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2023 Player Outlooks: Chicago Bears

By Colby Cavaliere | 7/24/23 |

Justin Fields

QB Justin Fields
(2022 QB Rank - No.10, 22.8 FPts/G)

After a disaster of a rookie season and a regime change in Chicago, there was legit talk of the Bears moving on from Fields. They eventually stuck with the inexperienced Ohio State product and watched him literally run circles around the NFL in his second season. Finishing seventh in the league with 1,143 yards rushing, Fields was very likely a league winner waiver wire pickup for more than a few fantasy squads. But while he dazzled as a runner there still is much work to be done as a passer.

While not exactly flush with receiving talent, Fields still did have some decent weapons in Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. Yes, those three pale in comparison to the talent he threw to as a Buckeye, but Fields continued to be incredibly raw as a passer. In his 588 NFL attempts heís struggled to complete 60% of his throws, and while he remains an elite athlete that is in desperate need of more reps, my concern is that he might be developing pocket habits that will be hard to break. His 160 rush attempts from 2022 were second only to Jalen Hurts, but many of Fieldsí attempts were out of self-preservation. Unable to get to his 2nd or 3rd reads because of pressure (perceived or real), Fields didnít spend much time in the pocket. His 318 passing attempts were over 400 fewer than league leader Tom Brady!

Itís unlikely that Fields will be able to replicate the rushing totals from 2022, so heís going to have to take the next step as a passer to remain a top-10 fantasy option. Chicago has put a clear emphasis on upgrading around him, as they dealt for receiver D.J. Moore, drafted o-lineman Darnell Wright 10th overall, and added guard Nate Davis in free agency. The Bears have committed to developing Fields, and in his defense, he did improve his efficiency in the 2nd half of 2022. Heís locked in as the franchise signal caller and an incremental increase in his passing numbers to go with his elite rushing floor, make him a clear QB1 going forward.

RB DíOnta Foreman
(2022 RB Rank - No.35, 7.8 FPts/G)

After bouncing around the league the first few years of his career due to injury and lack of opportunity, Foreman made major fantasy waves last season on his way to a 203-914-5 line for the Panthers. Foremanís talent was never a question, as he had 2,000 rushing yard seasons both in high school and college at the University of Texas. Foreman flashed that rushing ability from Week 7 on, as he tallied five 100+ yard games for the Panthers over the final 11 games of the season. Despite showing out, the depressed market, his age, and one-dimensional game, the best Foreman could do was a one-year deal with the Bears. Unfortunately, he joins a crowded backfield, one that includes an incumbent, a 4th round rookie, and a quarterback who figures to be in the top 3 in rush attempts at his position. Because of lack of passing game versatility, and unclear path to touches, it's incredibly unlikely Foreman will see enough volume in 2023 to be as reliable an option as he was last season. Add him as an end of the bench RB 4/5 and hope for some backfield clarity.

RB Khalil Herbert
(2022 RB Rank - No.37, 8.4 FPts/G)

With Fields and the crowded running back room making the Chicago backfield a fantasy mess to avoid, Khalil Herbert is the one guy that I think has the most potential to strike gold. Much like Alexander Mattison in Minnesota, Herbert was stuck behind a vet, but when he saw starters' touches, he shined. Whatever the issue, Herbert was never given an opportunity to overtake David Montgomery last season despite being ultra efficient with a 5.7 yards-per-carry average on 129 carries. Like many teams in the NFL, Chicago has chosen to go young and cheap in the backfield, and I fully expect them to utilize a three-back rotation for most of the season. Chicago was 2nd in the NFL with 558 rushing attempts, but I expect that to drop this season as they ask Fields to take on more as a passer. While I donít think Herbert has much standalone value, his history of production when given starters touches makes him the highest upside of anyone in the backfield.

RB Roschon Johnson
(2022 RB Rank - N/A)

Stuck behind all-world talent Bijon Robinson at Texas, Johnson now finds himself in a logjam behind two veterans in the Bears backfield. Unfortunately, the 4th rounder will need things to fall his way to see many meaningful carries. The 6í2, 220-pound bruiser actually came to the Longhorns as a quarterback before switching positions as a freshman. Productive when given the opportunity, heís got 47 games of big-time college experience, and showed enough on tape as backup to be a middle round pick. While not draftable outside giant, or dynasty leagues, Johnson should be a waiver add if something happens to Herbert or Foreman.

WR D.J. Moore
(2022 WR Rank - No.20, 8.0 FPts/G)

One of fantasyís most reliable receivers over the past several seasons, Moore was shipped to Chicago for a draft pick this spring. While it might not be the best landing spot for his fantasy prospects, anything is better than what he endured last season with the Panthers quarterback carousel of nightmares. While his reception and yardage totals were his lowest since his rookie year, he still managed to produce a healthy 63-888-7 line. The seven scores were easily a career high, and he joins a Bears squad led by what should be a up and coming Justin Fields. Moore and Fields should challenge defenses vertically, and being the alpha receiver should also help Moore straddle that WR2/3 line. If you believe in Fields, Moore could end up being an amazing draft day value. If you donít, Moore falls off into solid, but uninspiring WR3 territory.

WR Darnell Mooney/Chase Claypool
(2022 WR Rank - No.76, 5.6 FPts/G; No.80 3.8 FPts/G)

Much like the muddy backfield, the receivers behind D.J. Moore have a volatile range of outcomes. Injuries, offensive philosophy, and being miscast as a WR1 all combined to torpedo Mooney last season. After an impressive 81-1055-4 line in his second NFL season, Mooney quickly tumbled off fantasy rosters after a dreadful start to 2022. He didnít score until Week 9, and his season ended with a nasty leg injury in Week 11. Claypool on the other hand was fully healthy, but failed to make any impact at all following his trade from Pittsburgh. The coaches blamed it on his limited knowledge of the playbook, but when quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield can win a game for the Rams the week he joined the team, I find mothballing Claypool for two months hard to believe. On an offense that will run more than it passes, Chicago will be hard pressed to support more than one or two fantasy pass catchers.

TE Cole Kmet
(2022 TE Rank - No.7, 5.7 FPts/G)

Seven touchdowns, and a smooth connection with his quarterback made Kmet a surprise top-10 fantasy option at tight end for the 2022 season. His seven scores were a big correction after he failed to find the endzone in 2021 despite hauling in 60 passes. The addition of Moore, and the presence of Money and Claypool are sure to eat into his looks, but he has the frame to be a force in the red zone, and if he can again fall into the 5-7 touchdown range, could find himself in the conversation as a low-end TE1.

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