Darnell Mooney will be unlocked the second Justin Fields starts.
Mooney quietly had a very good rookie season and would’ve been a lot better if it weren’t for the corpses of Mitch Tribusky and Nick Foles.
Despite Chicago’s conservative offense he ranked 8th in fantasy points per game among rookies and received the 15th most targets on 20+ yard deep passes (23).
He’s shown elite flashes against the best cornerbacks and even ranked 4th among all NFL wide receivers in missed tackles last season with 17. This puts him right behind the likes of Cooper Kupp, DeAndre Hopkins(21), Stefon Diggs (20), and AJ Brown, Tyreek Hill, and DK Metcalf (17).
What has me the most excited is his ability to create separation on deep passes. Of the 23 deep passes thrown to him, 7 of the 23 catches were catchable. His quarterback situation was that awful. Now we insert a dynamic rookie who ranked 6th in deep passes in the past 5 years. That arm + Mooney’s 4.38 speed… yeah, you can paint that picture.
Mooney also finished 3rd in fantasy points below expectation behind AJ Green and Jerry Jeudy… so the opportunity is there but it hasn’t translated to real statistics just yet.
A bet on Mooney is a bet that Justin Fields starts early in the season. They open up with the Rams, in which Andy Dalton should get slaughtered. I’m personally expecting him to start right after that, considering the fact that they traded up for him to open up this offense. If that’s the case, Mooney will be a smash as the WR56 coming off the board.