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Cashing in on Bears and Giants

Whether it's fantasy football or at the betting window the Bears and Giants game presents winning opportunities.

Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney have been flops in fantasy football to date. Cole Kmet laughed at Halas Hall last week and said he doesn't want to hear about fantasy football.

David Montgomery delivered in Week 2 with 122 yards but no touchdowns, so his impact was slight.

And then along came Khalil Herbert.

The Bears backup running back had the benefit of good blocking, a Houston defensive approach which left areas exposed against the run, and his own great sense for finding holes. The Bears had a 157-yard rusher who scored two touchdowns.

Herbert starts this week and Sports Illustrated's Michael Fabiano ranks him the eighth best back to start in fantasy this week.

The only problem for fantasy owners was probably less than half of leagues had a team with Herbert on their roster last week and almost no one would have had him in the lineup. Yahoo Sports fantasy ball leagues reported Herbert was only on about half its rosters last week.

Dennis Clausen of RotoBaller said: "Managers must start him in all fantasy setups without thinking twice about it."

So a rush for Herbert occurred this week and it made sense because the extent of Montgomery's ankle injury is unknown. 

Montgomery didn't practice at all this week, so it can't be a good sign for an immediate return in Week 5.

Of course Herbert should be starting, because the Giants are allowing 138 yards rushing a game.

The Bears and fantasy football owners can be at peace with each other again. If defenses overplay to stop Herbert, perhaps Fields and the passing game can get into gear.

Here's who to start and who to sit for Sunday's matchup in New Jersey, and also how to play this game at the betting window.

Fantasy Football Preview

Start 'Em

1. RB Saquon Barkley

Even when he's been stopped this year, Barkley has been productive. He had 81 yards and a touchdown plus 45 yards on four receptions in the loss to the Cowboys. Don't be fooled by the Bears' run defense based on a game when the Texans gained 92 yards against them. They had been run on for 70 yards in the first half before Houston gave up on the run after a few excellent tackles and a third-down TFL in the red zone by Roquan Smith. That run defense the Bears had in Weeks 1 and 2 is still out there somewhere and Barkley should be able to exploit it.

2. RB Khalil Herbert

Having put what he can do on film for all to see, it's safe to say defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will come after him with whatever the Giants can put together in exotic looks and run blitzes. Still, the wide zone blocking scheme can work against such looks if they get the blitzers caught up in the traffic.

At Your Own Risk

3. WR Kenny Golladay

This would be my secret play of the day. Golladay has a history of torching the Bears from his Detroit days. Because the Bears rarely blitz and their pass rush has been marginal, it's certain there will be some chances from the pocket for Daniel Jones. Expect Golladay to be the beneficiary.

4. TE Cole Kmet

One way to combat blitzing defenses is finding the hot reads or shorter targets. Kmet as a blocker is more involved in the running game but he could be the outlet receiver for Fields against blitzes and take advantage with yards after the catch.

5. QB Daniel Jones

Jones is not an awful quarterback and had a great start against the Texans. His offensive line is another matter. But the Bears haven't had the most ferocious defensive front, and it's only logical to expect the Giants will be able to strike for at least a few decent gains in the passing game. He has been especially good at finding little-known Richie James.

6. WR Richie James

The Bears are using three rookie cornerbacks and got away with it against Houston. The Giants are no better equipped with receivers than Houston but they do have Barkley gaining big chunks on first down, which lets them keep the chains moving. It allows receivers like James to make receptions. Expect Bears problems covering James and Golladay at some point in the game.

Sit 'Em

7. Justin Fields

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. And if you get fooled a third time and play Fields then you're probably not making your fantasy playoffs.

8. Darnell Mooney

Mooney looked frustrated after last week's game catching passes from a JUGS machine after the game. He had dropped a short throw in the game when he could have picked up big yardage, considering the way his blocking had formed on the play. He hasn't been a factor and with Fields struggling this is no time to expect he will be. Besides, if Martindale does unleash the blitz against Fields, the Bears QB is not going to be able to be selective with targets and look for his primary guy. 

9. Velus Jones Jr.

It's his debut in the NFL after an injury. He hasn't practiced much with just one full practice since mid-August. And he's coming off a hamstring injury, so he's sure to be a bit slowed and cautious. Besides all of that, Jones has only been in one preseason game and didn't look impressive on offense in that one.

Defense

Both of these defenses would be nice choices overall in a standard league because neither offense figures to score many points. However, both have struggled against the run and that can keep it from being the kind of dominant performance a fantasy owner would want from their team defense. If owners have an alternative defense to these two, it would be better to look at it because of these teams' run-stopping deficiencies.

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In an IDP league, Roquan Smith looks to have figured out what his role is in this Tampa-2 scheme and could play a bigger role going forward.

Considering the Bears' inexperience at tackle, it could be a week for owners of IDP leagues who have Kayvon Thibodeaux to get him into the lineup.

Best Bears Bets

The Spread and Total

The Line: Giants by 3 (Over/under 39 1/2) (SI Sports Book)

BearDigest Record: 2-1 straight up, 2-1 ATS, 1-2 against the total.

BearDigest Pick: Giants 19, Bears 17

For the Bears to win this game, it requires keeping Barkley below 100 yards. If he starts getting loose early, the Bears will have a difficult time playing catch-up on the road even if they think they are in better shape because of the HITS principle. The Giants will be able to go play-action then, and even a poor group of receivers can look effective when the opposition is worried about Barkley.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven