With this game pitting a pair of lower-level quarterbacks on run-based offenses against strong defenses, it obviously shouldn’t stand out to us as one of the more attractice spots on the slate (there is a reason why this game has an Over/Under below 40.0 and is one of only two games on the slate in which both teams are projected by Vegas to fall shy of three touchdowns). Because of this, rostering players from this game is hoping for one of two things: a big individual performance in a low-scoring game, or an outlier game flow that has this game shooting out.
A Big Individual Performance ::
While the “likeliest scenario” has no players from this game producing a big individual performance (especially once salary is taken into the equation), the players who have the best shot at posting such a game are as follows —
>> Allen Robinson :: Robinson should be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore, who has played well the last few weeks (slowing Amari, shutting out Mike Evans, and keeping Chark to a lower-end output), but he’ll also be the focal point of this offense, and Matt Nagy may be able to do enough to help Robinson beat the man coverage of the Saints. If this were a Showdown slate — with price factored in — Robinson would be the strongest Captain play (though this would be an ugly Showdown slate indeed).
>> Michael Thomas :: on an 11-game slate, there isn’t much justification for taking a higher-priced wide receiver against the Bears; but as we know, the relative weakness of this defense is the pass, and Michael Thomas is unguardable enough (with his role in this offense secure enough) that while a big game is unlikely, it wouldn’t be a total shock.
Behind these two, Latavius Murray would land on the list (assuming Alvin Kamara misses), though it’s obviously rare that a running back posts a raw score against the Bears worth rostering. And then it becomes a long list of players who are thin options to consider even in softer matchups with higher scoring expectations. Tarik Cohen has legitimate upside in any spot (as does Taylor Gabriel, to a lesser extent); the Saints are solid against pass-catching backs, but Cohen would be the next most likely player to hit for a “have to have it” game, followed by David Montgomery and whatever role-driven production he can find in this tough spot.
This Game Shooting Out ::
There are precious few “shootout” elements in place for this game, as both coaches would prefer to lean on their defense here, the Saints won’t work too hard to establish a vertical attack vs the Bears defense, and the Bears offense is fairly incapable of attacking vertically at the moment. But the likeliest way for this game to shoot out is for the Bears to jump out to an early lead. If that were to happen (something like a long play from Cohen plus a Bears defensive touchdown; or a touchdown to Robinson, followed by the Bears forcing a turnover and another touchdown going to Robinson — i.e., if you’re going to build a roster from this game hoping for a shootout, begin your roster betting on a scenario like that), the Saints have the minds on the sidelines to potentially find a way to catch back up within a few drives, which could reset the tone for this game by the middle of the second quarter and have both teams thinking more aggressively. This is certainly not “the likeliest scenario,” but if you were feeling drawn to this game for whatever reason, that would be the best way to build around an expectation of a shootout somehow emerging.
JM’s Interpretation ::
On an 11 game slate, no one from this game will be on my tighter builds, and I don’t expect to find any players from this game making their way onto my rosters as a whole. There are some ways that a solid score or two could emerge from this game, but slate-winners are unlikely to be found, and this game has potential to be a minefield of price-considered duds in search of that upside.
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