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Way Too Early Fantasy Analysis: Justin Fields

It is far, far too early for fantasy football analysis.  We just found out who teams are playing against but with little to no injuries about injuries and contract holdouts or the like, it is hard to come up with cogent arguments.  

This series will review the value of specific rookies and as we are far out I will focus on rookies who are the most likely to have a starting role, who will have one from the get go and how I believe that will project outward. At the end, I will indicate where I think the given player SHOULD be drafted.  This way, if you miss out on the player because someone pulled the trigger too prematurely, you can smirk and pick someone more valuable when the pick comes around to you. Likewise, if the player no one believes in falls to you, it’s time for a mental fist-pump.

***before we get started each week I will remind everyone that the analysis in this series is based on regular, season-long point per reception scoring. It also assumes you play in a 12 team league***

At this point in time the Chicago Bears do not seem poised to start Justin Fields at the quarterback position.  This seems fitting for an organization that has either been unable to draft or develop quarterbacks in their history as a franchise.  That said, Justin Fields may already be the best quarterback in Bears history. I know that seems like a bold statement about a dude who has never played an NFL game, but it’s actually a remark on how poor Chicago’s quarterbacking has been.

I thought Fields was a slam dunk, can’t miss prospect. After initially backing the Georgia Bulldogs position to keep Jake Fromm and allow Fields to transfer, I have since learned that Fields likely would have led my beloved Dawgs to a coveted national championship.

Fields has all the tools you’d want in a quarterback. He has a good arm, he seems to be decisive and he’s a great athlete who can make plays with his legs. I’ve seen a lot of different comparisons but I actually don’t think of Fields as a guy who’s going to have a ton of designed runs.  Much like Russell Wilson I think Fields will excel at making throws on the run and extending plays.  Still, he will do some damage on the ground and is likely to do so in his first season as he’s still learning the playbook.

The insecurity I have is that the team is definitely going to start Andy Dalton or Nick Foles in week 1.  They start the season against the Rams, Bengals, Browns and Lions respectively. I don’t think it’s crazy to think they’ll split those games. If that’s the case we may only see Fields take meaningful snaps either after or during their murderer’s row of opponents in October/November. They face the Packers, Buccaneers, 49ers (who at full health are a strong opponent), Steelers and Ravens.  If Fields is starting at this point, you aren’t starting him in fantasy. So at best we get 6 of the last 7 weeks of usable fantasy football out of a rookie quarterback.

This angers me as both a football fan and fantasy player. Firstly, by not starting him right away you’re setting up a situation for a young man to fail. Secondly, no one in fantasy football (daily or season long) wants to start Dalton or Foles. There’s still time for the Bears to do the right thing however.

So, if Fields wins the job outright, here’s an opportunity to pickup a rookie quarterback either really late in the draft or in free agency and have him put up numbers against a very workable schedule.  This will allow you to move Fields for a more valuable position (wide receiver 2, upgrade one of your rbs etc). I’m a fan of using quarterbacks to acquire assets in positions of greater variance. Otherwise, despite the talent I’m hesitant on Fields’ outlook.

I’m actually a fan of the Bears offensive weapons. Allen Robinson has been a premier route runner since he got to the NFL.  Anthony Miller acted as the prestige on many disappearing acts last season but it’s clear to me that Miller has ability. Darnell Mooney is a speedy boom or bust receiver who’s a more useful NFL receiver than fantasy option. I mentioned in a previous article that I expect Cole Kmet to be a breakout receiver (a rookie quarterback would likely help that) and both Tariq Cohen and David Montgomery are very good pass receiving backs. 

Now my issues with the Bears are two fold. I mentioned already that I think this organization will mismanage Fields’ first season.  My second issue with the Bears is coaching. For all the praise that Nagy gets as an offensive mastermind the Bears offense usually feels like a 13 year old gamer who is constantly looking to exploit glitches rather than run plays that work

Summary

Where should you draft Justin Fields: The answer to this is two fold. If he doesn’t win the starting job he isn’t worth the roster stash.  However, if he wins the job outright he’s a great late pick with upside. If he’s earned the starting job he’s a worthwhile qb2 for someone who drafted a mid-tier qb1

Quick Analysis: DO THE RIGHT THING CHICAGO!!!!! If Fields starts, early season is the time for him to earn trade value but you need to move him before he gets to the heart of that difficult schedule.  If he starts later in the season.

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