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Player Outlooks (2023)
QB Justin Fields: Fields drew rave reviews in the spring for where he is at in his development, and the boosted supporting cast with D.J. Moore coming over from Carolina will make things much easier on the dual-threat quarterback. Last year, Fields was breaking records on the ground when he was fully unleashed as a runner, and he now enters Year 2 in Luke Getsy’s system with high confidence. Even if he doesn’t establish himself as a top-tier real-life passer, Fields has a very good shot at being a top-tier fantasy option based on his athleticism.
RB Khalil Herbert: The Bears have three running backs that could end up starting, but Herbert should be the favorite coming off a season in which he averaged 5.7 yards per carry and thrived when used in the lead role. Overall, the effectiveness of Justin Fields as a runner makes things easier on the Chicago backfield, and Herbert can have a stable role of 12 or so touches with upside for more if he shows well early.
RB Roschon Johnson: Bears general manager Ryan Poles said he has “no idea” how Johnson was available in the fourth round of April’s draft, and he also talked up the rookie as a guy that can thrive “when we get in December”—which is notable. He was stuck behind Bijan Robinson at Texas, but Johnson is a well-rounded option that can hold up in pass protection to get on the field early and often in Year 1.
RB D’Onta Foreman: Foreman has seemed to put his injury issues behind him after a torn Achilles suffered as a rookie derailed his career, and he broke out to lead the Carolina backfield after Christian McCaffrey was traded last year—including five 100-yard performances over the final 11 games. The Bears might decide to go with the younger duo of Herbert and Johnson, though, and Foreman is a runner that has thrived when given heavier workloads. This will be a backfield to watch very closely in August.
RB Travis Homer: Homer has played well when given the opportunity in Seattle over the past four seasons, but he’s probably the clear No. 4 on the depth chart and was signed to contribute on special teams more than anything else. The best path to fantasy value would be Chicago viewing him as a third-down option with more of the traditional pass-catching skillset compared to Herbert, Johnson, and Foreman.
WR D.J. Moore: There is a lot of excitement about Moore on a new squad, but will there be enough volume for him to have a big statistical year? Through five seasons in the league, Moore has finished as the WR40, WR13, WR22, WR20, and WR19, and Justin Fields—who has thrown for 152.3 yards per game to start his career—isn’t expected to suddenly throw it 600+ times in 2023. The real-life talent might outweigh the fantasy success for Moore with the Bears, especially with the offense getting much deeper based on the moves made this offseason.
WR Darnell Mooney: Mooney is an example of the risk investing in the not-so-pass-happy Chicago offense—starting last season with four receptions for 27 scoreless yards across the first three games. The numbers improved after that, but the Bears have three wideouts they will try to feature this year, and the production could be frustrating with Mooney already being limited to a modest 5.5 targets per game in 11 healthy appearances in 2022. He’ll need to hit on downfield upside to return WR3 value.
WR Chase Claypool: Chicago trading what basically amounted to a first-round pick (No. 32 overall) for Claypool didn’t see great early returns with 144 total yards and zero scores in seven games last year, and the path to a breakout could be difficult behind D.J. Moore and Darnell Mooney. The talent is at least there for a six-foot-four, 238-pound target that already has a season with double-digit scores under his belt, but Claypool needs to put everything together to find the promise he showed as a rookie.
WR Velus Jones: Jones struggled to find the field last season, but there might be reason to be encouraged with solid efficiency on his touches (seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown; nine carries for 103 yards and a touchdown). Still, he’s now entering his age-26 season after being a 25-year-old rookie, and Jones will need an injury to be more than the No. 4 wideout (at best) on a growing passing attack.
WR Tyler Scott: A fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati, Scott could be the future replacement for Darnell Mooney, and he’s a big-play threat that averaged 16.5 yards per reception in college. For this year, there probably isn’t a high likelihood of consistent fantasy value as more of a role player that can stretch the field when needed.
WRs Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis: St. Brown and Pettis were the No. 2 and No. 3 wide receiver, respectively, for much of 2022, but they would seem to be battling for one roster spot after Chicago added to the room over the past few months. St. Brown being talked up by the coaching staff for his work ethic, intelligence, and selflessness as a teammate could give him the edge (not to say Pettis might not have the same traits).
TE Cole Kmet: Kmet has developed into a terrific real-life player, but from a fantasy standpoint, there might simply be too many weapons to feed for the projected passing output to push Kmet up another notch. In addition to acquiring D.J. Moore, the Bears added Robert Tonyan this offseason, so Kmet may need to keep the touchdown total high (seven last season after two across his first two years) to climb into the TE1 ranks.
TE Robert Tonyan: Kmet is the no-doubt starter for Chicago, but Tonyan previously exploded for 11 touchdowns under Luke Getsy when they were together in Green Bay—so there is something there as a weekly flier in deeper leagues. If Kmet were to ever miss time, Tonyan could have TE2 appeal.
Best IDP value: DE Dominique Robinson
Robinson has all the talent to emerge as a standout pass rusher, and he already started seven games as a rookie despite being a prospect that was thought to need some polishing after beginning his college career as a wide receiver. If he put in the work this offseason, Robinson can take a huge leap in Year 2.
Stat to know (via draft guide)
Over his final ten games last season, Justin Fields rushed 118 times for 949 yards and seven touchdowns; those numbers would have given him a 17-game pace of 201 carries, 1,613 rushing yards, and 12 rushing touchdowns.