Darnell Mooney: Here Comes the Boom

Justin Bruni
Darnell Mooney
Chicagotribune.com

Darnell Mooney has turned into an excellent prospect for the Chicago Bears. He had an impressive rookie season despite constantly being out of tune with both Chicago Bears Quarterbacks, Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. I, like many, are expecting a Booming Sophomore Season for Mooney! Fantasy Pros currently has Mooney ranked at WR 52 in PPR Redraft formats. I have him ranked at WR 43, but I still feel like he’s going to crush that ADP come the end of 2021.

Mooney finished 2020 with 631 receiving yards, ranking him 7th among his rookie class. He recorded 61 catches on 98 targets resulting in a 62% catch percentage. According to Mooney’s advanced stats, he only accounted for one drop on those 98 targets; I don’t know if that highlights how great he is or how BAD his QB’s were last season. I expect his production to climb this year with upgrades at quarterback and on the offensive line.

The Bears have a competition at quarterback, but that shouldn’t be a reason to hesitate when drafting Mooney. While I expect Justin Fields to take over more sooner than later, it won’t matter who’s under center. Mooney’s a smooth route runner and creates separation everywhere on the field; he’ll be an easy target for Dalton or Fields alike.

The offensive line found it’s stride at the end of the last season and its continued growth should spark more production on the ground and in the air. The Bears added Teven Jenkins in the draft with the 39th pick in the 2nd round. He looks like a lock to start the year at Left Tackle. Foles and Tribusky combined for 139 times pressured in 2020; they were constantly running for their lives.

The Bears made positional changes that improved the o-line last year, and they’ll continue to experiment through this season until they get it right. The point here is that Mooney will benefit from his quarterbacks getting more time in the pocket, allowing for his routes to develop and result in less overthrown passes and more completions downfield. It all starts up front!

Darnell Mooney is going very late in redraft formats; most mock drafts have him going in rounds 15+. In my most recent draft (SFB11), he was drafted at 14.06, 4 spots ahead of my pick (insert rolling eyes). Despite the late real estate, he’ll be a steal for anyone willing to take a shot on him this year. I anticipate he’ll eclipse 800 receiving yards, 75 catches, and five touchdowns. Feel free to lock him in a round or two higher than suggested by platforms like Yahoo, ESPN, Sleeper, MFL, Etc.

 

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