Underdog Fantasy NFL Picks: MNF Week 9 (Steelers-Bears)

Tight end Pat Freiermuth #88 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs for a gain during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Steelers defeated the Browns 15-10.
Image Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Monday Night Football contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears awards us one more chance to make some dough correctly selecting Underdog Fantasy NFL picks for Week 9. First, however, if you’re new to Underdog Fantasy, have no fear.

It’s easy to get started. Here’s how it works:

  • Create an account on Underdog Fantasy.
  • Use the promo code PROPS to claim an extra $10 on your first deposit.
  • Go to the Pick’em Games.
  • Make two or more selections to receive a correlated payout of 3x, 6x, 10x, or 20x
Use promo code PROPS for $10 free!

It’s pretty fun, and Underdog Fantasy is available in most states except for the following: Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana, Montana, Washington, Delaware, and Iowa.

Now, let’s take a look at my favorite Underdog Fantasy NFL picks for Monday Night Football of Week 9.

Justin Fields UNDER 185.5 Passing Yards

Image Credit: Ronald Martinez-Getty Images

Justin Fields has made six starts, surpassing 185.5 passing yards only one time. In Week 4, he passed for 209 yards against the lowly pass defense of the Detroit Lions. According to Football Outsiders, the Lions rank 28th in pass defense Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA).

Tonight, he faces a stiffer challenge against the Steelers. Pittsburgh ranks 15th in pass defense DVOA. However, Fields’ biggest issue is likely facing tons of pressure tonight. According to Football Outsiders, the Bears rank dead last in Adjusted Sack Rate. Further, according to Pro Football Focus, Chicago ranks 20th in pass blocking.

Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus grades the Steelers tied for fourth in pass-rushing grade. The combination of poor pass protection by the Bears and elite pass-rushing of the Steelers is especially troubling for Fields.

According to Pro Football Focus, Fields’ 184 passing yards under pressure is the lowest mark among 33 quarterbacks with at least 50 dropbacks. In addition, Fields is completing only 41.5% of his passes under pressure at a grotesque 4.5 yards per pass attempt. The rookie’s struggles under pressure result in Fields ranking dead last in Pro Football Focus’s passing grade under pressure.

As a result of Fields’ colossal struggles in the face of pressure, I expect him to go under 185.5 passing yards. Further, Bet Prep agrees, projecting him for only 168.43 passing yards.

Zach Gentry UNDER 11.5 Receiving Yards

Zach Gentry #81 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 22, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Image Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Let’s hop on another under with Zach Gentry falling short of 11.5 receiving yards. First, he should be hurt by a likely pace slog. According to Football Outsiders, the Steelers are 17th in situation neutral pace, and the Bears are 24th.

Second, according to Pro Football Focus, Gentry ran only 12 routes last week. Nevertheless, the third-year pro set new single-game highs for targets (five), receptions (three), and receiving yards (39). Gentry has played in 13 games in three years, and he’s been targeted two times or fewer in 12 of 13 games. His previous high for receiving yards was 13 in Week 5 this year. Thus, last week was an outlier.

Finally, the matchup is horrible for Gentry’s outlook. According to Pro-Football-Reference, the Bears have allowed the fewest receiving yards (225) to tight ends this year. So, I don’t expect Ben Roethlisberger to force it to his second tight end in a dreadful matchup.

Pat Freiermuth OVER 35.5 Receiving Yards

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Friermuth (88) celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field.
Image Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, obviously, the matchup against the Bears is treacherous for Pat Freiermuth as well. However, he’s emerged as an integral part of Pittsburgh’s offense the last two weeks. He’s set his single-game highs for targets (seven), receptions (seven), and receiving yards (58) in the previous two games, tying or netting his second-highest mark for receptions (four) and receiving yards (44) during that stretch as well.

Last week, with Eric Ebron out, Freiermuth was third on the team in routes (24) and receiving yards (44). Freiermuth’s average depth of target of 6.8 yards downfield last week and 6.9 yards for the year meshes perfectly with modern-day Big Ben’s passing tendencies.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Roethlisberger’s average throw depth of 6.7 yards is tied for the fourth-lowest depth. Further, out of 34 quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks, his average time-to-throw of 2.29 seconds is the fastest.

I’ll overlook the matchup concern for the dovetailing of Freiermuth’s depth of target and Roethlisberger’s quick-hitter playing style. Finally, Bet Prep is also on the over, projecting the rookie tight end for 36.25 receiving yards.