The 2022 Chicago Bears are a team on the precipice of a massive and much-needed overhaul. The franchise spectacularly hit the reset button during the offseason with the firing of both GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy on the same day following yet another disappointing season. Enter first-time GM Ryan Poles and his first Head Coaching selection Matt Eberflus.
With the trading of All-Pro Khalil Mack and the departure of several key veterans such as Allen Robinson and James Daniels, the rebuilding efforts are in full swing. With precious few exceptions, jobs are not safe heading forward in the Windy City. However, this does not mean there is no Dynasty value to be had on this squad. In this article, we will examine the offensive offering of the Bears to determine which players you want on your rosters for 2022 and moving forward.
No team in the NFL has been as historically bereft of quality quarterback play as the Chicago Bears. For a franchise that traces its lineage back to the founding of the league, it is amazing to consider they are the only team never to boast a 4,000-yard passer. Of all the players on the Bears roster, you would assume that second-year quarterback Justin Fields is one of the safest players on the roster.
Last season the previous regime surrendered a 2022 first-round pick along with their 2021 first to move up in the draft to select the former Ohio State standout. The fan base has universally greeted him as the signal caller who will finally end the dreaded streak of mediocre quarterback play. Only two quarterbacks in team history have made the Pro Bowl – Jim McMahon and Mitchell Trubisky.
Fields brings everything to the table that the fan base and dynasty community want in a quarterback. He is big, fast, and athletic, with an incredible work ethic and a strong arm to boot. Coming out of Ohio State, Fields excelled in Columbus after an early career transfer from Georgia. You can see Fields’ college stats below.
Fields was a prolific passer following his move north. He led Ohio State to a pair of Big 10 Titles and College football playoff berths. His game against Clemson in the 2021 Sugar Bowl will go down as one of the All-Time best Bowl game performances in College history. In that game, he threw for 385 yards and six TDs! He chipped in another 42 rushing yards to boot. Many in the NFL were drooling at the prospect of drafting Fields despite his less than stellar Championship game loss to Alabama. On the heels of his stellar college career, Fields went to the NFL combine and blew the roof off the building with his numbers which you can find below.
2021 was not what you would call a successful rookie season for Fields. Despite being traded up for in the first round, Fields began the season behind former Pro-Bowl quarterback Andy Dalton. In the face of calls from the media to go with Fields, former HC Matt Nagy stuck with the veteran at all costs. Even after Dalton suffered an injury, Nagy refused to tailor his offensive scheme to the uber-athletic Fields. The results were a mixture of some brilliant athletic plays by the quarterback and inept offensive game plans. You can see Fields’ numbers below.
Even after his rookie season, many in the NFL and Dynasty community still believe in Fields. He possesses an athletic skill set that few in the NFL can match. Unfortunately for Fields, 2022 may hold yet more difficult times as the team did little to upgrade their offensive personnel around him. New GM Ryan Poles is taking a long approach with his rebuild. Fields should likely remain in his plans, and dynasty owners should keep him in theirs as well. Just don’t expect consistent offensive production in 2022. You will, however, likely see displays of his brilliant gifts like the ones below.
Watch Justin Fields (@justnfields) avoid pressure and throw a perfect ball on the run to Darnell Mooney (@Darnell_M1).— Josh DeLuca (@JoshDeLuca4) July 8, 2022
The Fields to Mooney connection is going to be ELECTRIC ⚡️ in 2022 pic.twitter.com/psddzp3k9d
In summary, Justin Fields is the perfect QB2 for your Superflex leagues. He is certainly worth a first-round pick plus in this format. I also love him as a developmental quarterback in your single quarterback leagues. Few players at his position offer the rushing upside of Fields. As I said above, you might need to be patient with him. But, if you have said patience to play the long game, the reward could be well worth the effort.
Running back is one of the strongest positions on the entire Chicago offensive depth chart. 2019 third-round pick David Montgomery leads the way from this group. Last year’s sixth-round pick Khalil Herbert should fill in as the #2 and be joined in the running back room by Darrynton Evans and Trestan Ebner, who should fill complementary and special teams roles on the team. Ebner is a decent depth stash as the first running back drafted by the new regime, but Montgomery and Herbert are sure to be the stars of the show.
Montgomery has been the workhorse in the Chicago backfield since the team traded up in 2019 to select the former Iowa State star. In the college ranks, he was one of the best running backs in the entire nation. In fact, Monty forced the most missed tackles in a single season during his sophomore campaign. Oh, and by the way, his Junior season was also the second most forced missed tackles in a single season.
David Montgomery set the PFF record for total missed tackles forced this past season pic.twitter.com/ZGR4zXC3lE— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 21, 2018
Montgomery broke the record previously held by Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. As you can see below, he was a nightmare to bring down the running game and the passing game.
Since arriving in Chicago, Montgomery has been a yeoman type of player. Pegged initially to share the backfield with former All-Pro return man Tarik Cohen, Montgomery has been thrust into a three-down role the past couple of seasons. Despite a couple of injuries here and there, he has managed to handle significant workloads on teams with poor offensive line play. His career YPC has hovered around 4.0, which is not great, but given the state of the offense, help around him is not overly poor either.
