The Chicago Bears continue to dig their hole, now sitting at 0-3 and showcasing a myriad of defects on both sides of the ball. The offseason’s second-coming, quarterback Justin Fields, pledged to play more freely against Kansas City, and he said this week that he felt he did.
He had his worst fantasy football performance of the year, and continued his bad streak of interceptions, now 4 games straight throwing at least one pick, going back to last year. This past week against the Chiefs, he wasn’t the big play machine running the ball that he was last year, averaging just 4.2 yards per carry on 11 carries. Without much production through the ground or air, it’s a rough life for fantasy football owners who drafted him over a solid flex.
The running back situation would be much better if the Bears were playing closer games, so a week 4 matchup against the Denver Broncos has some promise. Still, neither Khalil Herbert nor Roschon Johnson have yet to put together solid production to trust in a starting fantasy lineup, and the Bears have a bad tendency to get in their own way with the game plan, and it’s killing everybody’s stats. Herbert saw 7 carries against KC, while Johnson saw 8, so Fields remains their top rushing option, and it doesn’t bode well for fantasy owners of the running backs.
DJ Moore is open. So why is he a risky play at the flex? Because Fields can’t even eclipse the 100 yard passing mark, and even when he puts a throw right on the money down the sideline, Moore drops it. It’s rough to watch this team do everything wrong. Darnell Mooney saw 1 target on 36 snaps, so he may not even be worth the bench spot in fantasy football. That makes Claypool an interesting development, with 44 (86%) of the snaps and 4 targets putting him on the radar. “Interesting” is doing a heavy lifting there, so like most Bears, he’s not worth starting yet.
Cole Kmet at tight end is a below-average play, but like most years, there are maybe 5 great tight ends in the league, and Kmet just isn’t one of them. Through three games he’s the 16th highest-scoring tight end, so he’ll need touchdowns to help fantasy owners out. And the Bears are simply not scoring enough touchdowns.
Let's look at what three major Fantasy Football websites have to say about the Bears players:
Fields’s poor start to the season worsened in Week 3 as he completed just 11 of 22 attempts for 99 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Fields added 47 yards on 11 carries, but his overall production was below par. Trust the process and stick with Fields, especially since Week 4 could prove to be the elixir with the Bears hosting the Broncos defense, just splashed by the Dolphins for 70 points in Week 3.
Fields’ disappointing start to the season worsened after he failed to break the century mark in passing yards despite playing every offensive snap Sunday. All the blame can’t be placed on the third-year starter, as his offensive line looked outmatched, and his top wideout DJ Moore dropped the only accurate deep ball thrown all game. The silver lining for Fields was his even TD:INT ratio against Kansas City after turning the ball over six times in his previous two starts. Fields’ next chance to salvage his depleted fantasy value comes in a matchup between winless teams when Chicago hosts Denver next Sunday.
Fields has averaged 2.3 designed runs per game this season after averaging 4.8 per game in 2022
Herbert collected only seven carries for 31 yards along with a pair of catches for four yards in Week 3. Not only is the Bears offense in hibernation to begin the season, but Herbert is in a backfield timeshare with Roschon Johnson. Even with a favorable Week 4 matchup against an Broncos defense coming off Week 3 where they yielded four touchdowns to two different Miami running backs, Herbert doesn’t merit fantasy consideration.
Herbert continued splitting backfield duties with Roschon Johnson (8-38-0), receiving nine combined touches to the latter’s 10. Neither back stood out on the stat sheet, and it appears that Chicago will continue its backfield time-share for the foreseeable future. The reduced workload limits Herbert’s fantasy potential ahead of next Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos.
Khalil Herbert has not lived up to draft day cost. There is no clear path to getting there either given the current utilization of this offense.
He is almost splitting the snaps evenly with Roschon Johnson
Only 2 of the 10 red zone rush attempts. Justin Fields and Johnson eat into these more than you’d like.
Get’s half the 3rd down snaps (50%)
Only 32.4% of all the Bears’ rush attempts and if you only look at running back carries he only gets 51.1% of those.
Ultimately, it is difficult to bank on a player with limited opportunities in a bad offense with a run-first quarterback.
Johnson started in Week 3, carrying eight times for 38 yards to go along with two receptions for 11 yards. Johnson may have started, but for the second straight game Khalil Herbert garnered more snaps and they split the workload. Johnson may emerge as the lead back, but until he does, he’s sitting in the fantasy waiting room.
Johnson continued to split backfield work with Khalil Herbert (7-31-0) after usurping veteran D’Onta Foreman on the depth chart last week. The fourth-round rookie didn’t finish with a gaudy stat line, but he was efficient when called upon (4.8 YPC). It is worth noting that he was the first back deployed Sunday, indicating his growing trust from a coaching staff looking for answers after an 0-3 start. It will be interesting to see if Johnson’s role continues to increase as the season progresses. For now, he should continue to split work with Herbert against the Broncos next Sunday.
