Buy Low On Bears WR Darnell Mooney In Fantasy Now That Justin Fields Is Starting QB
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Darnell Mooney
- Darnell Mooney has a high ceiling in fantasy -- he's just needed the right quarterback to unlock his deep-threat potential.
- With Justin Fields taking over as the Bears' starting QB for an injured Andy Dalton, Mooney could finally be primed for a breakout.
- Find out why Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, thinks the window to buy low on the Bears' Year 2 WR is closing fast.
Cardinals rookie Rondale Moore was ready for takeoff last week, and he didn’t let me down. As predicted, he is now in the WR3 discussion this week.
Darnell Mooney is the next wide receiver who I believe is ready for takeoff.
The Bears’ Year 2 receiver is currently the WR64 in half-PPR scoring despite two fairly productive games with five catches for 26 yards in Week 1 then six for 66 yards in Week 2. The issue with Mooney has been poor QB play, which has prevented him from unlocking his ceiling as a deep threat.
Last season, Mooney was targeted downfield on targets with 20+ air yards 24 times, the 10th-most in NFL, yet only six of those targets were catchable. That 25% catchable ball rate on deep throws was second-worst among qualified WRs. Therefore, if Mooney were to have a QB who could provide him catchable deep balls, it would immediately elevate his fantasy value.
Here is a montage of Mooney beating his man deep, only to see an uncatchable target (note the first defender he beats in Jalen Ramsey):
It’s Darnell Mooney szn in Chicago now
Here’s a reminder of what he can do 💨 👀
— PFF (@PFF) July 25, 2021
With Justin Fields taking over for the injured Andy Dalton, the time to buy in on Mooney is now.
Fields was considered to be one of the better deep passers in a loaded 2021 QB class. We don’t even need him to become the next Russell Wilson out of the gate — Fields simply needs to be better than Mitchell Trubisky to unlock Mooney’s potential.
Imagine Justin Fields throwing this ball to Darnell Mooney pic.twitter.com/0ptVzGzwe6
— Matt Eurich (@MattEurich) April 30, 2021
Mooney is much more than a deep threat, too.
Here is his route tree from Week 2, courtesy of NFL Next Gen Stats:
Allen Robinson is still the No. 1 WR for the Bears, but the gap between him and Mooney is tightening:
- Routes Run %: Robinson 89% vs. Mooney 95%
- Target Rate: Robinson 20% vs. Mooney: 20%
- Targets Per Game: Robinson 7.0 vs. Mooney 7.5
ARob will draw the top corner and potential double-teams every week, leaving Mooney with the easier matchup. The window to buy low on Mooney will close shut real soon, but the time to get him before he breaks out is now.
He’s rostered in only 45% of Yahoo! leagues and 50.5% of ESPN leagues as of Wednesday afternoon.