Coaches are weird, man.
It doesn’t matter how many years I cover this crazy game, every year I’m always blown away by how strange some coaches are because it really is incredible how often they make decisions that make their multi-million dollar jobs way harder.
And I’m not talking about stuff like analytics telling you to go for it or not; small decisions that impact games in small percentages. I’m talking, broad stroke, OVERT decisions that can alter season-long narratives and sometimes entire careers.
We haven’t even seen Will Levis for two full games and holy hell, it’s blatantly obvious he is light years better than Malik Willis. The fact he was sitting behind a third round, small school, project QB makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!
I’m not in the building, maybe he’s a complete nightmare to work with, I have no idea, but I find it hard to imagine a scenario where he’s not starting the season as the direct backup. And to be 100 percent honest, I mean, at this point in their careers, Levis from a tools perspective is a clear two steps ahead of Ryan Tannehill. I can see Mike Vrabel wanting to trust the veteran from a leadership/intangibles standpoint, sure. Again, I personally wouldn’t, but at least I get it. Willis though??? What are we doing out here, Vrabes? And here’s the thing, Vrabel’s a certified good coach!
The guys in Chicago? Not so much.
Bad teams stay bad because they are incapable of self scouting even if it reaches out and smacks you square upside your head. That’s what we have here with the Bears and D’Onta Foreman.
After seeing Foreman up close, this brain trust decided the guy they recruited in free agency wasn’t good enough to suit up, making him a healthy scratch most of the season. Then Foreman gets an opportunity and just like he did in Tennessee and Carolina, he performs admirably with all the clear markings of a quality starter. You know, the traits you saw when you decided to, again, go after him in free agency.
Foreman explodes over a 2-game stretch, averaging 4.97 ypc and 8.25 yards/rec. What does this coaching staff do? They then shove him into a FOUR back rotation. Because when you have Darrynton Evans and Travis Homer, you gotta find snaps for these guys!
Roschon Johnson has certainly shown flashes and I think he’s a better pass catcher than D’Onta but after what we saw from Foreman, how do you not make him the A-side of a two back split? And if you truly feel this low about his fit in the offense, where you are shoehorning Darrynton Evans snaps, TRADE HIM. There are plenty of teams that would’ve loved to bring him into the building given his reasonable contract. The Bills just brought in Leonard Fournette for goodness sakes.
The way the Bears are treating and utilizing Foreman is absolutely insane.
Rant over. Onto the sleepers.
Derek Carr vs CHI: the Bears allow the 4th most fantasy points per game (fppg) to QB and they’ve given up four seperate 3-TD QB games (Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jordan Love). The Bears are bottom 10 in yards, comp%, TDs and yards/att allowed. And not for nothing Carr has three consecutive games now with 300+ passing yards.
DEEP SLEEPER – Mac Jones: The NE offense is scary bad but the matchup is the best on the board. WAS allows the 2nd most fppg to QB and they just traded away two of their top DL. They’ve given up the most touchdowns to QB and the 7.9 yards/att is 4th worst. I think Mac ends up falling ass backwards into two scores.
Royce Freeman vs GB: you’re of course starting Darrell Henderson in a plus matchup but Freeman has a chance to come through this week too. GB once again is struggling vs the run, allowing the 6th most fppg to RB. They’ve allowed the 7th most rush yards per game and are bottom 10 in explosive run rate allowed.
And over his last two games Freeman is averaging a very robust 5.24 ypc (21 car, 110 yards). I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes on a bulk of the goal line work either.
Devin Singletary vs TB: Dameon Pierce (ankle) is banged up and Singletary was playing about 50% of the snaps anyways. The matchup isn’t as bad as you would think. The Bucs are about league average when it comes to ypc allowed and are 7th worst in terms of run stuff rate. Singletary, a good pass-catching option, is facing a TB team that is below league average in receptions, rec yards and completion percentage allowed to RB.
Chuba Hubbard vs IND: great matchup, IND allows the 5th most fppg to RB and are bottom 10 in rec yards, yards/tar and comp% allowed to RB. Miles Sanders sounds like he’s being held together with old gum and duct tape. Dealing with shoulder and calf ailments, Sanders technically carries no injury designation for this week but the same was true last week and he ended up playing just 12 snaps (19%) while Hubbard took home 65% of the snaps.
Brandin Cooks vs PHI: the Eagles have surprisingly allowed the 3rd most fppg to outside WR where Cooks lines up 70% of the time Philly has allowed the 2nd most rec and are tied for the 2nd most TD allowed to the outside. Cooks has collected TD in back to back games and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team completely move on from Gallup given how poorly he has played this season. Cooks has OBVIOUSLY been more productive but over the last 2 games he’s played just a bit more snaps and run a bit more routes than Gallup. Look for that gulf to widen. PHI has given up double-digit ppr games to four different outside WRs over their last three games.
Jayden Reed vs LAR: coming off his best game last week (6/4/83), Reed takes on a Rams defense that is bottom 10 in yards, rec and yards/att allowed to the slot.
Khalil Shakir vs CIN: with Dawson Knox sidelined, the Bills finally decided to be normal and stop with the “11.5” personnel and just go with three real wide receivers and obviously Shakir benefitted. Posting a 6/6/92 line, Shakir set career highs targets, receptions and yards last week. Plus it’s a solid matchup as well as the Bengals have allowed 6 TD to inside pass catchers, tied for the 2nd most in the NFL. This game has a total of 48.5 (2nd most of the weekend) potentially upping TD exposure for everyone involved.
DEEP SLEEPER – Demario Douglas vs WAS: the Commanders allow the 2nd most fppg to WR, Douglas (4.44 40, 39.5 inch vert) ran the most routes last week and has shown promise as an explosive slot player. He’s also kind of the last man standing. Kendrick Bourne is out of the season obviously but now DeVante Parker is most likely out with a concussion (hasn’t practiced all week).
Cade Otton vs HOU: the Texans allow the 3rd most fppg to TE, including the most receptions and the 3rd most yards per game to TE. Otton rarely comes off the field, is second on the team in routes run and has seen 6 tar in back to back weeks. With injuries and byes, if he does his normal thing and somehow catches a touchdown, he’s likely a top 6 TE on the week.
James Koh is the co-owner of Reception Perception, a fantasy football analyst and an award-winning journalist. He’s probably wrong, but you never know. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram or TikTok @JamesDKoh.