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Defenses and Dragons: Fantasy players to watch in Lions-Bears

There’s not a lot to like about Chicago.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, Defenses and Dragons will highlight two Detroit Lions and two opponents who stand out in the matchup, for better or for worse. It may be a stud who could struggle, or it could be a lower-level guy primed for a big game; either way, these are players who should over or underperform their typical output. D&D hopes to help out with crunch-time decisions by taking a closer look at the matchup through historical stats. All stated scoring assumes six points for all touchdowns and a half point per reception.

Matthew Stafford

After picking up a leg injury against the Vikings, Matthew Stafford has been on the downslope in terms of fantasy production. Over the last three weeks he has averaged just 16.4 PPG and has totaled only four passing touchdowns. He did throw for almost 300 yards against the Bears in Week 11, but that may not be the case in the rematch.

Chicago has been a top-10 defense against quarterbacks this season and have been great over the past nine weeks. Aside from Stafford in Week 11 and Carson Wentz the week after, no quarterback has hit 20 fantasy points. Stafford can be started this week, but lower expectations against the Bears.

Marvin Jones

Both in reality and fantasy, Marvin Jones is finally starting to gain the credibility he deserves. His output has been mild the past couple games, but his average since Week 6 is an astounding 15.6 PPG. There is no reason Jones should be on the bench for Saturday’s matchup.

The Bears are just about average against opposing fantasy wide receivers, but there is very little reason for fear. Jones racked up 85 yards and a touchdown against Chicago in Week 11 on seven targets. It is reasonable to expect him to see a similar workload and have another productive day against the Bears.

Mitchell Trubisky

Anyone expecting anything in fantasy from Mitchell Trubisky has been disappointed, as the rookie has barely averaged double-digit fantasy points since taking over. He is coming off of his best outing of the season, but that is likely to be an outlier. Do not think about playing Trubisky in any fantasy lineup.

In Week 11 against Detroit, Trubisky had just 179 passing yards and a score. The Lions are not the toughest defense against quarterbacks, ranking around league average, but they have enough playmakers in the secondary to limit an aerial explosion. Hopefully all fantasy teams have a better option than Trubisky.

Jordan Howard

There is one valuable Chicago Bear in fantasy football and his name is Jordan Howard. Though he has looked very pedestrian in many recent weeks, he is always a threat for a big game. Against the Lions in Week 11, Howard carried the ball 15 times for 125 yards and a touchdown, making the defense look very helpless at times.

Detroit ranks 30th overall against opposing running backs and have surrendered a rushing touchdown to a back in eight straight weeks. With limited options in the Bears offense, expect Howard to be the focal point. Though the rest of the roster is uninspiring, Howard can be started with confidence.