Foxy’s Fantasy Forecast – QBs
This will be the first installment in a weekly Bears Fantasy series that will give you in depth insight into what to expect from the Bears offense and defense from a fantasy perspective. Before we get into the weekly flow, I wanted to start with a season preview, position by position, as you get ready for the upcoming fantasy football season.
As we move towards the kickoff of the 2021 NFL season we’ll go over each Bears position group and their individual Pre-Season Rankings, Average Draft Position (ADP), Pre-Season Projected Stats (via FantasyPros), Strength of Schedule for each position and whether or not I agree with those projections coming into the 2021 season. We’ll go through each position group and break down each player that will have any fantasy relevance on the Bears in 2021. That means we’re not going to be talking about guys like Jovan Wims, Riley Ridley, Ryan Nall or JP Holtz. I’m going to focus on the guys who will be making an impact on the field like Allen Robinson, David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen and, of course, Justin Fields.
Andy Dalton (Position ADP: 40)
Though Matt Nagy’s plan since the Bears signed Andy Dalton has been to keep him at QB1 this season, the drafting of Justin Fields puts that QB1 title in jeopardy. As you can see from the FantasyPros projections, they don’t have Dalton starting more than a half dozen games before Justin Fields takes the reins of this Bears offense. That said, there are a lot of unknowns that make it difficult to project Andy Dalton in 2021. How well will Dalton pick up Nagy’s offense? Will he play well enough to keep Fields on the sidelines? Will the Bears start out hot like they did in 2020 making it difficult to pull Dalton?
With an influx of talent to the offensive line, a healthy Tarik Cohen, a second year Cole Kmet and new WRs Marquise Goodwin and Damier Byrd, on top of the biggest contributors from last season (Robinson, Montgomery and Graham), Dalton should have everything he needs to play well this season. Dalton had a similar offensive cast in Dallas last season when he stepped in for Dak Prescott after Week 7. While he looked good in some games, he also looked awful in others. Though he was inconsistent last season, Dalton has been a pretty consistent QB throughout his career having gone to three Pro Bowls while compiling over 33,000 yards, 218 TDs and 126 INTs with a 62.2% completion percentage. He’s also thrown for over 4,000 yards twice in his career, a feat still yet to be achieved by ANY BEARS QB EVER.
All that said, the Bears face the 3rd hardest strength of schedule of any team in the NFL for the QB position. On top of that Justin Fields is looming large, waiting for his opportunity to get his first start in the NFL. If Dalton doesn’t get out to a hot start, he’ll likely have a short leash meaning it’ll be Justin Fields time by weeks 4-6.
I’m with FantasyPros on this one. I anticipate Dalton starting somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-6 games before it becomes apparent that Justin Fields is not only the future, but the best QB on the team now. Fantasy football owners don’t want any part of Dalton either as he’s going undrafted across all platforms. I’d steer clear in almost all fantasy formats aside from maybe two QB leagues depending on how he starts the season. He could also be a sneaky DFS play in Week 2 against the Bengals (a revenge game for the Red Rifle) or Week 4 against the Lions. Aside from that, my advice would be to stay away as there are far better options out there.
Justin Fields (Position ADP: 21)
If you were to add the projected passing yards of both Andy Dalton and Justin Fields, the Bears would finally have a 4,000 yard passer for the first time in their history. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, but I digress. Based on the projections of both Dalton and Fields, FantasyPros is predicting that Fields should take over around Week 6-7 of the season. I don’t think anyone would be shocked if that transition took place sooner than that but a lot of that will be based on how Dalton plays early on in the season.
Right now Fields is being drafted mid way through the 12th round in 12-team formats which shows most fantasy players anticipate him taking over at some and see him as an attractive high upside QB bench stash. If Fields shows out in training camp and takes the QB1 job from Dalton to start the season, this could pay off big time for those who are willing to take the shot. Round 12 is a great place to take a shot like this as you’ll already have your starting lineup and bench rounded out. I don’t anticipate him taking the reins in week 1, as it sounds like Nagy is pretty set on giving him time to learn and develop before getting him into live action.
Over his last two seasons at OSU, Fields completed 68.8% of his passes for 63 TDs and 9 INTs which comes out to a 7:1 TD:INT ratio. While the NFL is a much faster game against the best DBs in the world, I find it hard to believe that Fields will throw 9-10 INTs to just 17 TDs. I’d put him closer to 20 TDs to 6 INTs as he has shown he is smart with his ball placement and decision making. With his size and speed, the running stats are an enticing value add that make him a very appealing fantasy prospect.
With the Dalton/Fields situation, this situation is far from figured out. If you’re drafting in July and want to take a flier on Fields, go for it. If he wins the job, that pick will look great when the season starts. However, if you’re waiting to draft until closer to the start of the season like I am, I’d encourage you to monitor the situation closely.
Nick Foles (Position ADP: N/A)
No need for stats. Foles will only see the field in the event of a catastrophe. Speaking of catastrophe, acquiring Foles for a fourth round pick before last season could be considered just that. The money being spent on this QB3 could have gone towards keeping the likes of Kyle Fuller around but that’s a discussion for another day. If another franchise offers anything for Foles, the Bears should take it immediately without a thought about it. That would be the best case scenario for all involved.