The Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers, two teams that have exceeded expectations thus far, will meet Sunday with each team looking to build on recent victories. The Bears came away with an ugly 20-19 triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in QB Nick Foles’ second start of the season. Tight end Jimmy Graham scored for the fourth time in five weeks, and running back David Montgomery made his fantasy owners proud with almost 19 PPR points.
The Carolina Panthers went on the road to beat the Atlanta Falcons last week, 23-16, to push their record up to 3-2 after an 0-2 start. Teddy Bridgewater was flawless against Atlanta’s barely-there pass defense, helping Robby Anderson (8-112-0) and D.J. Moore (4-93-1) register useful numbers. And running back Mike Davis continued to fill in admirably for the injured Christian McCaffrey. He racked up 149 total yards and a touchdown.
Date: Sunday, Oct. 18
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)
Bears: #23 Overall — #26 offense, #5 defense, #25 special teams
Panthers: #14 Overall — #9 offense, #23 defense, #22 special teams
Bears: +2.5, +125
Panthers: -2.5, -141
OUT: S Deon Bush (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: G Alex Bars (shoulder), S Sherrick McManis (hamstring), DT Brent Urban (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Eli Apple (hamstring), CB Donte Jackson (toe), DT Zach Kerr (toe), WR Curtis Samuel (knee)
Fantasy football start/sit advice
David Montgomery, RB, $5,800
This second-year back has not been a joy to watch by any stretch of the imagination recently. Montgomery is averaging fewer than 3 yards per game over the past three weeks and has scored just twice in five games. But a couple of things seem to be on his side for Week 6. First, the Panthers’ run defense is horrible. Second, Montgomery has seen 14 targets in Foles’ two starts after seeing nine targets in the three prior weeks. He has turned those looks into 10 catches for 60 yards.
Jimmy Graham, TE, $5,000
Most fantasy owners are just guessing who will help them the most at tight end. Graham has been a serviceable option for most of the season because of his touchdown prowess, but the Panthers have allowed just one score to the position this season. Darren Waller’s 6-45-0 performance in Week 1 stands as the best fantasy showing from any TE versus Carolina.
Mike Davis, RB, 7,000
At this point, you’d have to be positively stacked at running back to keep Davis on your bench. He has averaged 117 yards from scrimmage and 7.3 receptions over the past three games, scoring in each. McCaffrey’s return is looming, but it doesn’t look like he’ll make it this week, so Davis should be treated like an RB1 in PPR formats.
D.J. Moore, WR, $5,700
Moore took a short pass 57 yards to the house on Sunday in Atlanta. That really saved his day from a fantasy perspective, and it’s the kind of play we haven’t seen enough from him so far. His 13 targets in Week 2 look more and more like an outlier; fantasy owners will have to live with Moore making the best of his 4-7 targets each week and hope that he can break a couple off for big gains. That might be difficult this week as the Bears have allowed the third-fewest DraftKings points per game to WRs.