Projecting D.J. Moore's Fit and Fantasy Outlook with the Bears

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Projecting D.J. Moore’s Fit and Fantasy Outlook with the Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears, Fantasy Football, NFL

The Bears have a new wide receiver. Check that, a new No. 1 wide receiver. The blockbuster trade that sent the No. 1 pick to Carolina for D.J. Moore and a package of picks has given Justin Fields a bona fide No. 1 receiver.

Dear lord baby Jesus, thank you! It’s about time.

So, what will the Bears’ offense look like with the addition of D.J. Moore in 2023? Aside from the obvious that Moore will be the go-to pass-catching target for Fields, what’s the fit, and how does it impact the incumbents like Darnell Mooney and company?

Well, Moore is coming from a similar offense in Carolina. The Panthers were a run-heavy offense, passing at a 51.5 percent clip in a neutral game script. That was the fifth-lowest in the league in 2022. The Bears checked in at 50.2 percent. However, Fields ran the ball 160 times, many times out of the necessity of self-preservation. So, with Moore in tow and hopefully more pass protection, the Bears could see a significant boost in the passing game in 2023 from a play-calling standpoint.

Over his last two seasons in Carolina, Moore owned a 30 percent target share in the passing game. He shouldn’t have a problem staying in that range in Chicago. Justin Fields thew the ball 318 times last season, so lets say that 60 of those 160 rushes turn into passes, we can pencil Fields in for roughy 380 passing attempts.

That would give D.J. Moore roughly 114 targets at a 30 percent target share. By compatison, that’s the same number of targets that Brandon Aiyuk had last season and four more than Tee Higgins. Moore himself had 118 last season. So, the workload projects to be the same for Moore. Plus, with the Bears passing more in 2023, guys like Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, and Chase Claypool will still have plety of targets to go around.

What does that mean for fantasy football managers?

Our sister site 4for4 currently had the Bears main pass-catching targets ranked like this (with projected draft picks included):

  • D.J. Moore — WR23
  • Darnell Mooney — WR55
  • Chase Claypool — WR78
  • Cole Kmet — TE14

Moore’s ranking is based on the projected targets in the Bears’ run-heavy offense. He’s sandwiched between Terry McLaurin and Tyler Lockett to give you a visual.

This is where the online discourse comes from regarding Moore not being a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver (by non-fantasy standards). But Moore has proven that he is capable of WR1-caliber efficiency, even at the number of targets I projected. In 2020, he had 117 targets and posted efficiency numbers that matched him up with Tyreek Hill.

If the Fields and Moore have success early, those attempts and targets could rise to the 130-140 range, which would put Moore in the company of Ja’Marr Chase (134), DeVonta Smith (136), and D.K. Metcalf (141), usage-wise.

As 4for4’s TJ Hernandez wrote:

“one attribute that might help him compile spike fantasy weeks is his newfound ability to go deep—he ranked top 10 in average target depth last year—something that his new team loves to do.”

“Fields wants to make plays downfield. By throwing deep (over 15 air yards) at the seventh-highest rate in the league last season, Fields tied for the fourth-highest average throw depth (9.0 yards) among quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts.”

That could work!

You can read more about how the addition of D.J. Moore in Chicago will impact Moore, Fields, and the rest of the receivers on the Bears roster over at 4for4!

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.