NFL Today: Justin Fields Poised to Help Bears Bounce Back
Can Justin Fields lead the Bears back to respectability? (Mike Dinovo-USA Today Sports)
Philadelphia WR Devon Allen is clearly one fast dude; assault charges against Davante Adams have been dropped; and Travis Kelce isn’t impressed with Ja’Marre Chase dissing Patrick Mahomes. Now let’s explore some Fantasy football-related news.
Justin Fields Needs to Keep Improving
Since going 12-4 and winning the NFC North in 2018, it’s been pretty much all downhill for the Chicago Bears after ostensibly bottoming out last year at 3-14.
As this team tries to build its way back to at least being a competitive squad, the good news is it has been gifted with the fifth-easiest schedule for 2023.
If the Bears are going to start building towards contention, there’s perhaps no more important development that needs to happen than quarterback Justin Fields taking a big step forward. He definitely showed some progress as a sophomore — especially in the running department — but this team needs to protect him better after he was sacked 55 times (which tied for the most in the NFL).
Heading into the 2022 season, we were really bullish on the chances that Fields would help WR Darnell Mooney develop into a much bigger weapon. Unfortunately, Mooney suffered an ankle injury in Week 12 that cost him the rest of the season, and he only managed 40 receptions before getting hurt, so this pick clearly didn’t pan out.
The good news as far as Fields is concerned is that new teammate T.J. Edwards thinks that Fields can follow the Jalen Hurts roadmap. That’s an exciting prospect; consider Fields a mid-range QB1 for Fantasy purposes this season as his rushing skills alone make him a worthy pick. And assuming his passing acumen trends upward (the addition of WR DJ Moore will definitely help), he’s going to make a lot of owners happy. Hey, if nothing else, it would be nice to see the Bears improve so we can see crazy celebrations from Fields (see video below).
Justin Herbert Compared to Peyton Manning
The Los Angeles Chargers, currently +2500 to win the Super Bowl as per Fanduel — will need quarterback Justin Herbert to enjoy a better season if they’re going to make some noise in the playoffs next season.
It’s not that he had a bad year in 2022, recording career bests in completions, attempts and pass percentage. But Herbert’s average yards per pass and TD passes were way down, with the sacks and fumbles way up. And he wasn’t exactly at his best in the Chargers’ first playoff game since 2018.
Still, Herbert has a hell of an arm, and Chargers passing game specialist Tom Arth had some interesting things to say when asked if Herbert shared any similarities to Peyton Manning.
I think there are. They’re both big guys, 6-foot-6 and string quarterbacks. I think Justin is more athletic but Peyton was more athletic than people give him credit for, especially early in his career. Justin is rare with that combination in size, speed and athleticism. But where I really see similarities is how they operate in the pocket. Peyton had this ability to play in the pocket when things got tight and things got around his feet, keep his eyes downfield and navigate the pocket… I see that in Justin’s game. It’s much less common than in today’s NFL than it was 20 years ago. You see it less today but it does remind me of Peyton. Justin has a rocket arm, as strong an arm as I’ve ever seen. Both are just really smart players and people. Peyton is a good guy to have some traits in common with.
Obviously, if Herbert’s career can come anything close to Manning’s, we’d be over the moon, but for now, we’ll be happy if the Charger signal caller improves on his 2022 showing. Consider Herbert a top 10 QB for 2023 with potential to finish in the top five or six.
Tennessee Quarterback Battle
The Tennessee Titans drafted QB Malik Willis in the third round last year and then added QB Will Levis in the second round this year, so clearly incumbent Ryan Tannehill‘s days as the starter are numbered, right?
Um, not so fast. During OTAs and minicamp, Tannehill reportedly outplayed the youngsters by a wide margin. The Titans are expected to be a bit better this year, and perhaps even sneak into the playoffs, but that’s not going to happen if one of the kids is leading the offense.
Despite missing five games last year with an ankle woe, Tannehill enjoyed a solid bounce back effort, and while his career has a limited lifespan at this point, he’s still a decent bye week option, with low-end QB2 upside. No, it’s not exciting from a Fantasy standpoint, but from the Titans’ perspective, he still offers them the best chance to win.
Should Tennessee fall out of playoff contention earlier than expected, it would behoove them to play the kids. But until then, expect to see Tannehill under centre.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American grunge gods Nirvana got their start in 1987 and remained active until 1994 when founder Kurt Cobain died. In 1991, they released their second album, Nevermind, which really brought the band into the limelight. Included on this effort is “Lounge Act,” which is reportedly about Cobain’s ill-fated relationship with indy musician Tobi Vail.