Justin Fields ranked QB6 for 2023 fantasy football season

ESPN expert ranks Fields QB6 in fantasy this year originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Justin Fields came on strong as a fantasy football phenom in the second half of last season. Partway through the season, the Bears coaching staff did some self-scouting and realized Fields could help the team just as much as a rusher as he could passing the ball, so they leaned into it. By year’s end, Fields led the team in passing and rushing seven times. There are questions as to whether that’s a formula for sustainable success in the NFL, but in the fantasy world it’s almost a cheat code.

It’s no surprise that Fields is already emerging as a top fantasy option looking ahead to the 2023 season. Last month, ESPN’s Mike Clay released his projections for the upcoming fantasy season and had Fields listed as QB6.

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Clay believes Fields will crack the 300 points threshold with 309 points this year, after narrowly missing it with 295.98 points. Here’s how he’s got all the stats shaking out to add up to 309: 3,173 passing yards with 22 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions, plus 909 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. The passing yards and passing touchdowns would each set new career highs, as Fields only had 2,242 passing yards and 17 passing TDs last season. But the rushing numbers would be a slight step back as Fields went nuts with 1,143 yards and eight scores on the ground last year.

RELATED: Why Tice thinks Bears have top-end QB situation in NFC

There’s good reason to believe Fields will take a leap in his development as a passer this year. Even if his personal play stays the same, the pieces around him are considerably improved, on paper. The Bears bolstered the protection up front by adding right guard Nate Davis and right tackle Darnell Wright. Ryan Poles also acquired new WR1 DJ Moore as part of the deal that sent the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft to the Panthers. For what it’s worth, Clay believes Moore will catch 64 passes for 927 yards and seven touchdowns next year. That’s a massive improvement from the Bears highs among wide receivers last year: 40 receptions (Mooney), 493 yards (Mooney) and three touchdowns (Pettis).

Fields should improve in his own right, too. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Fields is already “light years ahead” of where he was in his development at this time last year. The Bears continue to work on Fields’ mechanics, like his footwork, with the hopes that it will help him improve his accuracy in the short passing game. Little steps forward like that can have a big impact on his overall game, as they can put the offense in more favorable situations more often.

It’s a little early for fantasy football, but there are real reasons to be high on Fields as a fantasy option this season.

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