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Bears vs. Rams Sunday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown & NFL DFS Picks

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Optimal NFL PrizePicks Week 3 top plays Matthew Stafford

Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 1 Sunday 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’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 1 Bears vs. Rams Sunday Night Football matchup.

Week 1 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Picks

Chicago Bears (19.5) at Los Angeles Rams (27)

Two NFC playoff teams with even greater aspirations kick off their 2021 seasons in Los Angeles this Sunday, as the new-look Rams, led by new quarterback Matthew Stafford, host the Chicago Bears in the first Sunday Night Football game of the year. The Bears made out like bandits in the 2021 NFL Draft, nabbing star college quarterback Justin Fields but will instead begin the season with veteran Andy Dalton under center. Dalton was a well-below-average passer in 2020 in his unsuccessful attempt to salvage a Dak Prescott-less Cowboys team. Now with the Bears, Dalton will have one of the shortest leashes of any quarterback, as coaches and fans alike will be clamoring for Fields the moment Dalton falters. That moment could very easily come this Sunday against a ferocious Rams Defense that ranked No. 1 overall in series success rate and returns all of their key starters from a season ago. Unsurprisingly, the Rams are favored by over a touchdown heading into Sunday’s game.

Breaking Down Quarterback Value

Stafford has the highest salary on both sites, as he is by far the safest play on the slate. But despite a projection nearly two fantasy points lower than Stafford, Dalton looks like an equally strong play when comparing projections to salary-based expectations. On DraftKings, the Awesemo Value metric has Dalton ranked slightly ahead of Stafford. Not so on FanDuel.

Woods versus Kupp, the Eternal Dilemma

Though both have solid floor and ceiling projections, the salary reduction from Rams’ receiver Robert Woods ($6,500 on FanDuel, $5,700 DraftKings) to Cooper Kupp ($6,200 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings) is significant. The Awesemo projections have Kupp projected for more targets than Woods, making Kupp the slightly better value at their respective salaries.

David Montgomery Will Get Fed

In terms of guaranteed touches, one cannot do better than David Montgomery. Even in a negative game script, as an away underdog, Montgomery leads all skill players in this matchup in salary dollars per projected opportunity, ahead of both Rams’ running backs and their top wideouts. Montgomery will be spelled at times for Damien Williams, but Montgomery absolutely has a chance to continue the top-tier production he displayed down the stretch last season.

Allen Robinson is in for a Tough Test

Allen Robinson has a brutal matchup against the Rams’ vaunted secondary and will see All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey across from him for at least half of his routes. Ramsey consistently shadowed top receivers in key situations in the waning weeks of the 2020 season, taking on other alpha receivers such as Davante Adams and D.K. Metcalf, one-on-one for a majority of their routes run. Expect the same here. Regardless, expect Robinson to shake free enough to earn a healthy target share, and with that, solid production. Awesemo projects Robinson for 21% of all Bears’ skill players’ fantasy production.

Tyler Higbee is the Value Play of the Rams’ Pass Catchers

Outside of the premium options, tight end Tyler Higbee looks like a decent value play, especially due to his lower-tier salary on DraftKings. The Bears have a ton of new personnel in their secondary, having released their highest-graded cornerback Kyle Fuller this offseason, and will be preoccupied with both Kupp and Woods, making Higbee a sneaky value in this matchup, in fact, the Awesemo value metric shows Higbee as the best-value option outside of the chalk options.

Darnell Mooney Likely Sees More Looks

The Bears’ Darnell Mooney has been in and out of practice with back issues, but is expected to play this Sunday, making him the most interesting of the Bears’ auxiliary weapons. With Anthony Miller now a member of the Houston Texans, Mooney is the No. 2 wide receiver, and should be close to a full-time player, which should lead to more routes run, and likely a larger target share, in 2021. He is a quality low-salary play, particularly in tournaments, at $4,000 on DraftKings and $5,500 on DraftKings.

The Bottom Line

The Vegas implied totals suggest the Rams should dominate this game on both sides of the ball. Though it is likely the Bears will try to slow the game down and dominate via the ground, if the Rams have any amount of early offensive success, Dalton & Co., will likely have to abandon that game plan. Look for Los Angeles to come out firing with Stafford at the helm, utilizing a heavy dose of pre-snap motion and play-action passing (two staples of Sean McVay offense). Expect to see a lot more deep passes off of that play-action this season than in season’s past. Stafford is going to take his shots. If successful, Los Angeles should spend much of the second half riding its running backs and running out the clock, which could lead to plenty of clean-up work for Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel.

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Week 1 Sunday Night Football Prediction

Rams 27, Bears 14


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Take a look at our inactives, depth charts for NFL games and NFL starting lineups. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL stats for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL DFS rankings, and NFL DFS stacking.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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