Monday Night Football has a marquee division rivalry for Week 9 as the Chicago Bears face the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. The historic rivalry is dampened a bit by the fact that Jay Cutler is mending a groin injury, leaving veteran backup Josh McCown as the Bears starting quarterback. McCown's presence leaves a lot of uncertainty for fantasy owners as we speculate on who he'll target more. Both teams are struggling defensively, so Monday's outcome will likely be determined by which offense outperformed the other. As usual, we're here to break down the fantasy implications of Monday Night Football.
Josh McCown: The Packers will be a challenge for the veteran McCown. It will be his first start since New Year's Day of 2012. When McCown faced the Packers in December of 2012, he threw for 242 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He also added 38 yards on eight attempts rushing. Between the weapons McCown has on offense and his ability to move the ball with his legs if needed, he's an interesting QB2 prospect.
Running backs: Fantasy running backs haven't seen a lot of production against the Packers in 2013. Matt Forte has produced all season, regardless of the match up. Forte will be the usual RB1 option he is every week as McCown will likely lean on Forte both as a ball carrier and receiver. Michael Bush rarely vultures a touchdown and continues to be an elite handcuff and nothing more.
Wide receivers: It can be difficult to predict the tendencies of a backup quarterback taking the field for his first start of the season. Brandon Marshall is still a WR1 despite the downgrade at quarterback in Week 9. McCown will likely target Marshall heavily as he looks to keep up with Green Bay's offense. Alshon Jeffery was targeted enough by McCown in Week 7 to assume he'll get a handful on Monday. Jeffery can be considered a low-end WR3 until his target count becomes more apparent with Jay Cutler out.
Tight ends: Green Bay is giving up a decent amount of fantasy points to tight ends, but it's unclear how many looks Martellus Bennett should expect to get from his quarterback. He's a low-end TE1 in most formats.
Defense/ Special teams: The Packers are ranked in the top five in rushing, passing, and scoring. Chicago's defense is reeling with injuries and may not get much rest with a mediocre quarterback getting his first start since January of 2012. Over the past four weeks, Detroit, Washington, and New Orleans all limited Chicago's fantasy output. Expect the Packers to do the same, and find a better match up for Week 9.
Aaron Rodgers: With the way the match up appears, the only way Rodgers will lose fantasy production is if the Packers start off the game with a handful of rushing touchdowns. Rodgers has played well against the Bears when the Bears had a much better defense than the one he'll be facing on Monday night. There's simply no reason to discuss benching Rodgers in any format.
Running backs: Eddie Lacy is officially the workhorse in Green Bay's backfield. Since returning from a concussion, Lacy has put up big fantasy numbers for owners against tough run defenses. Lacy is now facing a Bears defense that has given up the most fantasy points to running backs over the last five weeks. He's a RB1 in Week 9, and deserves to continue being in the RB1 discussion as long as he continues getting a healthy dose of carries. The Packers have expressed a desire to increase the carries of James Starks in order to keep Lacy fresh. Because of the match up, Starks can be considered a desperate flex play if needed.
Wide receivers: Even with Randall Cobb and James Jones sidelined over the past several weeks, Jordy Nelson continues to deliver. Nelson is currently Rodgers' most trusted receiver and is a must-start WR1 against Chicago's average defense. James Jones is likely to play on Monday. If he starts, consider Jones a risky WR3 that may see limited playing time if he starts. With or without Jones, Jarrett Boykin is worth starting in all formats. He's seeing a least six targets a week and has produced since becoming a regular starter.
Tight ends: Andrew Quarless has been starting in place of an injured Jermichael Finley, but he hasn't been very involved in the passing game. Quarless isn't much more than a low-end TE2 as he's primarily used as a blocker.
Defense/ Special teams: Green Bay's defense may be average on the field, but they're an appealing fantasy start in Week 9. Expect a few sacks and plenty of turnover opportunities against a backup quarterback. They're top ten start in most formats.