2022 is a contract year for Montgomery. I expect to see the best he has to offer as he plays for his NFL future. It is fair to speculate whether the new front office will be willing to invest in the RB position so early in their rebuilding efforts moving forward. That doesn’t mean he won’t be back next year. He will be highly motivated to make plays like the ones you see below.
In dynasty, Montgomery makes for an excellent RB2 or RB3. He is guaranteed to see a heavy workload as the team is lacking at the wide receiver position and will likely seek to protect Fields with a run-heavy scheme for 2022. So Montgomery makes for the perfect combination of opportunity, skill, and desire. I am comfortable paying a first-round pick for him on your championship squads.
Herbert arrived in Chicago following a circuitous path through the college ranks. One that began in Kansas and was marked by meager success before being punctuated at Virginia Tech after switching programs as a graduate transfer. In his last season in Blacksburg, he left a definite impression on the Virginia Tech faithful, setting school records along the way. You can see his school single-game all-purpose yards record-breaking performance below.
Much like Montgomery, Herbert is a powerfully built runner with plenty of drive and the frame to take on a big workload. Some analysts and dynasty industry writers alike feel that Herbert will be the reason Chicago passes on resigning Montgomery. Last year, during his rookie campaign, Herbert flashed in a big way after early season injuries to Montgomery and veteran backup Damien Williams. He had the best game of any running back on the season against the ultra-stout Tampa Bay defense. You can see his four-game sample size below.
Given the uncertain nature of the Chicago roster moving forward and the way that he flashed in 2021, Herbert certainly carries some dynasty value. It is possible he could force his way into somewhat of a time-sharing situation this season with Montgomery. The Bears will be one of the most run-heavy teams in the league in the way of the offensive scheme. With all this said, I would put a mid to late second-round pick on Herbert. He is a very nice running back to roster on the dynasty bench heading into the season.
Next to the offensive line, wide receiver is the thinnest position on the Chicago depth chart. Darnell Mooney is the only player we can reasonably assume WR2 numbers. Behind last season’s breakout, there is a collection of players who are fighting for relevance. Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis, Isaiah Coulter, and others seemed destined to battle for special team roles. The three-way race behind Mooney for targets consists of Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., and N’Keal Harry. At least one of these players will have a chance to create meaningful fantasy production in 2022.
Mooney was selected in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft. The former Tulane standout impressed the previous regime with his speed and route running. He led the Green Wave in receiving yards in his last two seasons in college. His lack of big-time numbers seems to have been a product of the Tulane scheme as opposed to Mooney himself. You can see his stats below.
When you watch the film on Mooney, his speed immediately jumps off the page. He has an extra gear and can get separation from most defenders in the NFL. You can definitely see the 4.38 speed to put down at the combine on film. I personally see some early career, DeSean Jackson, in his game. His slight frame and speed make him a difficult cover for NFL corners. His size or lack thereof does not mean he will shy away from contact. You can see some of his college film below.
Mooney came into the NFL and immediately impacted the Chicago offensive stat sheet. He continued his upward trajectory by essentially taking the mantle of WR1 from a disgruntled Allen Robinson in 2021, putting up his first solid season. Despite the constant switching at quarterback, Mooney managed to produce an 81/1,055/4 stat line. He is the lone wide receiver on the roster to crack the 1,000-yard barrier. He is also the most familiar with Fields. Indeed, Fields’ big arm meshes perfectly with Mooney’s deep ball acumen. Below are a couple of excellent examples of the two connecting last year.
That was not a one-off clip. Check this one out.— SharpClarke (@SharpClarkeNFL) July 18, 2022
Mooney doesn’t score here because of crisp route-running and a timing throw.
Fields just creates enough time for Mooney to find a spot.
And Fields throws another dime on the run.
Despite his early career success, Mooney is still an excellent value in dynasty. He is currently valued as the WR32. Here at Dynasty Nerds, he checks in as WR36. That is some nice value for a player who is destined for a heavy target share on a lousy team who is destined to play a good amount of catchup throughout the season. I would be comfortable paying a late first-round pick for the Bear’s WR1
Behind Mooney, I see a group of three wide receivers fighting for targets. Those players are Pringle, Harry, and the rookie Jones. Each of these players brings something new to the table. In all likelihood, all three will get looks during the season.
Pringle was the splash WR signing by new GM Ryan Poles if you can call him a splash signing. Poles was familiar with Pringle from their time together in Kansas City. In fact, Poles was the one who scouted the former UFA. Pringle took several years to work his way onto the field in Kansas City. Last season he flashed some excellent playmaking ability. Making some nice plays like the one you see below.
Byron Pringle so cold 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/QJmyCgJT6X— Yellow Boiii (@yellow815) December 27, 2021
Another thing that Pringle brings to the table is culture. He has been around winning franchises and players his entire time in Kansas City. He will help to build that type of locker room in Chicago, whatever role he ends up with. As far as dynasty goes, Pringle is essentially free. Look on your waiver wire; there is a good chance he is there. You can do far worse than stashing Pringle on the end of your bench.
