Game Predictions & Player Projections - CHI vs. DAL

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: CHI 17, DAL 23 (Line: DAL by 5)

UPDATE: Jay Cutler hasn't practiced this week and is doubtful to play.Bian Hoyer gets the start as expected. Alshon Jeffery was limited on Wednesday, held out on Thursday and then was limited again on Friday because of a sore knee. He is still expected to play despite being listed as questionable. But this is a late game on Sunday and his playing status won't be certain until later in the day. I am lowering his projections slightly.

The Bears sink to 0-2 and even worse did that at home on Monday night against an Eagles team sporting a rookie quarterback. The Cowboys return home after notching their first win of the year thanks to the accommodating Redskins who finally made the Cowboys offense look as good as hoped. The Bears are already having a tough season and may not have their starting quarterback. This is the late game on Sunday night.

Chicago Bears

1 @HOU 14-23 10 @TB ---
2 PHI 14-29 11 @NYG ---
3 @DAL --- 12 TEN ---
4 DET --- 13 SF ---
5 @IND --- 14 @DET ---
6 JAC --- 15 GB ---
7 @GB --- 16 WAS ---
8 MIN --- 17 @MIN ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Allen Robinson II 6-100,1
WR Kevin White 4-30
TE Trey Burton 4-40
TE Zach Miller 4-40

Pregame Notes: The Bears are already struggling on offense and while playing in Houston is always tough, they made the Eagles look much better than they are. The rushing effort has been horrible and the only receiver of any note is Alshon Jeffery who has yet to score. With only one passing touchdown, this offense run by the promoted quarterback coach Dowell Loggins is not nearly as good as it was in 2015. Having Jay Cutler already sacked eight times is a sign that the offense is not going to turn around quickly if at all with an offensive line that is no better than last year.

QUARTERBACK : Jay Cutler left the Monday night game with an injury to his throwing hand but he was throwing ducks long before that injury. I will assume he can play this week and update later if needed. Brian Hoyer is not that much worse, but that is not a compliment. This passing offense has declined to little more than pitch-and-catch with Alshon Jeffery. Cutler sustained ligament damage to his thumb so I am holding him out of the projections for now and assuming Hoyer takes the start.

RUNNING BACK : On the plus side, Jeremy Langford scored in both games so far. That concludes the plus side. Langford has 28 carries for 85 yards for a 3.0 yard average. Worst yet, he has only three catches for 12 yards total as the Bears have completely abandoned using the backs as receivers. Jordan Howard finally had playing time on Monday night after Ka'Deem Carey left with a hamstring strain. The rookie gained 22 yards on three carries and that's astronomic compared to what has been happening in the backfield. Langford also lost a fumble. The lack of receptions kills the fantasy value here since there are not enough carries (or good blocking) to matter much as a rusher. Langford's touchdowns are just fortuitous since the Bears ended up near the goal line.

I'm not projecting for Howard but he makes a reasonable deep speculative pick as a free agent.

WIDE RECEIVER : Alshon Jeffery gets the exact same six or seven targets that Eddie Royal and Kevin White do but he does more with them. Jeffery totaled over 95 yards in both games while no other wideout has more than 57 yards. Royal scored once in the season opener. But the passing stats are meager and there is not enough to share for the wideouts to spawn fantasy value outside of Jeffery. Kevin White is turning in three or four short catches per week but should improve as the season progresses.

TIGHT END : Zach Miller is up to four catches for 33 yards in a game. That may be his ceiling.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is not a place to expect a turnaround. Langford is already losing snaps and carries and the Cowboys have not allowed more than 75 yards to any runner. There is a chance that Langford could score if, once again, someone else gets near enough to the endzone to allow a short run for a score. But he'll so well enough to produce moderate stats and has a better shot at a worse game than a better one.

Hoyer is a capable quarterback and is not likely to be a difference maker or a liability. Alshon Jeffery is the only receiver that merits a start this week and likely any week at current rate. But even he will do well enough to produce average yardage since Odell Beckham was held to only 73 yards on four catches in Dallas in the opener.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 31 29 22 29 32 10
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 21 12 19 29 12 8

Dallas Cowboys

1 NYG 19-20 10 @PIT ---
2 @WAS 27-23 11 BAL ---
3 CHI --- 12 WAS ---
4 @SF --- 13 @MIN ---
5 CIN --- 14 @NYG ---
6 @GB --- 15 TB ---
7 BYE --- 16 DET ---
8 PHI --- 17 @PHI ---
9 @CLE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Dak Prescott 240,1
RB Ezekiel Elliott 100,1 2-10
WR Tavon Austin 5-50
WR Cole Beasley 6-70
WR Amari Cooper 5-100
WR Allen Hurns 5-80,1

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys got their first win and taking it in Washington made it all the sweeter. This week will be the lightest matchup of the year and a chance for things like passing touchdowns or even the elusive 100 rushing yard game to happen. Dak Prescott is still only holding the seat warm for Tony Romo but gaining a lot of fans in the process as Romo will discover the first time he makes a mistake. The defense is playing solid enough that the Cowboys are remaining competitive since they haven't had any mistakes like turnovers yet. This will be the second home game for the two rookies and all those initial butterflies should no longer be an issue.

QUARTERBACK : Dak Prescott still has yet to throw a touchdown but at least he rushed in one last week on his only run in the game. He also passed for 292 yards in Washington which was basically a repeat of Week 1 only with Dez Bryant finally included. Prescott is not making a huge difference in scoring or yardage yet, but he has not been a liability which is almost all you can hope for from a rookie starting his initial games.

RUNNING BACK : Ezekiel Elliott scored for the second week in a row and he was more effective with 83 yards on 21 carries. But he only caught two passes for four yards and lost a fumble and did not play afterwards. Alfred Morris scored once but only ran for seven yards on five carries and that was with the extra motivation of facing his old team. Elliott will remain the workhorse but has to be more secure with the ball. He has an excellent chance at a big game this week.

WIDE RECEIVER : Dez Bryant zoomed back to the forefront with 12 targets for seven catches and 102 yards last Sunday. That was double what any other receiver had and signals he's safe to start at least when the Cowboys are not facing a top defense - which is not happening this week. Cole Beasley has evolved into the de factor #2 wideout with 13 catches for a team high 140 yards on the season. Terrance Williams never had a pass last week and now share the same space as Brice Butler by being forgotten players in the passing game. While nothing has been said, it is interesting that Williams was blanked the next week after failing to go out of bounds at the end of the Giants game.

TIGHT END : Jason Witten cooled down from his 9-66 start to the season when he only ended with three catches for 51 yards in Washington. He only had four targets and Geoff Swaim has started to show up each week with a catch or two.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bears could be tired after Monday night and now a road game. They could be dispirited as well from starting out 0-2 with no reason to expect a quick turnaround. Elliott should be a very strong start here against the team that gave up 106 yards to Lamar Miller and that Ryan Matthews just scored twice on. Elliott is joined by Dez Bryant as must starts and the Bears secondary on the road is nothing special. Witten is a consideration since the Bears have yet to face any team with a receiving tight end and yet gave up 49 yards and a score to Trey Burton last Monday.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 27 15 29 7 4 20
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 10 14 11 21 32 29

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