Justin Fields was already named ESPN’s Fantasy Breakout Player of the Year, and the fantasy football accolades keep coming.
Pro Football Focus' Ian Hartitz named his top-five fantasy football quarterbacks and the Chicago Bears' Fields came in at No. 5, ahead of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
The only quarterbacks ahead of Fields were the Bills' Josh Allen, Eagles' Jalen Hurts, Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Ravens' Lamar Jackson.
That's a helluva short-list littered with MVPs, Super Bowl wins and appearances and conference championship game appearances.
Now, while we'll celebrate Fields getting recognition all day, every day... but fantasy football is different than actual NFL success.
Fields' second season with the Bears was historic for the franchise. He broke numerous records and seemed to outdo himself each week with jaw-dropping runs and perfect passes.
Even though the Bears didn’t win many games, fantasy managers who rostered Fields sure did. Fields was not only one of the most consistent fantasy QBs in the second half of the season, he was one of the most explosive.
From Week 7, when the Bears reshaped their offense around Fields’ legs, to Week 17, his last game played, Fields averaged an incredible 25.4 points per game. To compare, Patrick Mahomes was the No. 1 fantasy QB over the entire year and he averaged 25.2 points per game.
What made Fields such a phenomenal fantasy player this season was his rushing production. It’s essentially a cheat code for fantasy QBs, since standard scoring awards one point for every 25 passing yards vs. one point for 10 rushing yards.
Further, a passing touchdown counts for just four points, while a rushing touchdown goes for six points. So on games when Fields went crazy on the ground he put up scores in the 40s, which could win games single-handedly (or two-leggedly?).
Last season, Fields only averaged 11.4 points per game, so the second half jump was remarkable. When you look at his overall production, it’s even more impressive. Fields was the QB30 in terms of total fantasy points in 2021. In 2022 he shot up to QB7. Only Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Geno Smith and Trevor Lawrence scored more points than Fields last year.
Fields was also named PFF’s Most Improved Fantasy Player earlier this month. So, congrats to Fields on the fantasy award, and congrats to the fantasy managers who were shrewd enough to draft and stash Fields or claim him on waivers.
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