Next up in the Chicago wide receiver competition is former New England first-round pick, Harry. The former Arizona State star arrived in the NFL on the heels of an extremely successful collegiate career. He is big, strong, and plenty fast for his size. There is a good chance that if you went into a lab and designed the perfect wide receiver, he would come out looking something like Harry. However, despite all his physical gifts, he has not been able to translate his game to the NFL. If there were ever a player needing a fresh start, it is Harry. Chicago gave him that chance earlier this off-season when they agreed to trade a 2024 seventh-round pick for the disgruntled wide receiver.
While he hasn’t been able to put his game together in the NFL, that does not mean he hasn’t flashed his immense skill. Harry has the talent to be an excellent High Point wide receiver. None of the other wide receivers on the Chicago roster possess the imposing physical frame of Harry. While it has been highly inconsistent, he has flashed the ability to be that big-bodied possession wide receiver every team craves.
In all honesty I’m all for the N’Keal Harry trade. You don’t find 6’4, 220 lb wide receivers with that kind of college production in the 7th.— Joseph Herff (@JosephHerffNFL) July 12, 2022
Bears now got him and Equanimeous St. Brown competing for the big ‘X’ wide receiver. Hopefully one develops 😅pic.twitter.com/xb3KeGgtoK
One area that Harry has been successful at is blocking. According to PFF, he was the second highest graded blocking WR in the entire NFL in 2022. With the 2022 Chicago Bears likely being one of the most run-heavy teams in the league, this is a skill that will certainly play in Harry’s favor. You can’t have an opportunity to catch the ball if you aren’t on the field, and plays like the one below will certainly have Harry out there wreaking havoc on defenders.
N’Keal Harry hasn’t yet impressed in the receiving game, but he’s always provided value in the run game.— Josh DeLuca (@JoshDeLuca4) July 13, 2022
His 84.7 run blocking grade in 2021 was second amongst WR’s. #DaBears pic.twitter.com/hZV2FiGnto
As with Pringle, Harry is almost free. The news of his trade has likely caused him to be scooped up in many leagues, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still acquire him on the cheap. A search of the Dynasty Nerds trade finder shows Harry being acquired for a couple of late-round picks post-trade. At that price, he could certainly be worth the gamble.
The last and possibly most likely Robin Hood to Mooney’s Batman is rookie third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. The former USC and Tennessee standout has one thing that all offensive play callers crave, speed. Jones was the second fastest WR at the 2022 NFL combine, blazing a 4.31 40!
Most draft analysts around the league had the Bears pegged to select a wide receiver with one of their two second-round picks due to the depleted nature of their wide receiver room. However, that didn’t happen, and Jones ended up being GM Ryan Poles’ first wide receiver selected in the third round. He is a special team dynamo who can be a nightmare for defenders with the ball in his hands. There is some Devin Hester to his game in the fact he took some time to find his way as a true wide receiver. However, like Hester, his skills were so dynamic that teams found ways to get the ball in his hands because of plays like below.
I could go on for some time about the fantastic value that I believe Jones presents at this time. In fact, I recently wrote an entire article on him for Dynasty Nerds, which you can find right here.
While there is little doubt that Mooney will lead the 2022 Chicago Bears in targets, there is also little doubt that tight end Cole Kmet will finish second on that list. The former second-round pick out of Notre Dame has flashed his dynamic skill set over his first two seasons in the NFL. During that time, he was also capped by future Hall of Famer Jimmy Graham. Graham was one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league and, as a result, was on the field more than his level of play warranted. With Graham now out of town, Kmet appears destined for a third-year breakout.
The primary reason to expect a breakout in 2022 from Kmet is opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. Of all the current starters on the offense, Kmet has the second most career receiving yards. He also has the benefit of chemistry with the starting quarterback. Kmet was literally the second option last season despite having to cede time to Graham. He was second on the team in targets, catches, and yards. You can see his numbers below.
Kmet is one of my favorite up-and-coming tight ends. He has the talent, draft pedigree, trust of the quarterback, and role in the offense to ascend to a TE1. If he has some positive touchdown regression and picks up the scores Jimmy Graham put up in 2020, he will be a TE1. based on that alone. You can see from the clip below that he has the body and feel to be a true red zone target. For a more detailed breakdown of Kmet, check out my Dynasty Nerds profile on his upcoming breakout here.
The 2022 Chicago Bears will be a team searching for a new identity. New head coach Eberflus and Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy will undoubtedly have some growing pains in their first season. The Bears are not a loaded offense per see, but that does not mean they are bereft of dynasty value. It is all about value and cost; right now, most of the skill players on the Bears roster are decent values for your dynasty teams. The players that survive the 2022 season will likely be cemented into long-term roles, and the difficult rebuild beginning this year will lead to plenty of catchup football and a positive game script for fantasy points. Chicago players could well be garbage time kings in 2022. It’s all about value. Take due notice thereof and govern yourself accordingly.
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