Justin Fields: The Next Fantasy Football Star

by Ilan Shelest · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

The 2022 NFL season was filled with extreme highs and even lower lows for the Chicago Bears. Justin Fields announced himself multiple times into the fantasy football national spotlight with his dynamic rushing ability and highlight reel plays. Even with his struggles as a passer, Fields finished the season as the No. 5 highest fantasy quarterback in points per game with 20.47.

His ability to be a top-five fantasy quarterback even with clear passing deficiencies is why he is such a vital player to consider in fantasy next season. 

A New Shiny Toy

It was clear to many that the Bears did not put a good team around Fields. As a result, the Bears received the No. 1 overall pick. The Bears then traded that pick for a package including a new pass catcher for Fields, D.J. Moore. Moore has produced 1,100 or more receiving yards in three of the last four seasons. Additionally, he offers a true WR1 to the Bears and to Fields. Moore only put up 888 receiving yards last season. However, Moore did receive 1,564 Air Yards on his targets. This is a number similar to the 1,632 Air Yards in 2021 and 1,575 Air Yards in 2020.

D.J. Moore NFL Receiving Stats with Air Yards.

Both 2020 and 2021 were years where Moore produced 1,100-plus receiving yards. Therefore, it is safe to assume he underperformed last year in relation to the other seasons in his career where he turned more of those Air Yards into actual yardage production. Fields has averaged 9.3 Air Yards per attempt in his career. This number tells us he loves throwing deep and will have more success with a deep-ball winner such as D.J. Moore.

Also, in 2022 Moore had a Catchable Target Rate of 64.4-percent. This number is much less than 71.6-percent in 2021 or 73.7-percent in 2020. The decline in catchable targets is another reason for the drop in yardage production.  Adding more firepower will only help Fields as a passer and help his passing output, thus improving the number of fantasy points that will come from his passing. 

Value of Running Quarterback in Fantasy Football

The value of the rushing QB is also impossible to overlook in fantasy football. Each passing yard is worth 0.04 points while each rush yard is worth 0.1 points, in standard scoring, so each passing yard is worth ⅖ of a rush yard. Each passing touchdown is worth four points while rushing touchdowns are worth six points. Therefore, each passing touchdown is worth ⅔ the amount of a rushing touchdown. Using those conversions, Justin Fields’ rushing stats translated into 2,858 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns in 2022.

That’s in addition to his passing numbers, which even at their awful levels this season, were 2,242 passing yards and 17 passing touchdowns. Fields also only attempted 21.2 passing attempts per game. This proved to be the lowest rate among all quarterbacks with at least 200 dropbacks. An increase to even a below-average number of passing attempts per game will naturally increase his passing volume. I’d project Fields’s passing volume to be below average compared to the average amount of volume in 2023. Even with that low passing volume, his total output is still elite due to his rushing ability. 

Looking at the data visualization below, quarterbacks with more rush attempts per game have a much higher correlation with more fantasy points per game. The opposite is true for quarterbacks with fewer rush attempts per game. The r-squared value is 0.33 which shows a solid correlation between the two variables of rush attempts per game and fantasy points per game being compared here. Fields is in the right quadrant. This means he had a large volume of rush attempts per game while also having a large volume of fantasy points per game. His rushing ability has greatly helped his total fantasy output.

                                                      Correlation between QB rush attempts per game and total fantasy points per game.

Buy Justin Fields

Justin Fields was already amongst the best fantasy football quarterbacks last season and now will be playing with a much better-supporting cast. It’s also not a stretch to conclude he will also continue to develop as a passer.

He’s a must-draft and has the ability to be the best fantasy quarterback in the NFL next season and for many seasons to come. 

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