Chicago Bears Fantasy Football: Darnell Mooney preview and outlook

Chicago Bears (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Darnell Mooney
Chicago Bears (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bears Darnell Mooney: 2020 statistics and fantasy review

Expectations for the Bears’ WR2 pointed towards Anthony Miller (now a Texan), which ended up not being the case simply looking at his 76 total targets in comparison to Darnell Mooney’s 98. 61 total receptions for Mooney led to 631 receiving yards and four touchdowns on the year.

For the Chicago Bears, Mooney finished second on the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards in his rookie season. Target volume year one for a WR is not always guaranteed, but Mooney had some great volume for a handful of weeks. Examples:

  • Week 4: 9 targets
  • Week 9: 11 targets
  • Week 12: 9 targets
  • Week 17: 13 targets

Mooney is a true deep threat, which was evident from his college production (993 receiving yards and 713 receiving yards in his final two seasons at Tulane) and that 4.38, 40-yard dash time. In 2020, Mooney’s 23 deep targets ranked #11, and he was also 29th in air yards (total distance traveled by all intended targets) for the WR position. The issue comes with the fact that his efficiency did not look great, with a 6.4 YPT (yards per target) and the fact that he caught 62.24% of his total targets.

What is not discussed enough is the fact that (according to the ESPN fantasy app) 23% of balls thrown his way were off-target. There are clips that show Mooney burning defensive players all over the field and either not getting the look or being missed (by a lot) on the throw. Having the split of Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles, who both were worse than 20th for QBR in 2020, capped Darnell Mooney at times.

From a fantasy football perspective, Mooney finished as the WR50 on the year but had plenty of weeks where he was useful as a FLEX (extra lineup spot for an additional RB/WR/TE) play in lineups. Here are some of Mooney’s best fantasy weeks, how many fantasy points he scored, and where he finished for the WR position that week:

  • Week 8: 17.9 fantasy points (WR18)
  • Week 15: 16.5 fantasy points (WR21)
  • Week 17: 20.3 fantasy points (WR17)
  • Weeks 14-17: WR25 for the duration of those weeks

Having top 25 upside for a handful of weeks as someone who in standard redraft leagues (season-long) was basically free off of the waiver wire (pool of fantasy free agents) was great for those who picked him up. With changing variables for the Chicago Bears yet an expected WR2 role continuing on in 2021, comes the process of evaluating what to expect for this upcoming season for fantasy football.