Coming into 2019, it seemed like if there was any area of the Bears’ defense that could possibly be exploited, it was going to be in the slot. Chicago had brought in the much maligned Buster Skrine to patrol that area of the field and it was not something he had been successful doing last year. In fact, no corner in football surrendered more yards per route covered than Skrine in 2018 (2.36). However, that weakness just hasn’t come to the forefront as predicted through three weeks of action. The Bears have held Geronimo Allison, DaeSean Hamilton, and Trey Quinn to a combined 11 receptions for 70 yards. Pretty underwhelming numbers to say the least. A large part of this success has been Chicago’s overall funnelling of pass catching opportunities away from wideouts. In total, the Bears have actually only allowed 41 targets to opposing WRs - the lowest figure in the NFL.
That is not a promising trend for Stefon Diggs, a man that is already dealing with what could be properly described as a volume deficiency. Diggs, who spends a reasonable amount of snaps in the slot for Minnesota, has caught a mere six passes over the course of his team’s first three contests. Still, while its alarming that a wideout that hauled in 102 passes last season has only been targeted on 19.0% of Kirk Cousins’ attempts, its the Vikings’ complete and utter non-reliance on the passing game that is of more long-term concern. Of the quarterbacks that have started three times so far in 2019, Cousins’ 69 drop backs are the lowest mark in the league. Minnesota’s pass ratio of 38.7% is also in the basement of the NFL. Things don’t just look bleak for Diggs, they look bleak for the Vikings’ entire aerial attack.
Fantasy Impact: In a low-volume passing offense, averaging 0.17 PPR fantasy points per snap simply isn’t going to cut it. There’s a scenario here where, as a road underdog, Minnesota is forced to throw the ball from behind; but that’s not overly enticing in such a difficult matchup.