Fantasy Football

Darnell Mooney Fantasy Forecast

Darnell Mooney

Darnell Mooney Fantasy

The 2021 Chicago Bears disappointed both fans and fantasy managers alike last season, leaving few bright spots to point toward. Vegas is down on them again in 2022 as their odds to win the division sit at +1500 and their win total is 6. However, there might be at least one player Bears fans and fantasy managers alike should be rooting for.

One such bright spot in a dark season for the Bears was second-year WR Darnell Mooney, who saw his targets per game increase from 6.1 to 8.2 and his yards per target increase from 6.4 to 7.5. Now, in Year Three, Mooney seems poised for a breakout season.

The New Number One in Chi-Town

While productive in his own right, Mooney has been overshadowed in his career thus far by star WR Allen Robinson. However, this offseason Robinson hit free agency and was given a three-year $46.5M contract by the Los Angeles Rams. This leaves Mooney as the clear-cut No. 1 WR in the Chicago offense.

The Ceiling Case

You may not want to hear it, but Mooney has one of the highest ceilings in fantasy football among all wide receivers. While his efficiency has been so-so, his projected volume is through the roof. Mooney already received a 26.7% target share in his sophomore season, and there’s reason to believe that that number could be even higher in 2022. The only returning pass catchers in Chicago are Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. That’s it. Mooney already built a rapport with Fields last year and early training camp reports show that they’ve improved upon last year’s chemistry even more.

 

 

What is Mooney’s ceiling? I’m a numbers guy, so let’s look at what I believe is his reasonable ceiling, statistically speaking. While a 30% target share is extremely hard to grasp, I think it’s absolutely in Mooney’s range of outcomes. Combine that with league average passing volume, and you get a 30% target share on 584.8 passing attempts. That would give Mooney 175 targets. Using his career efficiency stats, that volume would give Mooney 272.5 PPR fantasy points. That number would have placed him as the WR9 in 2021.

While this isn’t his 50th percentile outcome, I think it’s a lot closer to his 75th percentile outcome than his 90th. This is absolutely in his range of outcomes and one of the reasons I’m so bullish on him this year.

The Floor Case

Perhaps even more exciting than his ceiling is his floor. Assuming Mooney stays healthy, there appears to be almost a 0% chance he doesn’t lead the Chicago WR corp in targets. It’s possible though that Fields barely throws the ball 500 times, but with the Bears figuring to be playing from behind quite a bit this season, they’re going to have to air it out. Even with a low projection of 500 passing attempts, and let’s say Mooney’s target share regresses to his career average that would net him 108 targets. If you simply use his career efficiency averages, that would spit out 168.2 PPR fantasy points, good enough for a WR36 finish in 2021. Mooney’s ADP is WR29. While this outcome would make Mooney a bad pick at ADP, it wouldn’t destroy your team. Also, keep in mind this is what I see as the absolute floor for him.

Final Thoughts

The last two sections of this article are what make me so high on Mooney. He doesn’t need to do that much to exceed his ADP, and if you look at my ceiling case, it wouldn’t even be that hard for him to be a league winner. He’s an underrated WR with no competition for targets. Draft Mooney everywhere you can and reap the rewards.

 

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