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Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Buccaneers vs. Bears

Which Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears should you start or sit in fantasy football this week?

We're at the point of the season where bye weeks (or a lack thereof) can either make or break your fantasy football lineups. Fortunately for fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears, both teams are active this week and can help you win your matchups.

Sports Illustrated Fantasy is here to help you navigate each week with start and sit recommendations, and by its observations, the outlet believes Sunday's game between Tampa Bay and Chicago will feature a handful of valuable fantasy matchups.

You can find each Buccaneers vs. Bears start and sit suggestion below. For players without a breakdown provided by SI Fantasy (those evaluations are block-quoted), AllBucs has its own analysis to offer.

Full SI Fantasy start/sit recommendations

Start 'Em

Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette: Fournette has become the top option in the Buccaneers backfield, as he’s seen a 39 percent touch share and scored nearly 70 combined points over the last three weeks. The Bears have been tough on running backs overall, but four have scored 15-plus fantasy points against them over their last three games. At this point, Fournette is back to being a virtual must-start.

Bears WR Darnell Mooney: Mooney got into the end zone last week, and he appears to be the favorite target of Justin Fields when the Bears throw the football. This week he's a risk-reward flex option as Mooney will face off against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed seven touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. With six teams off, Mooney is worth a look.

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Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown: Brown has posted 23 receptions for 280 yards and three touchdowns in the past three weeks, solidifying himself as the Bucs' most consistently dependable receiver among the team's big three. Head coach Bruce Arians revealed that Brown is currently dealing with an ankle injury, though, putting his status in question against the Bears. This will be a situation to monitor.

Update: Brown was ruled out against the Bears on Friday.

Bears TE Cole Kmet: So long as Tampa Bay is without linebacker Lavonte David, who didn't practice on Wednesday and missed last week's game with an ankle sprain, Kmet is a sensible start. Linebacker Devin White has struggled in coverage throughout the year while Kmet has seen his target share increase with Justin Fields at quarterback.

Buccaneers D/ST: Currently down to a third-string running back, starting a rookie quarterback and ranking last in the NFL in yards per game, the Bears' offense is struggling to produce fantasy relevancy. Going up against the league's top rushing and middle-of-the-pack scoring defense is a bad matchup for Chicago.

Sit 'Em

Bears QB Justin Fields: Fields has locked in the starting job in Chicago, but he’s simply not a startable asset in fantasy leagues. He scored 13.3 points last week, and that’s the most he’s produced in a single game in four starts. So while the Buccaneers defense has been bad against quarterbacks, Fields hasn’t done enough as a passer to warrant consideration as a starter in traditional fantasy formats.

Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate: Despite Rob Gronkowski's prolonged absence with an injury, the Bucs have resorted to Brate and O.J. Howard to produce at tight end. Neither has been a consistent factor within the offense, but Howard gained some momentum against Philadelphia a week ago with his first touchdown grab since Week 4 of the 2020 season. If you're in need of a tight end, opt for Howard over Brate at this point.

Bears D/ST: The Bears defense might rank in the top 10 in fantasy points after six weeks, but it’s still a matchup-based unit. This week, Chicago faces Tom Brady and a Buccaneers offense that has averaged 32.5 points and 426 yards of total offense. Tampa has also committed just six giveaways.

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.