Week 15 MNF Showdown: Minnesota Vikings At Chicago Bears

by Matt Babich · Matchups Start/Sit
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Advanced stats and analytics will be utilized to identify favorable matchups and players to avoid. The purpose of this article is to paint a picture of how the teams play and matchup with one another in less than 1,000 words.

As the season continues, less emphasis will be put on last season and early season’s stats. Vegas trends will also be implemented to help predict the game flow. I’ll conclude the article with a Cliff Notes section and give the readers my prediction for the game.

Welcome to the newest edition of Monday Night Showdown. I’ll be guiding you through the important aspects to watch in each Thursday night matchup.

Without further ado, let’s get into the NFC North grudge match between the Bears and the Vikings.

Vegas Trends

  • Minnesota are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 6 games.
  • Minnesota are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games against Chicago.
  • Chicago are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Chicago’s last 12 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 13 of Chicago’s last 19 games against Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins is a top-10 QB in fantasy, and has achieved this through volume and accuracy. The Vikings high passing volume has allowed him to compile 27 (No. 5 of qualified quarterbacks) passing touchdowns. That along with his 39 (No. 1) Money Throws and 99.0 (No. 8) True Passer Rating have pushed him to 19.7 (No. 10) Fantasy Points per Game. Against a middling Bears defense that is also ripe with covid, Cousins is once again a top-10 play.

Coming back right where he left off, Dalvin Cook put up a monstrous 35.2 (No. 1) fantasy point performance against Pittsburgh. We know exactly who Cook is. He’s an elusive bell-cow back who plays a major role in the passing game, seeing 184.7 (No. 9) Weighted Opportunities and a 12.2-percent (No. 14) Target Share. You’re playing him whenever he’s active, and he should have no trouble against the Bears.

Dalvin Cook Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Justin Jefferson has been on a tear since Week 7, and looks to be a league winner with Adam Thielen ailing with an ankle injury. He is seeing an insane amount of volume, with a 28.2-percent (No. 6) Target Share and 44.1-percent (No. 1) Air Yards Share. He’s also an elite playmaker who can burn defenders deep and make plays after the catch. The Bears have added Jaylon Johnson to the reserve/COVID-19 list, raising Jefferson’s ceiling even further.

Justin Jefferson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Listed as a game time decision, Adam Thielen is unlikely to suit up as he was absent from practice all week. In his place is K.J. Osborn, who has posted a solid 16 Fantasy Points per Game and 8 targets per game in the two games since Thielen’s absence. Additionally, he’s found pay-dirt in each of the last 2 contests and is now playing nearly every snap. Facing 91st ranked Artie Burns, Osborn is a start.

Chicago Bears

We’re now witnessing the ascent of Justin Fields. He’s averaging 21.93 Fantasy Points per Game in his last 3 healthy games. Fields has shown the Konami ability to rack up yards through both the air and the ground. He currently totals 65 (No. 5) carries and 385 (No. 4) rush yards. The Bears offense has been sluggish at best this season, but last week’s explosion could have been a turning point. The Vikings give up the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks, making Field’s a locked in start.

David Montgomery is ready for another playoff surge, drawing favorable matchups for the next three weeks. He’s a bell-cow back earning 15 (No. 12) Weighted Opportunities per Game and a 11.4-percent (No. 19) Target Share. He’s not the most efficient back, but he takes advantage of his volume. Against a poor Minnesota rush defense, Montgomery is a smash RB1 play.


The target leader no one saw coming, Darnell Mooney has earned a surprisingly high 25.4-percent (No. 13) Target Share and has quickly established a rapport with Justin Fields. He’s struggled to convert his opportunity into production in the last two outings, but his fantasy output returns to normal tonight against 99th ranked Mackensie Alexander and a weak Vikings secondary.

Darnell Mooney Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

We now live in a world where Allen Robinson is less fantasy relevant than Jakeem Grant. Grant has finished with 17.65 Fantasy Points per Game over the last two games, scoring as touchdown in each of them. Robinson sees a 21.2-percent (No. 32) Target Share, but inaccurate targets have led to inadequate performances. I’m not playing Jakeem Grant, and I’m not playing Allen Robinson either.

Cole Kmet is a risky streaming option, but has desirable upside. He is seeing an 18.4-percent (No. 7) Target Share and a 24.9-percent (No. 9) Target Rate. He’s a decent option if you need a streamer in a deep league.

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Cliff Notes

Conclusion

The Bears looked better last week while putting up a fight against Green Bay, but the Vikings are still the better team. The Bears have had a couple of late additions to the COVID-list, weakening their already suspect defense. However, the spread is set at 6.5 points in favor of the Vikings. I am confident in the Vikings, but not in that number. Chicago is going to be able to move the football against this defense, and desperately needs a big win in front of their home crowd.

The point total is set at 44.5 points. Both teams have bad defenses, and Minnesota can move the football well. Chicago has shown the ability to score points versus lesser defenses, but even the Bears can put up enough points to hit a 45 points total. If the Bears score at least 20 points this game is a near-lock to go over.

Prediction: Vikings 27-24