NFL Splits Tool: Was Justin Fields Better for the Bears Offense?


With training camp on the horizon, our eyes can truly turn toward the season to come, preparing for fantasy football drafts and looking forward to what we need to know for 2022. With that in mind, all summer long, I’ll be using our FTN Fantasy Splits Tool to look at some of the key situations to know for the season. 


The Splits Tool allows you to experiment with situations with active/inactive players, spreads, locations and more to help you with everything you need for your fantasy football season. Sign up for an FTN Fantasy subscription now to experiment with the tool as you prepare for your season.

The New Era

After selecting Mitch Trubisky second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears decided to move on from the four-year signal caller. They replaced Trubisky by signing former Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract in 2021. The Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy era were seemingly all over in Chicago until the 2021 NFL Draft. The Bears were able to maneuver their way up the draft board to select quarterback Justin Fields out of Ohio State. Unfortunately, the Fields selection wasn’t enough to save the front office, as the Bears ultimately decided to part ways with Pace and Nagy this offseason. Fields flashed upside despite getting off to a rocky start, finishing as a QB1 in four of his 10 starts. In this article, I’ll be looking at the Bears offense with and without Fields under center.

The Chicago Bears Offense

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Description automatically generatedThe Bears took a cautious approach with their rookie quarterback, opting to bench him in favor of Dalton to begin the season. They felt comfortable airing it out with veterans Dalton and Nick Foles under center, averaging 39 pass attempts and 255.71 passing yards per game. In the 10 games started by Fields, they leaned heavier on the ground game, averaging 29.1 rushing attempts and 255.71 rushing yards. With Fields as the starter, the Bears rushing yards increased by 38.84 yards per game, while the passing yards dropped by 71.21. The new coaching staff has emphasized constructing the offense around Fields. His rushing upside makes him an intriguing fantasy option in 2022, but his lack of weapons may cap his ceiling. Our consensus FTN rankings have Fields outside the top-15 quarterbacks (QB16).

Allen Robinson, WR

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Allen Robinson was one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football after an abysmal 2021 campaign. He was drafted as a low-end WR1 to a high-end WR2 and finished 86th at the position. It is worth noting that Robinson was dealing with a hamstring injury for much of the season while also battling COVID-19. Through 12 games, he caught 38 passes for 410 yards and a single touchdown. This was only a year after he set career highs in both receptions (102) and yards (1,250) with Trubisky. There wasn’t much difference in Robinson’s fantasy production with and without Fields under center. In the nine games Robinson played with Fields as the starter, he saw fewer targets and receptions but slightly more yards. After four years in the Windy City, Robinson reached a three-year, $46.5 million deal with the defending Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams. His departure leaves plenty of vacated targets for the rest of the pass-catchers in the Bears offense.


Darnell Mooney, WR

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The Bears’ 2020 fifth-round pick, Darnell Mooney, had a stellar sophomore season, establishing himself as the alpha wide receiver in Chicago. He led the team in target share (26.7%), targets (140), receptions (81), receiving yards (1,055) and receiving touchdowns (4). No other wide receiver had more than 500 receiving yards. Mooney was the go-to option regardless of who was under center, but his production took a hit across the board in the 10 games Fields started. Rookie quarterbacks, especially mobile ones, often have difficulty sustaining elite wide receivers. However, Nagy’s conservative play-calling didn’t do him any favors. Fields should benefit with a year under his belt and an overhauled coaching staff. Following the departure of Robinson, the new front office has added little competition in the wide receiver room. Mooney will enter the 2022 season as the undisputed WR1 in Chicago and should continue to see a healthy target share.

Cole Kmet, TE 

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There were high expectations for Cole Kmet after being selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft as the first tight end off the board. He has yet to make a meaningful impact in the league but did take a step in the right direction in his second season. He was top three among all tight ends in snaps and top 12 in receiving yards. In 2021 Kmet caught a career-high 60 passes on 93 targets for 612 yards. Despite heavy usage, Kmet failed to haul in a single receiving touchdown. He was losing red-zone snaps to veteran tight end Jimmy Graham, limiting his scoring opportunities. The Bears’ run-centric approach with Fields under center only made things worse, lowering the overall passing volume. Kmet should take a leap in 2022 as Field’s No. 2 passing option. Graham is no longer on the team, making it easier for Kmet to find the end zone. Tight ends often take time to develop, and Kmet is in line for a breakout season in his third year. Check out why Kmet could be a sleeper in “Sleepers, Busts, and Bets: The 2022 Chicago Bears.”

David Montgomery, RB

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David Montgomery has had a productive three-year stint in Chicago since joining the team in 2019. His three-down skill set has allowed him to operate as a workhorse running back, rarely ever leaving the field. He missed four games last season but was still able to amass 1,150 yards from scrimmage in 12 games. Although the total rushing output for the Bears increased with Fields under center, Montgomery’s production took a hit. He was losing carries to Fields and was being targeted at a lower rate out of the backfield. On the positive side, Montgomery was a lot more efficient as a runner when Fields started. His rushing yards per attempt increased by .58 in the six games he played with Fields as the starter. Montgomery enters the 2022 season in a pivotal year, playing for a new contract.

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