For all the negative press around the Chicago Bears and quarterback Justin Fields this offseason, there remains some optimism that the second-year quarterback can live up to the expectations that came along with being a first-round pick in 2021.
Unfortunately, that optimism exists in fantasy football. Not ‘real’ football.
ESPN recently published a list of 10 intriguing second-year players for fantasy football in 2022, and Fields made the cut. Matt Bowen provided the analysis:
“Fields enters the 2022 season with an offensive roster lacking in proven difference-makers. There is fantasy upside here, however, given the playmaking element he brings to the position. In ’21, Fields rushed for 420 yards in just 12 games played, and he scored at least 16 fantasy points in four of his final five starts. With an anticipated pass game that should lean on play-action/misdirection to open second- and third-level windows, along with Fields’ ability to create as a runner, the Bears’ second-year quarterback has late-round potential in your drafts.”
At least that’s something positive, right?
Fields and the Bears have been the butt of most offseason jokes. Chicago’s failure to add a big-name wide receiver has the offense viewed as a wasteland. Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, and rookie Velus Jones Jr. don’t inspire much confidence, and it’s understandable why. But as Bowen pointed out, Fields’ skill set is unique. He can make things happen on his own because of how athletically gifted he is. There are plenty of examples throughout NFL history of quarterbacks who’ve succeeded with average receivers because of their athletic prowess. Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson immediately come to mind, and their offenses were (and are) pretty darn good.
Justin Fields’ upside, both in fantasy and reality, is immense. And it’s because of that upside that the Chicago Bears are being sorely underrated. It’s a good position for a young team to be in, though. It’s better to overachieve than underachieve, and that’s what the Bears have an opportunity to accomplish in 2022.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today.