Darnell Mooney

Darnell Mooney dubbed best bet to be Bears’ non-QB MVP

Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney isn’t getting the kind of positive press as many of the league’s top young wide receivers, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a huge year in 2022.

Mooney established himself as a viable WR1 in 2021. He ended the year with 81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns. Those aren’t eye-popping stats, but Mooney’s numbers should be applauded. He played for a team that suffered through part of the year with Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback.

With quarterback Justin Fields entering his second year in the league, all signs point toward Mooney topping his 2021 stat line. Fantasy football managers should take notice.

Mooney’s upside is so high that NFL.com recently named him the best bet to be the Chicago Bears’ non-QB MVP.

“The Fields-Mooney combo finished the season with an average of 13.4 air yards per attempt, 11th-most among all QB-WR duos, per Next Gen Stats, and just a tick ahead of Russell Wilson-DK Metcalf,” NFL.com’s Kevin Patra wrote. “With Fields the surefire starter entering Year 2, the Bears are counting on Mooney to reach new heights for the offense to flourish under coordinator Luke Getsy. Everything suggests he’s ready to meet that challenge.”

Mooney is a good bet to eclipse 100 catches, 1,250 yards, and approach eight or more touchdowns this year. A season like that would qualify as a breakout year for the former fifth-round pick of the 2020 NFL draft.

Darnell Mooney is setting up nicely for a massive contract extension from general manager Ryan Poles. He’s already one of the GM’s favorite players on the roster. Poles referenced Mooney throughout the offseason as the type of guy he wants in the locker room. If his on-field progression continues, his combination of off-field intangibles and gameday production will make it an easy decision to lock him up on a long-term deal.

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