This week, Thursday Night Football features two division rivals with explosive offenses. The Bears showcased their new ‘three-headed monster’ to the tune of 41 points against the Colts last week, while the Packers were held at bay by a stingy 49ers defense. We have a feeling that this matchup will feature a lot of yards and points, both of which bode well for fantasy owners.
Chicago @ Green Bay
When the Bears have the ball…
- Brandon Marshall: Marshall did not disappoint his preseason hype. His new uniform brought about a physicality and explosion that was not always present in Miami. His chemistry with Jay Cutler will continue to result in a high number of targets this week.
- Jay Cutler: In the last two seasons, Cutler has thrown at least one interception in every game against the Packers. However, this game could be a shootout which will allow Cutler to make up for any points he might lose to a turnover or two.
- Matt Forte/Michael Bush: Forte was very impressive last week, even though he did not put up overly strong numbers. His size and speed combination allow him to run inside and outside, while still being extremely effective in the passing game. Look for Forte to have a big game this week. As for Bush, his lack of involvement within the offense, outside of the redzone, makes him rely too much on touchdowns for fantasy relevance. That’s simply too risky for us to feel confident about.
- Other Bears Wide Receivers: Alshon Jeffrey has been impressive this preseason with his development as a wide receiver. His big frame and leaping ability down the field makes him a good complement to Marshall. However, Jeffrey, along with any other Bears wideouts, should remain on your bench until we can generate more certainty within this passing attack.
When the Packers have the ball…
- Aaron Rodgers: In last year’s matchups, Rodgers completed 73.1% of his passes while throwing for 580 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Bears are so disciplined on defense, especially with their coverages, that Rodgers should be in line for a big game. He knows where defenders are going to be.
- Cedric Benson: Last week against the Colts, the Bears defense showed a 2-high safety look on 53.7% of snaps the Colts had with 3 or more WRs. While we don’t anticipate Benson seeing 20+ carries, the Packers play out of so many three and four wide receiver sets that Benson should be effective running against fewer defenders in the box.
- Greg Jennings/Jordy Nelson: If Jennings can go, and his healthy, he is in position for a big game. He has gone for over 95 yards in 3 of his last 4 games against the Bears. If he cannot go, we feel Nelson can safely assume the #1 role. When Jennings didn’t play against the Bears last year, Nelson had 6 catches for 115 yards and 2 TDs.
- Other Packers Wide Receivers: Jermichael Finley will continue to be a focal point within the offense and a redzone threat. James Jones and Randall Cobb are explosive players, but also receive an inconsistent amount of targets. We would feel more comfortable playing these guys if Jennings cannot go, but understand there is a risk in doing so.