It's time to see if the Chicago Bears can take advantage of Justin Fields' elite rushing numbers. At least they've tried adding players around him this offseason. We can draft them all on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.
30th in neutral pass rate and 22nd in neutral pace, the Bears will be unserious on offense until they can pass more (or just not rank 30th in plays). Upgrading Justin Fields' weapons is a big start and unlocks more of a ceiling in year three of his young career. Fields was too reliant on deep passes (4th highest average depth of throw), leading to the league's worst adjusted sack rate... by far. The Bears have rearranged most of their OL to help, but Fields needs to make a leap here. The last spot to upgrade is in short yardage. It was unacceptable for a Fields-led offense to rank 28th in short-yardage run success rate. All in all, there are very clear spots this offense can improve. That's a good and bad thing I guess.
3-WR Sets (24th in snaps, 60% of snaps)
WR: DJ Moore --> Equanimeous St. Brown
WR: Chase Claypool --> Tyler Scott (R)
SLOT: Darnell Mooney --> Velus Jones
TE: Cole Kmet --> Robert Tonyan
2-WR Sets (10th in snaps, 33% of snaps)
WR: DJ Moore --> Tyler Scott (R)
WR: Chase Claypool --> Darnell Mooney
SLOT TE: Robert Tonyan
INLINE TE: Cole Kmet
RB Usage (30th in expected half PPR)
GOAL LINE: Khalil Herbert --> D'Onta Foreman
PASSING DOWN: Roschon Johnson --> Khalil Herbert
Offensive Line (lots of moving parts)
LT: Braxton Jones (very good rookie year)
LG: Teven Jenkins (injured but decent OG grades)
C: Cody Whitehair ($14M, moving from LG to C)
RG: Nate Davis ($17.5M guaranteed)
RT: Darnell Wright (1st round boom-bust prospect)
Justin Fields finished as the QB5 and 41st overall player in fantasy points over replacement using Underdog Fantasy's Half PPR and weekly scoring format. He had two massive 40+ point games in Week 9 and Week 10, and last year's Bears didn't have the pass-catching fire power that this 2023 team does, which makes Fields' ADP pretty attractive right now. If DJ Moore or Chase Claypool or the new OL or just a normal 3rd year leap make Fields breakout as a passer, we're really cooking in best ball tournaments.
The question is: what should we pay and expect from his pass catchers? The Bears only had three (3) games from their WRs with 5+ fantasy points over expected FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. That's shocking, especially since Darnell Mooney only accounted for one of them, with Velus Jones and Dante Pettis accounting for the others. Over the entire season, Mooney was the WR76 in fantasy points over replacement, yet he goes as the WR57 this year, so this would be an example of how stacking is pulling up an ADP that's hard to justify with #math, assuming the new target competition is bad news for Mooney's projection.
But the real debate is with Moore at his WR26 ADP, given we typically have to spend 3rd and 4th round picks to complete this Chicago stack (at least for now). Moore is certainly way better than Mooney. In fact, Moore finished as the WR25 and 57th overall player last year as the Panthers' obvious top pass catcher, while the Panthers completed 2.5 more passes for 45 more yards per game than the Bears last year. That gap will at least close this year with Moore switching teams, with the upside for the Bears to finish as the 20th passing offense is things really improve. Moore had six (6) games of 15+ half PPR points with a max of 24.5 last year, so he had moderate but zero ludicrous spike weeks. That's what happens in bad passing offenses. I expect Moore to have similar total numbers as he did last year, but how that exactly pairs with Fields' own spike weeks is a little more complicated. Fields' biggest fantasy games last year where his 178 and 147 rushing yard games because rushing production >>> passing production in fantasy. But when Fields has rushed for over 80 yards (8 career games) or rushed 10 times (10 games), he's yet to eclipse 191 passing yards or complete 20 passes. Will that entirely hold up long term as Fields develops? Absolutely not, but we have to admit that we're threading a needle for both Fields and Moore to be massive spike week players in the same game, at least at this cost. The same is true when it comes to double or triple stacking his pass catchers.
Claypool was traded for the 32nd overall pick late last year, so this leadership group believes in him quite more than the fantasy market does. Claypool was the odd man out in Pittsburgh, but he played out wide on 87% of his Chicago snaps last year. Meanwhile, Darnell Mooney was in the slot on 64% of his snaps. They'll compete for 2-WR set snaps, which will be very key in this balanced offense. Claypool's size and the ridiculous draft capital spent on him make me think Mooney will lose routes this year. Beyond that, Claypool has the slightly higher career yards per route run rate and career fantasy points per game. He's one of my favorite WR values, and I will push my Fields' stacking partner to Claypool frequently.
Cole Kmet is a full-blown fade for me. First off, he's a very forgettable receiving talent, but his role is iffy and could get worse with new weapons surrounding him. Kmet only ran a route on 84% of his passing snaps, which were already low because of Justin Fields' dual-threat skillset. He also only ran a route on 71% of 2-TE set dropbacks because he's a better blocker than receiver. That could get worse with finesse-skilled Robert Tonyan ($2.6M) coming into town. Even if I'm wrong with this role change, it'll be harder to get the rock with Moore and Claypool around. I fear his ADP has remained high because early-round Field drafters are reaching for stacks.
Last year's Bears RBs combined for the 30th most expected fantasy points, and there's even more uncertainty with the pecking order. Khalil Herbert is the lone returner after finished 4th in the NFL in yards after contact per carry. He's a fluid runner without a clear difference making trait. D'Onta Foreman ($2M) was 14th in that same metric and offers far more size (6'0/235) as a potential goal line vulture. Then there's 4th round rookie Roschon Johnson (6'0/225), who is extremely versatile and a coach's dream. He'll compete with Herbert for passing downs. Ultimately, I expect all three to see snaps, enough to cannibalize all of them from really mattering. Even David Montgomery was the RB30 in fantasy points over replacement per game as the unquestioned starter. Keep in mind Chicago RBs only caught 46 passes (32nd) with Fields opting to run himself. All are low upside darts.
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QB6 Justin Fields (46.8 overall) --> BUYING
WR26 DJ Moore (47.7) --> Soft fading
RB40 Khalil Herbert (122.4) --> Fading
WR57 Darnell Mooney (125.4) --> Fading
TE14 Cole Kmet (142.5) --> Only in stacks
RB47 Roschon Johnson (146.4) --> Mixing in
RB51 D'Onta Foreman (166.7) --> Mixing in
WR82 Chase Claypool (189.9) --> BUYING