While it's true the Bears have always been a fantasy football owner's nightmare, much more is expected offensively of this team in 2021 whether it's Andy Dalton at quarterback or Justin Fields.
Expecting it this week is the problem.
Trying to project anything off of the Week 1 matchup for the Bears offensively in fantasy ball remains difficult because the Rams had the best defense last year and third-best run defense. The Rams did lose key personnel like Michael Brockers, but had the depth for such losses and also have replaced some players.
The only real question is whether their defense can be as effective with Raheem Morris as defensive coordinator rather than Brandon Staley.
Like the Bears, the Rams have the potential for a better offense because of Matthew Stafford. However, it's rare when a free agent quarterback steps in with a new team and does what Tom Brady did last year.
The reason for this is a new offense, new receivers and new surroundings often lead to an adjustment period.
It's also reasoned that Stafford played with such bad Detroit teams in the past he should automatically explode playing in the offense of Sean McVay with good weapons all around. Anyone who would rather have the Rams' current receivers over Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson needs a refresher course in football 101. Stafford always had good receivers in Detroit and usually had a decent pass-blocking line, but almost never had a complementary running game or defense behind him.
The Rams have these.
Here is the fantasy outlook for Sunday Night Football:
Play them without hesitation
Rams WR DeSean Jackson
None of the Rams wide receivers have consistently hurt the Bears in recent years but throughout a long career Jackson has done it, and it's often been the secondary receivers who do the damage for L.A. against the Bears defense. Jackson has had a few 100-yard games in the past against the Bear with other teams. He's 34 but still fast enough that the Bears might have brought him if they had the money. He got $4.5 million, while the Bears obtained their receiver speed the bargain-basement way.
Rams RB Darrell Henderson
The key in this series has been the rushing game. The team running for the most yards wins. It's pretty simple. The Bears normally would be every bit as stout as the Rams against the run, if not more. But they were decidedly less effective with Bilal Nichols and other players manning nose tackle when Eddie Goldman opted out last year. And now, a year later Goldman is out again with an ankle injury. The Rams should challenge the Bears run defense consistently.
Bears RB David Montgomery
What Montgomery might not gain in rushing yards in this game, he could bring in receiving yards and receptions. The Bears found value in him as a receiver last year and he looked capable of even more than 54 receptions. One other thing to consider is Andy Dalton has tons of experience trying to make up deficits over the years as a losing quarterback. He is a master at piling up yardage and occasionally points against softer coverage after his team has fallen behind. And he's adept at dumping it off to the running backs or tight ends for the easy yardage underneath. Montgomery should benefit with his totals going up, even if the catches mean little in the grand scheme of things other than fantasy points.
Rams QB Matthew Stafford
Even if Stafford is a bit slowed by unfamiliarity with the offense, he has played countless times against this Bears defense and knows when to get rid of it against them. Look for Stafford's consistency numbers to be down a bit but some big plays against inexperienced Bears secondary member should up his TD pass total.
Think Twice About It
Bears WR Allen Robinson
It would be easy to put Robinson in the same category as Montgomery, as a player who could pile up numbers in this one after the Bears face a bigger deficit and are trying to catch up. However, Jalen Ramsey has owned Robinson in the two games they've played with eight catches for 85 yards but 42 of the yards came on a completion after the Bears were out of it last year. Ramsey doesn't just stay at right cornerback. He moves around the formation to follow the best receiver as a lockdown corner.
Bears WR Darnell Mooney
Mooney received plenty of attention on social media for video of how badly he faked out Ramsey in the game last year before being overthrown by Mitchell Trubisky. Defenses didn't know as much about Mooney last year and will adjust to include him more prominently in their coverage plans, especially good defenses like the Rams have. Darius Williams has made great progress as a Rams cornerback and they think of him as capable of covering players like Mooney.
Rams TE Tyler Higbee
He's never had any success against the Bears and the middle of the field belongs to Roquan Smith now.
- A non-IDP league choice always has to be the Rams defense because they ranked No. 1 overall last year and third against the run. The Bears had been an automatic but don't punch that button right away without seeing how they respond to Sean Desai's new style and how Desai responds to being a coordinator.
- In an IDP league, you'll never go wrong with Smith. The best bets are inside linebackers who make tons of tackles. They're going to get other stats, as well. Smith will stack all of these in this season.
- Khalil Mack always rates high in prime-time games with 11 sacks in 13 games and eight forced fumbles.
- Ramsey has had good success against the Bears, including an interception last year. Aaron Donald has had only one strong game, although his presence is always felt. Much like with Mack, the offensive line focuses so much energy on stopping him that other players like Leonard Floyd have piled up better stats against the Bears.