Last week the Bears underperformed offensively against a statistically poor Cardinals defense and barely scraped by with a 16-14 win. This season, Jordan Howard has been the most reliable player in fantasy football. Outside of the starting running back, consistency is severely lacking. Mitchell Trubisky is going through growing pains as a starter and it’s shown in the production of his receivers.
However, it’s a new week and there’s always room for improvement. In Week 4, the Bears host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick. The former Harvard student is breathing life into the Bucs’ offense and it’s sheerly a spectacle. Their defense, on the other hand, hasn’t been great. There’s a great chance for some solid fantasy performances to come from this matchup.
Start of the Week: Allen Robinson
The Buccaneers’ secondary has been atrocious this season. Fitzpatrick has been in a shootout in three straight weeks, no thanks to the defense. This team is allowing 362.67 passing yards per game, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the most in the NFL. This is the week for Trubisky to win with his arm and Robinson will be his go-to receiver.
Tampa Bay has been shredded by each team’s top receiver each of the last three weeks. On average, the leading receiver facing the Bucs’ secondary has accounted for 11 receptions and 128 yards. They have also allowed seven touchdowns on the young season, six in the last two weeks.
Look for Robinson to follow this trend and have a solid fantasy day this week, even with Trubisky throwing him the ball.
Eight catches, 108 yards and one touchdown
The Chicago Bears’ starting tight has seen a steady rise in production each week. Against the Cardinals, Burton more than doubled his receiving yards for the season. Like the rest of the Chicago pass-catchers, Burton faces a soft Tampa Bay secondary and could be in for a strong performance as long as his quarterback plays well.
Matt Nagy has stressed the importance of improving in the red zone offensively. Nagy wants to score touchdowns, not field goals, and Burton can provide that boost. The versatile tight end can win in a variety of one-on-one situations against opposing defensive players. I suspect the first-year head coach will continue to dial up plays for Burton near the goal line to help his inexperienced quarterback.
Six catches, 62 yards and one touchdown
The third-year running back has been Mr. Consistency for the Bears in terms of fantasy production. Howard has carried the ball 53 times for 178 yards, but has averaged a measly 2.5 yards per carry over the last two games. However, his floor has lifted thanks to his increased role in the passing game. The 225-pound workhorse has caught 10 passes for 78 yards on the season. Thanks to his touchdown last week against the Cardinals, Howard averages just under 14 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues.
This week he faces a tough matchup against a stingy Buccaneers run defense. The Bucs’ front seven, led by Gerald McCoy, has allowed the third fewest rushing yards to opposing offenses this season. Howard will be very touchdown-reliant this week, but the offense should have no issue throwing the ball down the field. The Bears’ running back has boom-or-bust potential in Week 4, so don’t expect a dominating performance unless he finds the end zone.
68 rushing yards, one touchdown
3 receptions, 26 yards
The Chicago Bears’ defense has been nothing short of dominant. Khalil Mack’s presence has uplifted this unit to new heights under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Their excellent play has also contributed to the development of Trubisky because he doesn’t have to win games all on his own. That being said, when Tampa Bay comes into Chicago with “Fitzmagic”, Mike Evans and Desean Jackson at their disposal, it could be a tough week.
Last week against the Steelers, Fitzpatrick became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 yards in three straight games. The journeyman signal caller is on a roll thanks to Jameis Winston’s suspension and there are no signs of it stopping yet. The Bucs’ lead the league in yards per game this season and average 34 points per contest. This game may very well turn into a shootout between the developing youngster and the wily veteran. It’ll be up to the Chicago offense to help the defense this week, keeping momentum away from the Buccaneers. We’ll see if Trubisky is up to the challenge.
359 yards allowed, 27 points allowed, two takeaways