Monday Night Football Matchups and Starts/Sits (Week 5)
Happy Monday RotoBallers! Another week, another Monday. But hey, at least you’re not Chris Foerster (if you haven’t caught up yet, that’s the Dolphins offensive line coach who had a video leaked doing cocaine before a team meeting).
Tonight’s matchup sends the 2-2 Vikings to Chicago to take on the 1-3 Bears, as both teams look to bounce back from division losses. The Vikings are coming off a tight, and low-scoring, 14-7 loss at the hands of Matt Stafford and the Lions, while the Bears will be happy to be home after a 35-14 shellacking in Green Bay. But it’s not all negative heading into MNF.
The Vikings hope to have Sam Bradford back under center after a Week 1 knee injury -; and if the opener was any indication, he looks as good as ever. Meanwhile, the Bears have started to re-establish the run game over the last two weeks, perhaps remembering that Jordan Howard is their best offensive weapon. Chicago are hardly world beaters, but it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Date and Start Time: Monday, October 9th at 8:30 p.m. EST
Notable Injuries and Status:
- Sam Bradford (QB, MIN) – Knee – Questionable
- Marcus Cooper (CB, CHI) – Back – Questionable
Offensive and Defensive Rankings (based on per game stats through Week 4):
Guys You’re Starting
Top Players That You Likely Have In Your Lineup
Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN)
Despite a monstrous Week 1 to start the season, everyone was quick to get off Diggs after he hauled in just two catches for 27 yards in Week 2 with Case Keenum under center. But low and behold, Week 2 was nothing but a blip on the radar for the second-year man out of Maryland (#HeATerp), who continues to take the league by storm. Following games with 173 and 98 yards respectively on an average of nine targets per, Diggs may now be getting his QB back. With or without Sam Bradford, Diggs is a high-end WR2 with WR1 potential.
Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)
Everything written above for Diggs can also apply to Thielen -; the main difference being that Thielen’s lower ceiling makes for his numbers to look more consistent week-to-week. His target count is 10, 6, 8, and 8 respectively, and his receptions are 9, 5, 5, and 5. His biggest game in Week 1 was when Bradford was around and healthy, but he has yet to find the end zone this year. Dalvin Cook‘s season-ending injury probably helps Thielen quite a bit as a possession receiver, but his lower ceiling makes him a trustworthy WR3 more than anything else. Nonetheless, he’s a perfectly fine start against a bad Bears team.
Jordan Howard (RB, CHI)
Speaking of a guy who was totally written off, Howard is seemingly back on track after he’s topped 20 touches in each of the last two weeks. The lackluster offense in Chicago and the emergence of Tarik Cohen was a legit cause for concern, but the Bears properly recognized that their best chance to stay in games was through the run game, and Howard has delivered. With three scores and strong usage numbers in the last two weeks, you’re probably not sitting Howard, but don’t expect a repeat of Week 3 either against a stout Vikings run defense.
Guys You Should Bench (if possible)
Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup
Latavius Murray (RB, MIN)
I’ll start by saying that I realize you probably didn’t use a top waiver spot or spend a bunch of FAAB dollars on Murray to sit him this week, but I have him listed here simply because I’m not willing to take the chance that he’s going to return that value just yet. He’s on record that he still isn’t 100% recovered from his offseason ankle surgery, McKinnon is going to spell him on most passing downs and potentially for goal line situations, and the Bears run defense has been surprisingly good so far this year. I’m in the minority here, but I think McKinnon is the safer option right now.
Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)
This probably goes without saying, but let’s wait to anoint Trubisky a viable fantasy option until we see what he’s got. I’m excited for him to finally get a chance to show his stuff, but I’m starting Bradford (or Keenum) over him for now.
Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?
Solid Option – Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)
I mentioned him above, but it’s no surprise that Cohen’s production has dipped since Howard as re-cemented himself as the lead back in Chicago. He’s averaging just four cathes over the last two weeks (he averaged eight in Weeks 1-2), but he still has big play ability and will undoubtedly see time both in the backfield and in the slot. Minnesota’s run defense is excellent and this is a decent matchup for Cohen, who should get a bunch of looks as a change-of-pace option.
Sleeper – Jerick McKinnon (RB, MIN)
Also mentioned above, I like McKinnon’s new situation in the Vikings backfield quite a bit (both this week and rest of season). It’s very possible that he ends up being the early down back at some point, but that’s not going to happen right away. He’s coming off a minor ankle injury that forced him to exit the Vikings Week 4 loss to the Lions, but he practiced in full this week and should be all systems go. His ceiling is probably just as high as Murray’s, and I think he has a higher floor too. He’s a FLEX play more than anything else this week, but keep a close eye on how he’s utilized.