November 8, 2023, 5:00 pm
Carolina (1-7) at Chicago (2-7)
ML Panthers (+140) @ Bears (-166): O/U 38.5
Panthers +3.5 (-115), Bears -3.5 (-105)
The Panthers travel to take on the Bears on Thursday Night Football in a matchup of teams that are in the basements of their respective divisions and are fighting with Arizona to see who gets the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. These two teams partnered up before the year for one of the biggest trades of the season. The Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft to the Panthers for wide receiver D.J. Moore, the No. 9 overall pick, a 2023 second-round pick, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick. Moore has been a bright spot for Chicago’s offense, and now he will get a chance to square off against his former team.
Main Storylines to Watch
What to make of the Bears RB room? If Khalil Herbert isn’t activated this week, the picture is a lot clearer as D’Onta Foreman has regulated Roschon Johnson to a clear backup role (averaging just six touches over the last two weeks). If Herbert is active, it’s anyone’s guess how the touches are divided up.
Can you start a Panthers RB? Chuba Hubbard is getting more carries, but Miles Sanders did have five catches last week. More importantly, this is a sneaky good Bears run defense. They allow just 3.3 yards per carry, which is the best in the NFL.
Bryce Young: Young had one of his worst games of the season last week throwing for just one touchdown and three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The Bears allow the eighth-most fantasy points to QBs this year and are 28th in the league in passing yards allowed to QBs. Young has not finished higher than QB17 more than once this year so he is just a low-end start in SuperFlex and 2QB leagues.
Chuba Hubbard/Miles Sanders: Over the last two weeks, Hubbard has handled over 65% and 70% of the RB touches for the Panthers. While he hasn’t had a lot of fantasy production in those games, he is now dominating touches over Sanders. The Bears allow the second most fantasy points to RBs this year. Most of that is the receiving fantasy production they give up to RBs, as they only allow 80 yards rushing per game to RBs. Hubbard got six targets last week and he is the only RB on this team to consider starting this week but just merely as a flex at best play.
Adam Thielen: For the first time since week 1, Thielen finished outside of the top-24 WRs with a WR42 finish. After being targeted 11 or more times in three straight games, Thielen only had six against the Colts. Don’t expect the Panthers to make that mistake again. The Bears defense gives up 25 fantasy points per game to WRs this year, so expect a bounce-back game for Thielen. He is the only Panthers WR I would start and is a solid WR2 play this week.
Hayden Hurst: Hurst had one big play last week, a 48-yard catch, finishing with two catches for 54 yards against the Colts. In the two prior games, he had one total catch. There are probably 20 other TEs you could start over Hurst this week.
Tyson Bagent: Justin Fields has been listed as doubtful and Bagent has been announced as the starter for Thursday night. Bagent committed four turnovers last week, but still managed to finish as the QB9 thanks to 70 yards rushing and two passing touchdowns. Carolina has been pretty good against the pass this year, allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points to QBs, 215 yards passing, and 22 yards rushing to QBs per game. Bagent is only a start in SuperFlex and 2QB leagues.
Bears RBs: I thought we would see a more even split with Roschon Johnson last week, but instead, D’Onta Foreman saw 20 carries while Johnson got just two carries and one target in the passing game. Khalil Herbert is eligible to return from the IR this week, but that isn’t a guarantee, and even if he does, Foreman could remain atop the depth chart while Herbert is eased back into action. Foreman is the only Bears RB I would trust this week as a flex play.
D.J. Moore/Darnell Mooney: It’s revenge week for Moore. After two huge weeks in week 4 and week 5, Moore has finished as the WR37, WR21, WR51, and WR58 in the past four games. Moore is receiving a decent amount of targets but he is lacking the down-the-field targets and catches with Bagent at QB as opposed to when Fields was at QB. Moore will be a WR2/WR3 start this week but just don’t expect anything close to the fantasy game he gave you the last time he played on Thursday Night Football. Mooney had five catches for a team-high 82 yards last week but finished as the WR78, WR51, WR53, and WR133 the four weeks prior. Moore is the only Bears WR you can start this week.
Cole Kmet.: Here is what Kmet has seen over the last two weeks:
- 18 targets
- 16 catches
- 8.4 yards per reception
- Two touchdowns
Kmet is now a weekly start at the TE position even with Bagent at QB.
- Betting Insight
PLEASE NOTE: This is intended for entertainment purposes. This is not intended as gambling advice. If you are looking for gambling advice from professionals, please sign up for the SportsEthos WagerPass. These are the thoughts of our fantasy football division experts, and some are sure to be better than others.
Before last week, Adam Thielen had eight, 11, 11, seven, and 11 catches in his last five games. The Bears have struggled against slot WRs this year, expect a double-digit target game for Thielen. The Bears stayed in that game at New Orleans last week down to their last possession. The Panthers have lost by double-digits in every road game this year.
Bet: Adam Thielen O6.5 receptions (-105) (DraftKings)
Lean: Bears -3.5 (-105) (DraftKings)