Monday may mark the return of David Montgomery, which could muddy things up for fantasy players. But that’s none of our concern since the two backs are likely to have a similar impact vs. the Steelers.
Harris has eclipsed the 80-yard mark in each of Pittsburgh’s last three games, logging 23-plus carries each time. Now he gets to go up against a Chicago defense that ranks 24th in rush DVOA. Seems like it’d be a massive letdown if Harris doesn’t at least match his production from Week 6 (81 yards) — his lowest mark from the Steelers’ last three games.
Opposing backfields have rushed for 80 yards with some consistency vs. Chicago this season, too. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb each did it in Week 3, then Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift combined for 82 yards on 22 carries in Week 4. Green Bay’s split backfield cruised to 135 yards on 24 rushes, only to be one-upped by Tampa Bay’s 171 yards on 30 carries — 81 on 15 by Leonard Fournette. Then there’s Elijah Mitchell, who went for 137 on 18 rushes in Week 8 vs. Chicago.
While some of those teams eclipsed 80 yards on the backs of two rushers vs. Chicago, that’s not how things work in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger and a wide receiver or two may register some yards on the ground, but Harris will almost exclusively be the one to run the ball for the Steelers.
Once again, Monday Night Football hosts a matchup between a middling team that won it’s division last season and a less-than-stellar opponent. I’m still more inclined to think the Steelers will cover, but I don’t trust them enough. Still, there’s no doubt about whether or not they’ll win. Be it David Montgomery or Khalil Herbert, Chicago has relied on its ground game this season. Unlike the Bears, the Steelers have been good against the run throughout 2021. That leaves it up to Justin Fields to figure things out. Not ideal. (At this rate, I might talk myself into the Steelers covering.)
Like in Week 8 with Chiefs-Giants, I’m pairing the favorite with the under on an elevated alternate total. And similar to Week 8, I like the under on the 39-point total for Bears-Steelers. Bears games have gone under six times in eight chances. The Steelers have gone under six times in seven chances. Pretty simple. But I want a cushion on the off-chance Pittsburgh goes off against this vulnerable Chicago defense.
Everyone is going to tell you to fade Freiermuth in DFS or sit him in your season-long league this week, despite his showing vs. Cleveland in Week 8. He may be too risky from a fantasy perspective this week, but Pittsburgh’s tight end still has something to offer.
As much as the Bears have been tough on opposing tight ends, the Browns weren’t giving up much to the position before they ran into Freiermuth and Zach Gentry. Entering Week 8, opposing tight ends had amassed 308 yards vs. Cleveland, catching 22 of the 37 passes thrown their way. Then, Pittsburgh’s pair combined for seven receptions and 83 yards on 12 targets vs. the Browns.
Freiermuth comes into MNF off of back-to-back seven-target performances (seven catches in Week 6, then four in Week 8). He’s got something going with Roethlisberger, and the Bears aren’t going to put a stop to that. They might struggle more against wide receivers and the run, but that doesn’t mean Chicago won’t put a ton of focus on either aspect of Pittsburgh’s offense. There will be opportunities for Pittsburgh’s tight ends, and Roethlisberger has shown Freiermuth is the one he prefers of two at that position.
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