The Chicago Bears snatched defeat from the jaws of...oh, you’re sick of hearing that line, too? Well, then you know they lost. It’s hard to imagine just how demoralized this team must be, but if sports fanhood tells you anything, it’s that once you hit your bottom, the bottom can always fall out.
From a fantasy perspective, Justin Fields was a popular candidate for bench point frustration this week, as many fantasy owners saw his performances in the first three weeks and decided to promote another fantasy quarterback. Against the Broncos, Fields turned in his most productive game of the season and the third-most productive of his career, fantasy-wise, despite only running 4 times for 25 yards. Considering his high fantasy value as a mobile quarterback last year, this was the exact performance we’ve been convinced was coming for so long. Will it continue?
Speaking of a low-volume running game, Denver devoured most of the rushing attack the Bears hoped to have with their backs, with Khalil Herbert the only one to really get going with 103 yards on 18 carries. If the trend of using Herbert for more than 75% of the snaps continues, that nullifies rookie Roschon Johnson’s fantasy prospects.
Chase Claypool, the Bears co-WR2 (if that makes any sense), was a healthy scratch against Denver after giving a short-but-damning response to a reporter question last Friday. Personally, I don’t disagree with the assertion that the Bears haven’t used him correctly, but the lack of self-awareness jumps out at the reader/watcher, and you wonder how much of that attitude has bled onto his on-field play. That leaves the Bears with two receivers worth considering in fantasy football: DJ Moore and Darnell Mooney. Moore put together his best performance as a Chicago Bear last Sunday, and it was clear that Justin Fields was looking his way early and often with 9 targets. He hauled in 8 of those for 131 yards and a score. Mooney was a clear second option, perhaps even third behind Cole Kmet, with 4 targets after a couple disappointing weeks seeing little action. Bears fans will remember last year’s game against Washington, where Mooney juggled a would-be touchdown on fourth down with less than a minute left in the game as the Bears lost 12-7. Could this be a revenge game?
As for tight end Cole Kmet, his two touchdowns boost what was otherwise a pretty standard busy day with 9 targets and 74% of the snaps. He hauled in 7 of those passes for 85 yards, so it fell short of a breakout game, but he needs to be rostered in fantasy football moving forward.
Let's look at what three major Fantasy Football websites have to say about the Bears players:
After three pedestrian efforts to start the season, Fields rewarded fantasy managers, completing 28-of-35 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns. While he did have two costly turnovers which cost the Bears the game, Fields is in play as a low-end QB1 for Week 5 against a Commanders defense that has allowed the third most points per game this season.
Fields had the Bears offense clicking on all cylinders during a first half that culminated with Chicago holding a 21-7 lead. Those first two quarters included a nifty 29-yard touchdown throw to DJ Moore on which the receiver made an excellent catch along the right sideline in the end zone, along with 22- and three-yard scoring tosses to Cole Kmet on which Fields used his mobility to buy time. The talented signal-caller’s final touchdown — and the Bears’ final points — would come on a two-yard pass to Khalil Herbert with 4:11 remaining in the third quarter, as Chicago subsequently punted once, had a Fields’ fumble returned for a game-tying touchdown and saw the quarterback toss a game-ending interception at the Broncos’ 36-yard line. Despite the unfavorable outcome, Fields’ breakout may serve as a launchpad after a relatively quiet first three games of the season, and he and the Bears will have a chance to try and wash away the bad taste from Sunday’s loss when they face the Commanders on the road on Thursday night in Week 5.
Fields had a career day throwing the football against the atrocious Denver defense in Week 4. However, it still did not lead to a victory, as the Bears fell to 0-4 after surrendering a 21-point, third-quarter lead. For fantasy purposes, those who have stuck with Fields were rewarded for their patience Sunday afternoon. The dual-threat QB still isn’t running around as much as fantasy managers would like, but he has now eclipsed 200 passing yards in three of four games while accounting for eight total touchdowns.
Herbert topped the century mark in rushing yards for the first time this season in Week 4, compiling 103 yards on 18 carries. He also caught four of five targets for 19 yards and a touchdown. However, Herbert faces a tougher defense in Week 5 against the Commanders on Thursday night, dropping him to flex status.
Herbert took advantage of a highly exploitable matchup against a short-handed Broncos defense while logging season highs in carries and receiving yards. The third-year back was encouragingly the clear leader in rushes for the Bears after splitting work fairly closely with rookie Roschon Johnson over the first three games, outpacing his teammate by 13 totes Sunday. Given Herbert’s performance, it’s likely he spearheads the backfield in a Week 5 road matchup against the Commanders on Thursday night.
Following three mostly pedestrian performances to begin the season, Herbert delivered a strong effort in Week 4. The third-year back was key to the Bears grabbing a 28-7 lead midway through the third quarter, making rookie Roschon Johnson an afterthought in the offense. With this output, Herbert is clearly ahead of his running mate in the Bears’ backfield heading into Week 5.
