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32 in 32: Chicago Bears

In our “32 in 32” series, we are highlighting three of the most notable fantasy football players for each team, covering all 32 teams in 32 days!


Justin Fields (QB – Chicago Bears)


Fields’ rookie season was horrific from all standpoints, tallying under 2300 yards and just 9 total TDs to 10 INTs (15 turnovers) in 12 games, averaging just 10.6 PPG in fantasy. However, 2022 was a wildly different season for the former Ohio State QB compared to his rookie season, especially from a fantasy perspective. After a slow start to his sophomore year, posting under 14 points in each of his first four games, Fields took off, tallying 17+ points in nine consecutive games – a stretch where he was the QB5 in points and the QB3 in PPG. A huge reason for his explosion in that stretch was his increased usage in the rushing game, averaging 12 carries, 95 yards, and 0.8 TDs per game on the ground in those nine games. The biggest concern for Fields was inconsistency, ranking as the 7th-most inconsistent QB in fantasy last year, in part due to back-to-back 39+ point performances that amounted to 28% of his season-long production in just two games. A large majority point the inconsistencies of Fields not to the QB, but rather to the supporting cast in Chicago, working with what was a horrific receiving corps and a bottom-tier offensive line. Both of those change heading into 2023, adding multiple pieces to the O-Line (Nate Davis via FA, Darnell Wright via 1st round of the NFL Draft) and to the WR room (DJ Moore via trade, Tyler Scott via 4th round of the NFL Draft) – giving Fields at least a serviceable offensive line and a true WR1 to work with. The upside for Fields is off the charts, easily with the potential to finish as the top QB in fantasy, especially as we have seen the addition of a WR1 option elevate QBs to elite QB1 production in recent years (Lamar Jackson with Marquise Brown in 2019, Josh Allen with Stefon Diggs in 2020, Joe Burrow with Ja’Marr Chase in 2021, Jalen Hurts with A.J. Brown in 2022). It’ll all come down to the price on whether or not Fields will be a worthwhile investment on draft day. At the moment, he’s carrying a late-4th to mid-6th round price tag as the QB5/QB6 off the board on both ADP and ECR. If he favors the latter part of that price range (early-to-mid 6th round), I am all game for Fields as my QB in fantasy, but if he leans earlier than that, I am likely to pass due to the extreme year-over-year turnover at the QB position and the ability to find quality options at a value.

 

D.J. Moore (WR – Chicago Bears):


DJ Moore was involved in the blockbuster trade of the offseason, being dealt alongside multiple 1st (and multiple 2nd) round picks from the Chicago Bears in a deal to land Carolina the 1st overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The move, while exciting from an NFL fan’s point of view, makes me very hesitant from a fantasy football perspective. Moore’s downfall has never been target share, drawing in 534 targets over the last four years (118+ targets each season), but rather QB play. While he drew an extremely large target base, he never had much of an opportunity to do anything with it, registering just 309 catches over the last 4 years. At a 58% reception rate, you may turn your thoughts towards potential drops, but Moore has dropped just 5.2% of his targets in that stretch – the issue was QB quality. In logic, moving from Carolina’s QB carousel over the past few years (Darnold, Mayfield, Newton, Bridgewater, Walker, etc.) to Justin Fields should be a positive change, but Fields has yet to establish himself as a passer. In 27 career games, Fields has completed 20+ passes in just three games and has passed for 200+ yards in just six. Is it an issue with weapons? On one hand, Fields had little to work with in 2022, but he also had Allen Robinson in 2021, who was coming off a top-10 season in the year prior. Is it a scheme issue? That’s where the concern lies. We’ve seen several struggling QBs develop significantly as a passer the moment they get a quality WR1 (Allen, Hurts, Jackson), but in most of those instances, the scheme adjusts to cater toward the pass. If that’s the case, it’s likely Moore replicates his target count from years past and sees improved QB play, but if the scheme continues to be a run-oriented one, Moore will likely fall far short of his production from Carolina due to a lack of workload. A lot will be told in training camp and the preseason based on the offensive scheme and rapport between Fields and Moore, but until then, we can only speculate. Without knowing what the Bears’ offensive intentions will truly be, Moore remains a relatively risky option if he continues to go at his current price (late-4th round) as a low-end WR2 option. I will likely pass on him as my WR2 until I see the likelihood for targets in Chicago, but I would be glad to land him as my WR3 option with his top-12 upside.

 

Cole Kmet (TE – Chicago Bears):


Many, including myself, expected Cole Kmet to take off in 2022 and emerge as a fringe top 5 TE in his 3rd season, and while many would consider his season “average” by those expectations (ending as the TE8 in points, TE15 in PPG), Kmet showed a ton of promise late in the season. Kmet got off to a horrific start to 2022, in part due to struggles by QB Justin Fields, failing to register a catch in either of his first two games and not hitting 10+ points at any point until Week 9. Through his first 8 games, he had just 14 catches for 159 yards and 1 TD – you were lucky to get 5 points out of him in any given game. Then, Kmet exploded, posting 22+ points in back-to-back games and turning into a start-able fantasy TE for the rest of the season. From Week 9 onward, Kmet posted 10+ points in 5 of his final 9 games and tallied 6+ points in every game. In that stretch, Kmet was the TE4 in fantasy behind only Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and T.J. Hockenson. That late-season emergence isn’t being talked about enough and it shows with Kmet going as an 11th-12th round pick on draft day as a very low-end TE1 or high-TE2 on both ADP (TE14) and ECR (TE12). While he likely won’t replicate his top-5 production that we saw at the end of 2022, especially with a slight drop in his target share with the arrival of DJ Moore, Kmet still should serve as a check-down and redzone threat for Fields in an improving Bears’ offense. If you’re waiting on a TE for a value, or if you’re looking for a safe high-end TE2 to pair with a riskier TE1 option, Kmet is a perfect target on draft day, especially at his value and his top-5 upside should Fields continue to develop as a passer.

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