by Big O's Fantasy Guidance
Justin Fields: While Fields is an intriguing late-round fantasy quarterback heading into the 2022 season, the Bears offense projects to be uninspiring. In 2021, the Bears offense ranked 6th worst in points per game at 18.3 and 9th worst in yards per game at 307.4. Looking to 2022, The Ohio State product’s quality receiving options are far and few in between. While Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet look to take another step forward in development, it’s difficult to imagine that they will elevate Fields’ passing production enough. However, Fields did record 420 rushing yards in 12 games last season which was the 5th most for out of all quarterbacks. If we project his 2021 rushing average over the course of a full season, he would’ve recorded 595 rushing yards which is a nice baseline for fantasy. Look at Fields this way, the rushing baseline will preserve his floor while the Bears offense will cap his ceiling.
David Montgomery: While Montgomery was 9th in the league in rushing attempts last season with 225 respectively, he was fairly disappointing as he finished the year as the RB20 in points per game in half point PPR. The 3-year pro out of Iowa State has only averaged 3.9 yards per carry so far in his career which has plagued his upside in a low scoring Bears offense. Heading into 2022, the Bears are 9th in the league in vacated targets at 215. Monty should be in line to receive a sizable portion of the vacated targets since the Bears receiving options are scarce. However, Monty is not a lone wolf in the backfield as Khalil Herbert will surely eat into production. Monty’s limited upside makes it very risky to draft him as an RB2. He should be treated as an RB3 at best in upcoming drafts.
Khalil Herbert: On 103 rushing attempts in his rookie season, Herbert ran for 433 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s 4.2 yards per carry which was noticeably better than Montgomery’s 3.8 yards per carry. When Montgomery missed a 4-game stretch due to a knee sprain, Herbert assumed the primary ball carrier role from Week 5 to Week 8. The rookie ran for 344 yards and 1 touchdown on 78 carries which made him the RB16 within that 4-game stretch. Unfortunately once Montgomerey returned in week 9, Herbert only saw 22 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown over the last 9 games of the season. The Bears were quick to hand over the keys to the backfield back to Montgomery once he was healthy. Looking to 2022, the Bears have brought in a new head coach and offensive coordinator in Matt Eberflus and Luke Getsy. Eberflus will bring a defensive mindset to the team as he was the Colts defensive coordinator for the last 4 seasons. It will be interesting to see how the new coaching staff will split the backfield work in 2022.
Darnell Mooney: Mooney is the clear cut WR1 for the Bears offense heading into 2022. The Bears are currently 8th in vacated air yards which is where the speedy wideout excels. The big question is whether or not Fields and Mooney can take their chemistry to the next level. Mooney recorded fourteen 20+ yard receptions and three 40+ yard receptions in 2021. Two of his 40+ yard receptions were courtesy of Andy Dalton leaving only one deep ball connection between Fields and Mooney. This number will surely increase with Fields becoming the full-time start for 2022. However, Mooney’s fantasy production is far too reliant upon the deep ball plays to make him a trustworthy fantasy option week after week. There are two ways you can look at Mooney. You can bank on an increase in receptions from only 81 last season to improve his consistency, or you can fear opposing defenses will solely focus on shutting down Mooney and letting someone else on the Bears beat them.
Byron Pringle: Byron Pringle had as many 20+ yard receptions last season as DK Metcalf. Yes, they both had 11 apiece in 17 games played. Unfortunately, Pringle no longer has Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. However, the Kansas State product is waltzing into an offense with a 41% vacated target share. As of now, he is locked in as the WR2 behind Darnell Mooney. If Fields makes that sophomore jump and develops into a consistent passer who can feed at least two fantasy receivers, Pringle will top his previous career highs from last season.
Cole Kmet: Cole Kmet remarkably finished 2021 as the TE21 in half-point PPR without scoring one touchdown. The 23-year-old recorded 612 receiving yards which was the 12th most out of all tight ends in 2021. Positive touchdown regression is surely inevitable for the young tight end entering his second season with Justin Fields as his quarterback. Also, the Bears are tied for 12th for most vacated targets inside the 10 yard line with 11 according to 4For4. If Fields takes the next step in developing as a pocket passer, Kmet has the opportunity to gobble up plenty of targets. However, the stars truly need to align in order for Kmet to reach his upside and finish as a top 12 TE. It’s possible but hard to trust.
Owen Klukas is a fantasy-football enthusiast with over 10 years of experience playing the game. You can find more of his articles at Big O's Fantasy Guidance