Monday Night Football this week features two teams that will look a bit different on offense this time around. The Bears and 49ers will both be without their starting quarterbacks this week, so it's a battle of the backups on the bay in Week 11.
Jay Cutler and Alex Smith suffered concussions last Sunday, and both will be sitting out this time around. Considering two of the top defense in the league face off on Monday night, fantasy points may be at a premium here.
Let's take a look at who you need to start between the Bears and 49ers, and who needs to stay on your bench for Week 11.
Jason Campbell, quarterback - Welcome back to being a starter Jason Campbell. First you're thrown in against the Texans in terrible weather, and now you get to face the third-best pass defense in the league. Sam Bradford did have a solid outing in San Francisco last week, but the Niners have only given up three passing touchdowns since Week 3. Are you really going to risk your fantasy playoff chances with Campbell? I didn't think so.
Matt Forte and Michael Bush, running back - The 49ers have experienced some difficulty stopping the run in recent weeks. They gave up 101 yards and a touchdown to Steven Jackson in Week 10, but they're still only allowing 95 yards rushing per game. Forte will likely be relied on more with Jason Campbell making his first start. San Francisco only yielded two rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs in its first nine games, so Bush once again looks like an unattractive option. Start Forte like you're used to doing. Hold off on Bush like you're also accustomed to lately.
Brandon Marshall, wide receiver - We probably won't be seeing another three-touchdown performance from Marshall this week, but he's sure to get plenty of targets once again as the focal point of the Bears passing game. Campbell connected with his No. 1 receiver for a few big gains against the Texans. He's sure to look for Marshall often against another stingy defense. You're always starting Marshall, regardless of who's under center for Chicago. Well, maybe not if Josh McCown is back there, but you get the point.
Kellen Davis, tight end - Davis might see an increase in production with Campbell starting, but he's still an afterthought in the Bears game plan. The 49ers haven't given up a touchdown to an opposing tight end since Week 3. The span will become even longer after Monday night's game.
Bears defense/special teams - Seeing that the Bears D/ST is outscoring some of the fantasy studs in the league this year, it's probably wise to keep this unit in your starting lineup. They only allow 14.8 points per game, and also have 19 interceptions and 17 forced fumbles in 2012. It doesn't matter who they're playing, they get the job done one way or another for fantasy owners.
Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick, quarterback - Chris Mortensen reported Smith has not received clearance from doctors and will not play against the Bears after suffering a concussion last week. This leaves Kaepernick with the starting duties against the No. 10 pass defense in the league. Kaepernick has proven himself on the ground. He racked up 66 yards and a touchdown last week after replacing the injured Smith against St. Louis. Chicago's defense doesn''t allow many points, so even though Kaepernick is capable of building a solid fantasy outing with his legs, it's best to avoid this situation with the playoffs approaching.
Frank Gore, running back - The Bears only allow 92 rushing yards per game, but the past two weeks haven't looked as promising against opposing running backs. Arian Foster managed 102 yards in Week 10, and CJ1K rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown the week prior, even if his 80-yard burst did come in garbage time. Gore broke his scoring drought last week, and will be heavily relied on once again on Monday night. He's always worth a start regardless of the matchup.
Michael Crabtree, wide receiver - Crabtree's numbers should take a hit without Smith under center. He caught just one pass after Kaepernick entered last week, and the Niners should continue to let the ground game go to work. Crabtree has stepped up lately for fantasy owners, catching three touchdowns in his last two games. He's still worth a WR3 or flex play, but keep in mind the passing offense won't be the same with Kaepernick preferring to use his legs often.
Vernon Davis, tight end - Brian Urlacher did admit the Bears don't scheme for tight ends, but Davis always draws interest from opposing defense. He hasn't scored since Week 3. He hasn't made a serious impact for owners since Week 5. Kaepernick did look for him a few times against the Rams, but it's hard to get excited about tonight's matchup. Chicago has only given up two touchdowns to tight ends all season.
49ers defense/special teams - The Bears mark of 14.8 points allowed per game is staggering, but what's even more impressive? The 49ers allowing just 14.1 points each week. San Francisco doesn't create as many turnovers as Chicago, but it keeps every offense it faces in check. With Campbell under center the Niners will likely bring the heat often against the Bears poor offensive line. Expect a low-scoring contest and solid fantasy production from this D/ST.