Last week in this space I told you that you could sit Aaron Rodgers and feel good about it. Rodgers made me look like Nostradamus, as the Seahawks’ elite defense held Rodgers touchdown-less. I also told you to start the Seattle D even though it was facing an elite offense. The Seahawks D finished sixth in standard scoring. So hopefully you took my advice, and we can continue on with our winning ways this week.
This week MNF comes to us from Dallas, as the Cowboys host the Chicago Bears. Both teams are coming off impressive defensive victories. Expect more of the same this week. Chicago ranks sixth in both opponents’ passing and rushing yards, and Dallas ranks second in opponents’ passing. The Bears held Aaron Rodgers to only 10 points in Week 2 and Sam Bradford to only three points last week. The Cowboys held Eli Manning to only 12 points in Week 1 and Josh Freeman to only six points last week.
Tony Romo comes into the game with two straight unimpressive performances after an impressive Week 1. The Bears have done the best of any team defending quarterbacks so far this year, limiting them to only seven fantasy points a game. If you want to roll with Romo that’s fine, but I’d start Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub and Josh Freeman over him, as those three quarterbacks play against the Chiefs, Titans and Redskins - the second-, first- and third-friendliest defenses for quarterbacks.
Jay Cutler has eight points combined the last two weeks. The Cowboys rank seventh in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, which makes Cutler a non-start this week.
DeMarco Murray also has two straight underwhelming performances, even though he did get into the end zone last week. I would recommend benching Murray, as the Bears are the third-stingiest defense against opposing RBs; they are only allowing 3.8 yards per rush this year. But Murray should see 15-20 touches and has a good shot at getting into the end zone so go ahead and roll with him.
The Bears’ running back situation is a little murkier than the ‘Boys’. Michael Bush is not on this week’s injury report and should be good to go Monday night. Matt Forte was a limited participant in practice Friday, and will be a game-time decision Monday; the signs point to him playing, however. If you have both backs, you’re lucky, and feel free to start both as an RB2 or a flex play if they’re both playing. If you can only play one, go with Bush. If you only have Forte, find another back to start. The Cowboys are middle of the pack against running backs, allowing at least 74 rushing yards or a touchdown each week.
Miles Austin has either a touchdown or 100 yards in every game this season, and he’s been the most targeted Dallas receiver the past two weeks. Even with a tough matchup, start him. Dez Bryant hasn’t given you a good return on your investment so far, but he should continue to be a solid WR3 or flex play. Demaryius Thomas, Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston and Eric Decker are better starts this week, though. After seeing 11 targets in his explosive Week 1, Kevin Ogletree only has eight since. If you’re in a deep league and need someone with a shot at a big game, Ogletree could be your guy. With Austin and Bryant getting a lot of attention, Ogletree’s got a chance at having a good game, but don’t start him over your studs.
The offseason additions of cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have paid huge dividends for the Cowboys. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Sidney Rice and Vincent Jackson have combined for 158 yards against the ‘Boys in the first three weeks of the season. Only Cruz surpassed 50 yards in a game against the Dallas secondary. You shouldn’t bench Brandon Marshall, because he’s going to be heavily targeted. But the points will be hard to come by this week. No other Bears’ receiver is startable.
Jason Witten only has one reasonably good game this year, a 58-yard performance in Week 2. If you’ve got any other decent option, such as Kyle Rudolph or MArtellus Bennett, roll with that guy. Lower-ranked guys with favorable matchups include Owen Daniels and Jacob Tamme. I’d start any of those four over Witten.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Cowboys and Bears have been, respectively, the third- and fourth-friendliest offenses against opposing defenses. Both offenses are allowing over 10 fantasy points a game to the opposing team’s defense/special teams. The Cowboys D/ST is a good bet for several sacks and probably an interception or two. The Bears D/ST ranks first in sacks (14), tied for second in interceptions (six) and has forced four fumbles and recovered three. Both defenses are solid starts in what should be a low-scoring game Monday night.
Written by Andrew Miller exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.
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Unless otherwise noted, the following lineup and roster advice assumes a standard 10- or 12-team league with roster spots as 1 QB/2 RB/2 WR/1 RB/WR/1 TE. If I don’t mention a player it means I feel he isn’t worthy of starting in any league except very deep leagues. For advice regarding deeper leagues feel free to ask me on Twitter @44AMiller.
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