Mike Clay of ESPN does the season-long fantasy football projections. So, he recently produced a season-long outlook for the Chicago Bears, and tight end Cole Kmet. Now that we have a baseline of what is expected of him, it is fair to wonder whether projections are fair, or foul for the third-year tight end.
3. Will Cole Kmet catch over or under 56 passes for Chicago Bears in 2022
ESPN has Cole Kmet projected to haul in 56 passes on 85 targets. That is about in-line from his last season when he caught 60 passes on 93 targets. Eight fewer targets could lead to four fewer receptions.
Of course, one thing to consider was that Kmet was targeted more often with Andy Dalton than Justin Fields. Fields started to get used to finding his tight end later in the season, but out of the gate, the two did not have a connection.
When Fields played, Kmet had 52 targets, leading to 29 catches. If they were together for 17 games at that rate, Kmet would be at 49 catches on 88 targets.
With 88 targets, it actually shows that Fields was targeting Kmet a fair amount. At the rate he was targeting him last season, it would be higher than projections. The big difference is that when Fields was targeting Kmet, they were not becoming receptions.
Kmet had a 55% catch rate with Fields and a 75% catch rate with Dalton. ESPN is projecting a 65% catch rate, so an improvement from Fields, but not quite as efficient as Dalton.
In the first two games Fields started he was 2-7 targeting Kmet. In the final two, he was 9-14, showing he gained trust, but also that he was getting much more accurate finding his man.
At the rate, he finished the season he would fly over targets and catches. Even if he had the 88 targets that a 10-game sample from last year showed, the improvement in catch rate by taking out his first two games would give him enough receptions to go over. As long as you assume Fields is not as bad as he was to start his career, Cole Kmet should catch over 60 passes.