Johnson has also seen a mild bump in his playing with 42-45% of the snaps over the last two weeks while averaging eight touches and 45.5 total yards. Among 59 qualifying backs, Johnson is 43rd in missed tackles forced per attempt and 24th in yards after contact per attempt. With Johnson losing the route and red zone battle to Herbert, it’s tough to trust him in lineups on limited volume. The matchup is juicy, with Denver giving up the tenth-highest yards per carry to zone (4.58) in Weeks 1-2 (Johnson 52.8% zone). Week 4 Positional Value: RB4
Moore posted three catches for 41 yards and a score in Week 3 which may seem pedestrian but considering QB Justin Fields completed only 11 passes for 99 yards, Moore’s production constituted a huge portion. In Week 4, the Bears offense faces a vulnerable Broncos defense, boding well for Moore’s stat line. Plan on WR3 level numbers, but don’t be surprised if Moore exceeds that.
Moore cashed in his first touchdown with the Bears on the team’s final offensive drive of an ugly loss Sunday. Garbage-time scores count all the same in fantasy, giving the wideout his second consecutive quality line after going for 104 yards last week. He did leave a chunk of yards on the table on a deep pass attempt from Justin Fields that was dropped by the normally sure-handed receiver. Moore will draw a tough matchup against shutdown corner Patrick Surtain when the Bears face the Broncos next Sunday.
Moore has a 15.9% Target share and a 33.7% air yard share. He has amassed 1.70 YPRR with a strong 27.5% first-read share. Moore popped off with a 100-yard receiving day in Week 2 and secured a touchdown in Week 3. The signs of life in this passing attack are difficult to see at times. Moore remains a talented player, but he’s stuck inside of what looks like a broken offense. Moore will run about 83% of his routes against Pat Surtain lll (61.5% catch rate and 122.3 passer rating) and Damarri Mathis (85.7% catch rate and 151.3 passer rating). Moore has accounted for 32.3% of the Bears’ receiving yards. He’s the only Chicago wide receiver that can be started currently. Week 4 Positional Value: WR3/4
Claypool has taken over as the Bears No. 2 wide receiver, but the passing offense through three weeks has generated the third fewest yards per game, hindering Claypool’s production. Even with a favorable Week 4 matchup at home against Denver, Claypool doesn’t make the fantasy cut.
Claypool was second on the team with four targets, but the Chicago offense was unable to move the ball until the Chiefs brought in their defensive backups late in the game. Although Claypool has seen increased snaps since Week 1, the anemic passing game may limit his potential to have consistent production.
Despite seeing the second most targets on the team Sunday, Claypool continues to struggle to make plays. The Bears’ offense continues to struggle and has yet to show any signs of improvement. Fantasy managers can confidently drop Claypool to the waiver wire.
Week 3 marked the second consecutive game Mooney failed to register a catch. In Week 2 he left early with an injury but in Week 3 he played 36 snaps but garnered just one target. Mooney has a lot of work to do before reentering the fantasy realm.
After leaving last week’s game with a bruised knee, Mooney was seventh on the team with one target. Unless his role increases and the Bears’ passing attack improves, Mooney may not have the upside he showed earlier in his career.
Kmet handled both of his Week 3 targets for 22 yards in the Bears 41-10 loss to the Chiefs. The Bears passing game has yet to get going, with Kmet’s production one of the casualties. Until Chicago’s passing game picks up, there are better options for tight end fantasy points.
In a game during which Justin Fields threw for just 99 yards, Kmet was second on the team with his 22 yards. Going into this game, the Bears passed for at least 200 yards in their previous two contests, so Kmet should return closer to the 41 yards he was averaging. However, the lack of scoring by the team’s offense could limit Kmet’s touchdown upside.
Kmet has a 15.9% Target share and 19.8% of the team’s receiving yardage. Among 32 qualifying tight ends, he ranks ninth in receiving grade and ninth in YPRR. Denver has allowed the 12th-lowest receiving yards to tight ends, but they have been gashed for the second-highest yards per reception. Week 4 Positional Value: TE2
Santos is averaging just five points per game as the Chicago offense struggles to put points on the board. Unless the team can solve its offensive woes, Santos will remain a low-upside fantasy option.
Santos was not the problem for Chicago on Sunday, and he has been serviceable for them through the first three weeks. The Bears are going to be one of the worst offenses in the NFL all season long, relegating Santos to waiver-wire status in all but the deepest of fantasy formats. By deepest we mean 16-to-18-man kickers-only leagues.
What do you think? Did the so-called fantasy experts get it right with these outlooks? In my humble opinion, Roschon Johnson has been a good candidate to stash on the bench until now. His average of 9 touches per game should increase, and they should be in more competitive matchups moving forward, leading to more running back work. Look for decent flex value from Johnson moving forward.
The Bears host the Broncos on Sunday, October 1, 2023, at Noon Central Time.