Are these stat projections fair for Chicago Bears TE Cole Kmet in 2023

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 season will be an interesting test for Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet. The Bears added talent around him but also added Robert Tonyan, who may cut into his work. Beyond that, he just signed a big-time extension.

Mike Clay of ESPN makes the fantasy football stat projections for their site. He usually can get in the ballpark of what to expect from each player. Where does he see Cole Kmet, and do we agree?

Over or Under 78 targets, 54 catches, 578 yards, and four touchdowns with Chicago Bears in 2023

This would amount to 5.2 targets per game. For his career, Kmet averaged 4.1 targets per game, and last year it was just 4.1. In 2021, his targets per game was 5.4, but the new targets in this offense are much different. We noted that Clay is low on D.J. Moore; it may be because he is giving Kmet an extra couple of targets.

While the targets may be high, the catches will be interesting. Kmet posted a 72.5% catch rate last season. This season, Clay has him projected for 69.2%. If Kmet had a 72.5% catch rate, he would have 57 catches, so we could be leaning over despite going under on the targets.

The difference will be the target depth. His depth of target went down from 7.8 in 2021 to 6.7 last year. That was the first year with Luke Getsy. We could definitely see that remaining low when you figure that Darnell Mooney and D.J. Moore will be the deep down-the-field players, and Kmet will need an outlet. This is why the catch rate could stay this high.

Kmet averaged 7.9 yards per target last year and 10.9 yards per catch last year with Luke Getsy. Those were both career highs, which is impressive because his depth of target was down. Clay has him down for 7.4 yards per target, and 10.7 yards per catch. As we noted, Clay may just be high on targets and low on catches. If you shave off a target or two and add a catch or two, his yards are about right.

So, even going under with targets we will lean over on yards. Getsy can open him in the short area, and the new deep threats will open more space to run. He can get to 11 yards per catch on 57 catches.

Next. 10 bold predictions for 2023. 10 bold predictions for 2023. dark

Kmet had two touchdowns in two seasons, then had seven last year. Four is probably a fair even rate back to normal after a weirdly low rate in his first two years and an abnormally high rate last year. Still, we will lean under. Chase Claypool has to be used in the red zone, and we know that Robert Tonyan is a red zone weapon. Beyond that, the Chicago Bears added two power running backs. He averages three touchdowns per season, and we could see three this season.

Under 78 targets, Over 54 catches, Over 578 yards, Under four touchdowns