Game flow did not favor Johnson in Week 4 as he collected the fewest snaps and generated the lowest production of his rookie season. That said, as the No. 2 running back on an offense where Justin Fields also contributes to the ground game, Johnson has a lot of work to do before entering the fantasy chat.
Johnson is often used as the passing-game running back when the Bears trail, but since the team led until that latter stages of the game, he saw significantly less work than Khalil Herbert. Despite his light usage in this contest, Johnson should have a good chance of seeing closer to 10 touches in a significant number of games as Chicago is likely to be trailing frequently this season.
Just a week after being the first running back used by the Bears, Johnson was outshined by Khalil Herbert in every facet Sunday. Herbert racked up over 120 yards of total offense and a touchdown while Johnson disappeared from the offensive gameplan as the game proceeded. Herbert clearly has a leg up on the rookie in the pecking order of the Bears’ backfield right now.
Moore finally had a breakout game in Week 4, tallying eight receptions for 131 yards and a score, but the Bears fell short, losing 31-28 to the Broncos. Moore is in a favorable position to post another strong effort in Week 5 against a Washington secondary yielding the fifth-most points per game to wideouts. Consider Moore a WR3 with upside for Thursday night.
Moore comfortably set the pace for the Bears in receiving yards while tying with Cole Kmet for the lead in targets as well. The veteran wideout’s touchdown grab was a thing of beauty along the right sideline in the end zone in the first quarter from 29 yards, and all of his receptions, receiving yardage and target totals were his best of the season. Moore will certainly be a primary beneficiary if Justin Fields can continue to perform as he did for most of Sunday’s four-touchdown effort, and the duo will look to remain hot in a Week 5 Thursday night matchup on the road against the Commanders.
Moore eclipsed 100 yards for the second time in three weeks while setting a new season high in both receptions and yards in Week 4. The Broncos’ secondary is the weakest in the league right now, and the Bears’ top receiver took full advantage. Moore should be viewed within the WR2 range headed into a matchup with the Commanders on Thursday.
After two straight games without a reception, Mooney handled all four of his Week 4 targets for 51 yards. While the bounce back is encouraging, Mooney has yet to display the consistent level of production necessary to be invited to the fantasy party.
With Chase Claypool a healthy scratch. Mooney served as the clear No. 2 wide receiver behind DJ Moore. However, Mooney’s role led to him seeing just four of Justin Fields’ 35 pass attempts. On the season, Mooney has posted at least 51 yards in two of four games, but his upside may be limited if the Bears’ offense can’t maintain the production it showed against Denver.
After sitting out Week 2 and being limited in Week 3 due to injury, Mooney was back in his Robin to DJ Moore’s Batman role in the Bears’ passing game Sunday against the Broncos’ weak secondary. Mooney matched his four grabs from the last time he was healthy in Week 1 while coming in just shy of the 53 yards. This is a reasonable weekly output expectation for Mooney going forward.
Kmet took advantage of a porous Broncos pass defense with seven catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. He will likely experience more resistance in Week 5 against a Commanders defense that has allowed the fewest points per game to tight ends this season. Even so, Kmet is in the streaming neighborhood as his floor will keep him involved.
Kmet was second in receptions and receiving yards on the afternoon for Chicago with what were also season-high figures. The fourth-year pro’s pair of scoring grabs, which came from 22 and three yards out in the second quarter, featured some nifty work from Kmet in conjunction with Justin Fields. Kmet typically has a handful of productive games per season, so Sunday’s numbers aren’t a complete surprise. They also may not be easily replicable, but Kmet will aim to carry his momentum over into a Week 5 Thursday night matchup against the Commanders.
Kmet caught half of Justin Fields’ career-high four TD tosses Sunday afternoon, as the tight end enjoyed his biggest performance of the season to date. Kmet has now hauled in at least four passes in three of four weeks and remains a fringy TE for fantasy purposes. Still, he displayed quite a ceiling Sunday and, for that alone, he is at least worth a bench spot in standard-depth leagues.
On the season, Santos has four field goals and four extra points, giving him an average of four points per game. Unless the Chicago offense takes a substantial step forward, Santos may not have enough scoring opportunities to be a reliable fantasy option in most leagues.
Santos has not been much of an option for fantasy lineups through the Bears’ offensive struggles over the first three weeks of the season. The Bears put together a strong offensive game against the Broncos’ struggling defense Sunday, but that led to Santos not getting a single shot at a field goal. He has been good, going 4 of 4 on field goals and 7 of 7 on extra points so far. However, the Bears’ inconsistent offense just cannot be counted on to give Santos ample opportunities to put points on the board.
What do you think? Did the so-called fantasy experts get it right with these outlooks? In my humble opinion, the gotta-have-it drive at the end of the Broncos game was leaning extremely heavily toward DJ Moore, even while he was focused on so heavily by the defense. When they went away from him, a miscue ended in an interception. The Bears are likely to increase his targets, and for a guy already averaging more than 7 targets over the past three games, that will be a fun fantasy watch.
The Bears travel to Washington to take on the Commanders on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at 7:15 PM Central Time.