We wrap up another electric NFL Sunday with a matchup between two teams stuck in limbo just a bit. Despite the Los Angeles Chargers giving Justin Herbert a big pay day in the offseason, the Bolts sit at just 2-4 after losing back-to-back games. They certainly need a win to keep pace in the AFC West but fortunately this seems like a very winnable game. On the other side of the ball, we have the Chicago Bears who are coming off a surprising win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7. The Bears will once again be without Justin Fields so Tyson Bagent gets the start under center. Chicago will also get Roschon Johnson back for this matchup, but we have to be cautious about how involved they’ll be given that he’s coming back from a concussion.


Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Chargers

Spread: Los Angeles Chargers (-8.5)

Over/Under: 46.0 Points

Weather: This game will be played in a controlled environment.

Notable Injuries

Chicago Bears

Los Angeles Chargers


Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

It’s not that I don’t think Justin Herbert is a viable Captain. He most certainly is. However, I don’t necessarily think he should be the most expensive player on the slate. He provides a nice 20-25 fantasy point floor. At Captain that becomes 30+ points. But I want a high ceiling in this matchup and Allen has massive performances on his resume this year. He is Herbert’s favorite target and should see plenty of volume. Allen is one of seven players in the league that touts a target share of at least 30%. However, he and Herbert have had some connection issues of late. But we know they have a rapport and can snap out of this funk with a big game in primetime in an elite matchup. The Bears defense, on paper, looks okay against the aerial attack because they’re so terrible against the run, but I view this as a get-right spot for one of the league’s best wide receivers.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Ekeler hasn’t quite been the Austin Ekeler we know in love since coming back from injury. The volume has been there as he has back-to-back starts with 15+ touches. The Bears have actually been decent against opposing running backs of late. They’ve allowed opposing running backs to rush for just 99 total yards in their last three games but mind you those games came against the Washington Commanders, Minnesota Vikings, and Las Vegas Raiders. I’m more optimistic with Ekeler and he still has involvement in the passing game. Let’s also be honest regarding Ekeler’s recent struggles, they came against the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs and those are two formidable defenses. Ekeler still generates some yards after contact and he had a 58% route participation rate in Week 7 which was still top 10 among running backs. You play him at Captain for the ceiling he showcased in Week 1 while hitting the refresh button and not dwelling on the last two performances.

DJ Moore, WR, Chicago Bears

Despite not having Justin Fields last week, DJ Moore was still treated as a WR1. Tyson Bagent got his best receiver the ball for eight receptions on nine targets. The output wasn’t great with just 54 yards, but the volume was good to see from the backup quarterback. The Los Angeles Chargers have a tremendously weak secondary. The Bolts gave up four passing touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes and Co. last week. Tyson Bagent is far from Mahomes but I also won’t scoff at him especially in this matchup. Moore had a 32% target share and 54% air yards share in Week 7 and should see similar volume in a game where the Bears could be playing catch-up. Moore has arguably a top five matchup and is a fine Captain candidate even without Justin Fields.

Joshua Palmer, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

I know I said in the last Playbook I would try and recommend more of a contrarian option at Captain with each write-up going forward. Palmer may not be super contrarian, but I don’t think he’ll see significant exposure. Now he did log back-to-back DNP’s last week so he’s clearly not 100% for this matchup. But it does seem like he’s trending toward playing. Since the Mike Williams’ injury, Palmer ranks 13th in yards per route run (YPRR) while Keenan Allen is 40th. And in that same span he’s run 43 more routes than Quentin Johnston. I also found this to be fairly telling as well…

If he’s healthy I definitely want to get exposure in this matchup. But if, for whatever reason, he’s inactive then that’s a natural bump to both Allen and Johnston, but there is growing optimism he suits up for tonight’s game.

Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays

Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

Again, you can absolutely play Herbert at Captain. But he’ll cost you 36% of your salary and it’s entirely possible one of his pass catchers pops up for a huge game as well, and they’re all cheaper than he is. Herbert has four touchdowns and four interceptions in his last three games and is averaging just about 30 pass attempts per game. I’d feel better about playing him at Captain if that number was closer to 40 attempts. The Bears can be thrown on even if we haven’t seen it the last couple games from Kirk Cousins and Brian Hoyer. I’m willing to lay claim to this hot take: Justin Herbert is better than those two. The Bears have allowed three opposing quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards and they’ve also allowed 14 passing touchdowns through seven games. Even if it’s more of a 300-yard, two-touchdown night for Herbert that’s at least 23 fantasy points on DraftKings. I personally won’t have a ton of exposure to him at Captain because I’d rather catch one of his pass catchers having a huge game and chase their upside.

Tyson Bagent, QB, Chicago Bears

Bagent is only $9,000 at the Flex which is a tremendous value for a starting quarterback. I was pretty pleased with what I saw from him last week. He completed 21-of-29 pass attempts for just 162 yards and a touchdown while adding 24 rushing yards. With a full week of prep and more familiarity with the offense, he now gets arguably the best matchup for a quarterback. The Chargers have allowed 12 passing touchdowns through six games. Even if he only throws for 150 yards and two touchdowns, he can give a little more as a Flex play with some work on the ground and if you like unnecessary rabbit holes then I recommend this one comparing the drop backs of Justin Fields and Bagent.

D'Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson, RB, Chicago Bears

I’m curious if we get a little leverage with Foreman in this spot since Roschon Johnson is returning. Foreman was phenomenal last week with three touchdowns. The Chargers have been good at keeping running backs in check on the ground, but they’ve actually yielded some pass-game production (12 receptions, 112 receiving yards, and a touchdown) to the position over their last two games. Foreman’s had at least 15 touches in each of the team’s last two games and he likely gets double-digit touches in this matchup as well, plus he had five targets last week. I’m including Roschon Johnson here because there’s obviously some intrigue especially after he had six catches in Week 1. However, he’s coming back from a concussion and I’m not entire sure they give him a heavy workload right away when Foreman’s shown he can shoulder the burden of being the lead back these last couple weeks.

Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears

I don’t love the play, but he can’t possibly be phased out two weeks in a row, right? RIGHT?! Well, he might. The Bears offensive line is a little beat up and we know the Chargers have personnel on the defensive side that can get plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It wouldn’t be surprising if Kmet was tasked with staying in-line more and blocking. This mini slump he’s in goes hand-in-hand with Justin Fields’ injury as he’s been abysmal each of the last two weeks. Typically, rookie quarterbacks, and even backups, lean more heavily on tight ends. They’re a nice, safe warm blanket of comfort across the middle. But that may not be the case tonight. I hope I’m wrong because I will get some exposure here but I’m not getting my hopes up. Against elite tight ends like Travis Kelce and T.J. Hockenson, the Chargers have been beat. But Kmet is not an elite tight end and he is likely a low floor play tonight.

Quentin Johnston, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Johnston has definitely disappointed so far in his rookie season. Even with Mike Williams’ season ending in Week 3, it’s been a struggle for Johnston to see an increased role. He has 15 targets on the year and by all accounts, any beat writer that covers the team simply says the team doesn’t think he’s ready. So I really only like him as a flex option tonight if Joshua Palmer is inactive. But with Palmer trending in the right direction, that’s not a great look for Johnston. Worth some exposure? Sure. We always want to nail a breakout performance. But at $4,800 he’s not as cheap as he should be and just doesn’t have much of a role currently. I probably prefer the savings on Donald Parham ($4,200) should Gerald Everett be ruled out. But if you read on even further there’s a sneaky tight end to target for the Chargers at just $200.

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears

Obvious risk here but we can hang our hats on the fact he caught all four targets and hogged some air yards as well from Tyson Bagent last week and if the Bears are playing catch-up in this game, then the Bears will be forced to throw more. There’s also the birthday narrative here as he turns 25 years old today so maybe they look to get him in the end zone as a gift.

Defense/Special Teams

Some of you probably know where I’m going with this. But the Los Angeles Chargers are $5,800 for Flex consideration. That’s extremely high for a D/ST. I’ve spoken my piece on D/ST’s priced up. Generally, they tend to underperform when priced over $5,500. Cody Main of Establish The Run provided this great nugget last month, and while I’ve dropped this tweet in previous Showdown Playbooks, it’s worth mentioning again…

The Chargers defense also isn’t very good. They’re price is juiced because of the matchup against a backup quarterback. They’ve been doing better with getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but overall they still bleed points and yardage. The Bears haven’t been as fruitful of a matchup for opposing D/ST’s as they were to start the year. Sans Justin Fields, they can still do damage.

On the other side of the ball, the Bears don’t really rev my engine either. The last two weeks at home they yielded a total of 25 points to the opposing offenses of the Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders. But the Raiders rolled out Brian Hoyer as their starting quarterback and the Bears picked him off three times. Justin Herbert is not Brian Hoyer. The Bolts should easily move the ball and put up points. But a pick six or a kick return for a touchdown pay massive dividends. Neither defense in this game excites me but they flip the script with a touchdown so I can’t write them off completely.


Is it just me or have kickers been priced up more than previous seasons? It’s like DraftKings doesn’t know what to do with the variance at the position. Cameron Dicker ($5,200) has only one field goal attempt in each of his last four games. That’s not great and hard to project. The good news is that the Los Angeles Chargers should effectively move the ball with ease. They shouldn’t have any trouble getting into the red zone against this defense. But you will need some offensive drives to stall if we want Dicker to get double-digit fantasy points in the flex. So if playing Justin Herbert at Captain, definitely correlate with Dicker in the flex. I’d much rather go with Dicker over the Chargers D/ST for the savings.

Cairo Santos ($4,400) provides us with $800 in salary relief off Dicker. We may actually be able to project Santos better because the Bears should be able to get the offense going even with Tyson Bagent at quarterback. Santos only has one game with double-digit fantasy points but in each of his last three games he’s returned at least eight in each, and in five of seven games this year he’s provided at least seven fantasy points. 

NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains

Darrynton Evans, RB, Chicago Bears

Evans likely won’t make too many of my lineups simply because with Roshon Johnson returning, Evans likely takes a backseat. But again, he’s still very affordable and potentially hits the optimal lineup if he can snipe a short yardage touchdown. He’s touched the ball 25 times the last two weeks, but we can’t expect double-digit touches in this game.

Tyler Scott, WR, Chicago Bears

Scott is cheap and has back-to-back games with a pair of catches. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s a Showdown slate and we need all the production we can get. We can’t really expect this again, but Scott did have some equity in air yardage last week. There’s upside at just $1,200 for a flex play. Derius Davis ($800) is a worthy pivot on the other side of the ball for the Chargers. If he gets a couple catches, he could pay off.

Stone Smartt, TE, Los Angeles Chargers

If you watched this week’s NFL DFS Show, Coop recommended Stone Smartt as a nice, cheap value play at the ripe price of $200 for a Showdown special. Smartt is a converted quarterback to wide receiver to tight end (similar to Logan Thomas) and ran more routes than Donald Parham last week. He’s a whopping $4,000 discount off Donald Parham and a ton of leverage. If he runs more routes this is a unique spot for a $200 play. Like all the other $200 plays on Showdown slates we just need a few catches for them to return value for us. Here’s a small psychological part about Stone Smartt, you have to scroll a little bit to find his name so if there are any casuals playing this slate,a they probably don’t even know who to look for as they scroll deeper into the pool. Stone might just be a diamond in the rough.