2023 Fantasy Football Chicago Bears Preview

by Dennis Sosic
2023 Fantasy Football Chicago Bears Preview

Welcome Fantasy friends and foes to the continuation of the NFL Team Previews at Fantasy Six Pack as we tackle the 2023 Fantasy Football Chicago Bears Preview.

The Chicago Bears earned the top pick of the 2023 NFL Draft by losing their final ten games last season. However, general manager Ryan Poles made the right move in trading the pick for quite a haul from the Carolina Panthers. The haul included four draft picks and the player he insisted upon in return, wide receiver D.J. Moore.

With their haul of picks, the Bears can build around their electrifying quarterback Justin Fields. Their offense was abysmal even with Fields' heroics, ranking last in almost every team offensive stat. The defense was not much better, leading to the Bears in negative game scripts in most of their games last season.

Will Justin Fields develop into a legit NFL passer? How long before Fields and Moore build chemistry? Which running back emerges as the lead back? The answers to these questions and much more can be found in the 2023 Fantasy Football Chicago Bears Preview.

2023 Fantasy Football Chicago Bears Preview

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Quarterbacks

There has been plenty of chatter regarding Justin Fields and his ability to play quarterback in the NFL. Critics refer to Fields as him being just a running back who plays quarterback. He had a historic season as a rusher from behind center last season. Fields became only the third quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards,  finishing with 1,143 rushing yards and eight touchdowns despite missing two games.

When Fields arrived in Chicago, the Bears possessed minimal offensive talent. He was forced to play on the worst offense in the league. His offensive line was not protecting him, and his receivers couldn't get open, so he ran to save his life and to make plays.

Ironically, Fields was a pass-first quarterback at Ohio State, completing 68.5 percent of his passes and producing 67 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. However, the naysayers jump on the former Buckeye, who has completed just 59.7 percent of his career passes for 4,112 yards with 24 touchdowns to 21 interceptions in his first two seasons.

Fields has exhibited progress and needs to improve and take the next step as a passer. Luckily, help is on its way in the form of building the offensive line with two new starters in veteran guard Nate Davis and drafting tackle Darnell Wright with the No. 10 overall pick. In conjunction with head coach Matt Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, Fields will also have new offensive weapons in wide receiver D.J. Moore and an entire season with wide receiver Chase Claypool and the return of Darnell Mooney from injury. The backfield has also been revamped, which bodes well for the offense to be more consistent and productive this season.

The fantasy ceiling of Fields is high as the top three fantasy quarterbacks. Encouraging news from camp has signified his improvement, which should allow fantasy managers to waive any concerns that Fields will fall off from the top ten quarterback range. Instead, look for Fields to challenge for the top spot among quarterbacks.

Running Backs

Gone is David Montgomery, who went to division rival Detroit Lions. Montgomery finished as RB21 last season when he produced 1,117 total scrimmage yards and seven total touchdowns. The Bears brought in D'Onta Foreman as a free agent to take over the rushing role in the offense. Foreman rushed for 914 yards and five scores as the Panthers featured back last season. Foreman is a no-nonsense type of runner who will give you the tough yards but is non-existent in the passing game, with only five receptions last season. Look for Foreman to have a sizable role in the Bears' offense in 2023.

Khalil Herbert had flashed potential, including averaging 5.7 yards per carry last season when he worked with Montgomery in the Bears backfield. However, he has yet to take the featured back reins in his two seasons in Chicago. And he will be hard-pressed to tilt the scales this season.

The Bears also added Roschon Johnson in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. While Johnson sat behind Bijan Robinson at Texas, his talents still shined through and displayed enough potential to be selected and projected to have a pass-catching role with the Bears. Neither Foreman nor Herbert provides any firepower in the passing game, but Johnson exhibited enough in college and the camp that he will be utilized in the passing game. Johnson is a sleeper in deep PPR leagues and a high-valued target in dynasty leagues.

Travis Homer showed promise with the Seattle Seahawks, but there are too many mouths to feed in this backfield.

Wide Receivers

The Bears desperately needed to improve their wide receiver group and get Justin Fields a WR1. The Bears accomplished their goal by acquiring D.J. Moore in the massive trade with the Carolina Panthers for the number one overall pick. General Manager Ryan Poles insisted on having Moore included in the trade, and the Panthers finally gave in.

Moore produced three consecutive seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards before seeing that streak end last season with only 888 receiving yards. However, Moore did record a career-high seven touchdowns, which is quite an accomplishment considering the Panthers' erratic quarterback play last season. Moore is one of the top wideouts in the league, and he will get to display his talents even more in Chicago as he develops chemistry with Fields. A high-end WR2 is definitely in the range of outcomes for Moore this season.

Chase Claypool was a complete bust last season. Claypool came over from the Pittsburgh Steelers before the trade deadline last season, and he struggled to get familiar with the offense and even looked completely lost running routes out there. The Bears are looking for vast improvement from Claypool this season with a whole camp under his belt. Claypool is a dart-throw draft pick for fantasy managers.

Darnell Mooney suffered a broken ankle in Week 12, ending his 2022 season. Mooney struggled out of the gate last season and never stepped into the WR1 role Fields needed. Mooney has big-play ability and is best suited as the WR2/3 for the Bears' offense. Fantasy managers should look at Mooney in best ball formats only.

The Bears added more speed to their wide receiver group with their fourth-round selection of Cincinnati's Tyler Scott. Scott ran a 4.39 40-yard dash on his pro day. The speedster was turning heads at camp and could be in line for a few game-breaking plays in each game. Best Ball managers, take note.

Tight Ends

Cole Kmet emerged as Justin Fields' most reliable target last season. Kmet led the Bears in receptions (50), receiving yards (544), and receiving touchdowns (seven) last season. The former Golden Domer finished as the TE7 the previous season and produced those numbers on a putrid Bears offense that finished last in multiple offensive categories.

The Bears did have significant offensive weapons for an offense desperate for playmakers. Kmet might not see the volume he saw last season, but there is zero doubt he will continue to be a TE1 for fantasy managers in 2023.

After five seasons with the Green Bay Packers, the Bears signed Robert Tonyan via free agency this offseason. His claim to fantasy fame was the 11 touchdowns he produced in 2020, which probably helped plenty of fantasy managers win their championships that season.

Since then, Tonyan has been overdrafted and made two scores in his last seasons. Injuries have played a part in his decreasing production, but so has the fact that the 2020 season was an outlier that the fantasy manager should not chase, including this season with the Bears.

The Final Verdict

The Chicago Bears chose wisely in building around Justin Fields. Fields continues to impress in camp with his play and leadership. The Bears need Fields to improve his passing mechanics and decision-making, which was made easier with better weapons around Fields.

My prediction? D.J. Moore produces a career season, and Claypool proves that last season's trade was not so one-sided.

The Bears can be a Wild Card team in 2023 with improved offense and defense moves.


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