Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season wraps up with Monday Night Football as the Chicago Bears play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits and DFS plays for Monday night action.
QB Justin Fields — Bears head coach Matt Nagy missed last week’s game with COVID-19 and Fields had far and away his best day as a pro, going 19-of-27 passing for 175 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Fields also nearly doubled his season-long rushing totals, carrying the ball 10 times for 103 yards and 1 touchdown en route to the No. 5 fantasy QB finish. Nagy’s back for Week 9 though so it’s anyone’s guess as to how Fields will be asked to play. The rookie signal caller has had issues holding the ball too long, which will be a problem as the Steelers are No. 3 in QB pressure rating (28.6%). Their secondary has a middling 31 passes defended and just 2 interceptions though. Fields remains a volatile QB2.
WRs Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney — This may be the week to fire up Robinson. Mooney suffered a groin injury mid-week but is expected to play. Robinson is running almost half of his routes lined up in the slot and Pittsburgh solution to slot CB Mike Hilton’s off-season departure has been an ineffective platoon of sorts. Neither player can be trusted to finish inside the position’s top-36 but Robinson does draw DFS appeal.
WR Marquise Goodwin — Saw some early-season usage but that’s nearly dried up at this point.
WR Damiere Byrd — Not fantasy relevant.
TE Cole Kmet — Kmet has quietly seen target totals of five, six, and six over the last three weeks and the Steelers’ TE defense hasn’t been anything to write home about this year. Kmet is a viable TE1 streaming option and should be deployed in DFS.
RBs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert — Montgomery is expected to start tonight and really shouldn’t be at risk of re-injury after his month-long absence. He’s only an RB3 this week though. Pittsburgh’s run defense is No. 8 in NEFF run defense rating and they’re allowing just 17.1 .5PPR RB PPG, 5th fewest. Herbert has played exceptionally well in Montgomery’s absence and should remain a top-36 RB play at least for Week 9.
QB Ben Roethlisberger — Bears front-seven defenders Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn are back at full strength but Chicago will still be missing edge rusher Khalil Mack and FS Eddie Jackson is doubtful to play after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 8. Roethlisberger’s floor is very high and his WRs may actually carry him into the QB1 ranks this week. Roethlisberger is perhaps the best Monday Night Football MVP in DFS play.
WRs Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Ray-Ray McCloud III— Bears perimeter CBs Kindle Vindor and Jaylon Johnson, along with starting slot CB Duke Shelley are all top-25 in receiving yards allowed, per PFF.com. X-receiver Johnson and Z-receiver Claypool can confidently be started as fantasy WR2s. McCloud is as fantasy relevant as he’ll ever be this week. Shocking as it may sound, even McCloud should be ranked ahead of stud Bears receiver Allen Robinson. McCloud is a high-end WR4.
WR James Washington — Rotational downfield receiver Washington is a DFS contrarian play only.
TE Pat Freiermuth — Freiermuth has seen seven targets come his way in consecutive games and Eric Ebron (ankle) was only out for one of them. Freiermuth is separating from him. Regardless, Ebron has already been ruled out for Week 9, which solidifies Freiermuth’s status as a high-floor TE1.
RB Najee Harris — As mentioned above, the Bears’ front-seven will be the healthiest it’s been in some time but the loss of edge rusher Mack is still devastating. With the Titans’ Derrick Henry on Injured Reserve, Harris is now the “RB touch king“, with 165 to his name. Treat Harris and his monstrous workload as a safe RB1 this week.
RB Anthony McFarland Jr. — McFarland played the second-most backfield snaps in his first game back from Injured Reserve. He’s the primary bellcow backup in Pittsburgh.