course, he comes at a cost (DK $20,400) but with some of the value available, rostering Cook isn't as tough as you may think. Nick Foles will have to throw the ball as I mentioned above, and while Robinson could be the captain, Foles comes in cheaper (DK $14,700) than Robinson (DK $16,200).
RB Lamar Miller, CHI (DK $200)
The Bears have brought Miller up from their practice squad with the injury to David Montgomery will keep him out for this game. How many touches Miller will get is anyone's guess, but I assume that Chicago wouldn't have brought him up to the active roster if they weren't going to use him. However, this is Matt Nagy we're talking about, so anything is possible. Unless any more news comes out before game time, I would tread lightly with Miller and treat him just like any other value/punt play with some upside.
WR Justin Jefferson, MIN (DK $8,600)
The Bears have been incredibly stout against the pass with their outside cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson, who do play sides. Jefferson will likely see more of Johnson than he would see Fuller, but neither is a cakewalk. The interest I have here in Jefferson starts with his salary, which at just $8,600 is $1,400 less than his teammate Adam Thielen. Jefferson has displayed the big-play ability that the Vikings had with Stefon Diggs, and if/when the Vikings need to throw, he is their deep threat averaging 18.4 yards per reception.
WR Darnell Mooney, CHI (DK $6,600)
Mooney has emerged as a receiving target opposite of Robinson with some big-play ability. The rookie has seen 11, 6, and 7 targets in his last three games and has two touchdowns on the season. Chicago is committed to Mooney in this offense as he's run at least 42 routes in each of his last three games. In a game that the Bears will need to air the ball out more than likely, Mooney could be a factor opposite of Robinson.
Other FLEX plays
- TE Jimmy Graham, CHI (DK $7,200)
- Vikings Defense, (DK $3,000)
- QB Kirk Cousins, DK ($10,200)