With the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bears select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields….
Justin Fields Career Statistics
Fields has been the quarterback that has been under the microscope the most through the draft process, but has also been the case with players such as Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Herbert in recent seasons, who have been early-career fantasy stars at the position.
Fields has that type of upside to his dual-asset production and for fantasy purposes. His ceiling is arguably the highest in this draft class due to the importance of pairing both passing and rushing acumen together for fantasy.
Fields enters the NFL ranking in the 97th percentile in career TD/INT rate (7.4:1), 94th percentile in career completion rating (68.4%), and 93rd percentile in career yards per pass attempt (9.2 Y/A) for all prospects since 2000 while also coming out in the 85th percentile in career rushing output among the same group.
That production came while facing by far the toughest schedule among the top quarterbacks in this class in terms of Bill Connelly’s defensive SP+ metric. Over the past two seasons, Fields has faced 11 defenses in the top-15 of that metric and in those games, completed 64.3% of his passes for 8.5 Y/A with a 27-to-6 TD-to-INT rate to go along with 40 rushing yards per game in those contests. Fields may have added some red to his ledger this season, but every quarterback has a game like that regardless of pedigree (see Lawrence in 2019 Title Game) to overlook the complete sample and where the ceiling outcome can lie.
If worried about the Ohio State stigma due to Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett, and Dwayne Haskins struggling at the next level, Haskins was the only quarterback from that group that even had any real draft investment and expectations from an NFL organization and Haskins did not come with the added outs that Fields provides athletically and on the ground.
The Andy Dalton QB1 era is over before it started as Fields should immediately push Dalton to start as early as Week 1. Since 2008, we have had 39 quarterbacks selected in the first round. 17 of them started immediately in Week 1. 26 of those players were starting for their organizations by Week 4 of the season. 29 of those players started more than half of the team games as a rookie. The only first round rookie quarterbacks to actually not start a game in their rookie season out of those 39 players were Jake Locker in 2011 and Jordan Love a year ago, who played (well, did not even dress actually) behind the MVP of the league.
No matter the quarterback, Allen Robinson just continues to produce. Robinson caught 102 passes for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns last season, receiving 151 targets, which ranked third in the league. Fields could arguably be the best quarterback he has had in the league.
Robinson dominated opportunities as he received 40.4% of the wide receiver targets (eighth in the league), but the Bears did find something in the fifth-round last season in Darnell Mooney. Although he was the 24th rookie wide receiver selected last season, Mooney ended the season fifth among all rookies in receptions (61) and seventh in yardage (631 yards) to go along with four touchdowns.
The Bears also have 2020 second-rounder Cole Kmet. Kmet only played 34.4% of the Chicago snaps through nine games, catching six passes over that span on eight targets. At that point, Chicago leaned into giving the rookie tight end more opportunity. For the rest of the season, Kmet played 84.6% of the team snaps, catching 22-of-36 targets (5.1 per game) for 164 yards and a touchdown. Kmet only managed 8.7 yards per grab.
Early 2021 Justin Fields Projection: 365-of-557 for 3,972 yards, 25 TD, 11 INT, 84 carries, 470 yards, 5 TD