Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 15 Monday Night Football. Here we will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups. Let us dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 15 Vikings vs. Bears Monday Night Football matchup.
Week 15 Monday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Picks
The Vikings, at 6-7 and one game back of the final playoff spot in the NFC, head to Chicago to take on the 4-9 Bears. The Vikings are one of just three teams in the NFC with a losing record and a positive point differential this season (+11), indicating they may be a slightly stronger team than their record indicates. On the other side, the Bears have been outscored by their opponents by over 100 total points this season. With a rookie quarterback and limited offensive firepower, the Bears were expected to have some growing pains this season, but the results on the field have been disastrous. Minnesota is now 12th in offensive EPA per play and has no excuse not to take care of business tonight.
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It should come as no surprise that Dalvin Cook ($11,800 DraftKings/$15,000 FanDuel) is expected to be the most utilized player on the slate by a wide margin. Cook was masterful in Week 14 against Pittsburgh, earning 222 total yards on 30 opportunities, his most looks since Week 6. He did essentially all of his damage as a rusher, as his one reception last Thursday was just the second time this season that he was held to fewer than two grabs in a game. Despite an array of injuries this season, Cook is the same elusive runner he has always been, ranking sixth in total evaded tackles and first in rushes of 10-plus yards. Chicago is league average, 14th, in yards per carry allowed this season. Cook appears in the optimal lineup on DraftKings in over three-quarters of Awesemo’s simulations.
Kirk Cousins ($11,000 DraftKings/$16,000 FanDuel) will need to lean on Justin Jefferson ($11,200 DraftKings/$14,500 FanDuel), as Adam Thielen ($8,400 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel) missed practice all week and is a game-time decision. Jefferson has followed his record-breaking rookie year with a sensational sophomore season, posting 140-plus yards receiving in three of his last five games and double-digit fantasy points in all but one week. Jefferson has had six catches and/or a touchdown in 84% of his games. Chicago has struggled against the pass all season, quietly ranking bottom five in the NFL in yards allowed per pass attempt over the last three weeks. During that same span, they have allowed the most points per play of any defense and now rank 28th in PFF’s team defense grade. Even without Thielen opposite him, Jefferson could feast on a depleted secondary that is missing safety Eddie Jackson and has already struggled against No. 1 receivers this season.
The Chicago offense will rely heavily on the services of David Montgomery ($9,000 DraftKings/$12,500 FanDuel) as both a rusher and a receiver. After never seeing more than four targets in a game through the first dozen weeks of the season, the Bears have utilized Montgomery as a pass catcher significantly in the two weeks since, targeting Montgomery 16 times in two games. That is the most looks he is seen in any two-game stretch in his career. Montgomery has responded to the added workload well, averaging 25 opportunities and 111 yards from scrimmage per game over the past two weeks. With Minnesota among the bottom three defenses in yards allowed per carry this season, Montgomery has a chance to have a huge night at home and could go a long way to masking the deficiencies of Justin Fields ($10,400 DraftKings/$14,000 FanDuel), who ranks outside the top 30 quarterbacks in adjusted yards per attempt, expected points added, Total QBR and fantasy points per game. At least Fields has flashed elite rushing upside, going for 70-plus yards rushing twice in his last four starts. In the passing game he will likely rely heavily on Darnell Mooney ($7,400 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel), as Allen Robinson will miss this game on the COVID-19 list. Mooney is the only Bears receiver with a double-digit fantasy score in Awesemo’s latest run of projections.
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While Cook, Jefferson and Thielen (if active) are likely to soak up 65% of the team’s targets, K.J. Osborn ($5,800 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) has proven himself as the team’s clear third option in the passing game. Since Thielen’s ankle injury in Week 13, Osborn has played on 89% of team snaps and seen 16 targets, five more than any other player on the Vikings besides Jefferson. He has also seen 23% of the team’s red-zone targets during that span, though three of Tyler Conklin’s ($5,400 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) 11 looks have come from inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Kene Nwangwu ($800 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) has seven total opportunities this season, and he will be Cook’s backup with Alexander Mattison on the COVID-19 list and out for this matchup.
Though Week 14 against Green Bay was an exception, the Bears typically do not pass enough for multiple receivers to hit on the same night. That said, Damiere Byrd ($4,600 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) and Jakeem Grant ($5,000 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) have both outscored Darnell Mooney, the de facto No. 1 option, over the team’s last two games. Grant has averaged five looks per game over his last two starts and has been a special teams ace. Pairing him with the Bears D/ST ($3,600 DraftKings) on DraftKings and hoping for a punt- or kick-return touchdown is far from the worst idea in tournaments. Cole Kmet ($4,800 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) has seen 25 targets since Week 10, the second most on the team, though the team has opted to utilize Jimmy Graham ($3,800 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) at the goal line. Graham leads the team in red-zone targets over the past four games.
The Bottom Line
While there are certainly players capable of producing monster fantasy scores in this matchup, especially on Minnesota, this game has a chance to become a run-focused, mistake-filled slog. Kickers Greg Joseph ($3,400 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) and Cairo Santos ($3,200 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) are viable options in all formats, as neither team is above outkicking their opponent en route to an ugly victory. But most likely, the Minnesota offense will find their footing at some point through the air. That does not mean the Vikings would ever abandon Cook, however, as he appears to be a lock for 20-plus opportunities regardless of game script. An upset is always possible in a single-game slate, but lineups built around a Bears onslaught are extreme low-probability plays and should be saved for only the largest of large-field tournaments.
Week 15 Monday Night Football Prediction: Vikings 26, Bears 20
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