Darnell Mooney Fantasy Football Outlook 2022 (Can He Thrive as the Bears' No. 1 WR?)
The Chicago Bears' offense was most underwhelming throughout the 2021 NFL season. However, wideout Darnell Mooney ended up being one of the few bright spots for Bears fans, finishing the year as the WR23 in PPR fantasy formats by averaging 12.9 points per game.
With Allen Robinson gone, Mooney is now Chicago's No. 1 playmaker ahead of the 2022 campaign. Naturally, fans are wondering if he can thrive in the Windy City as his team go-to option in the passing game — especially with Justin Fields as the full-time starting quarterback.
Darnell Mooney Fantasy Football Outlook
After showing flashes of promise as a rookie, Mooney became a fan favorite in Chicago last season. The former 2020 fifth-round selection was easily the Bears' top pass-catcher, pacing his teammates when it came to receptions (81), yards (1,055) and touchdowns (four).
A quick look at the Bears' depth chart proves that Mooney will still be the defacto top option in the passing game. Free-agent acquisitions like N'Keal Harry and Byron Pringle aren't good enough to steal looks while returning tight end Cole Kmet only saw 93 targets compared to Mooney's 140.
Third-round rookie Velus Jones Jr. has some solid upside, but it isn't a threat to the chemistry that Mooney and Fields share. In the 10 games that Fields started last year, Mooney averaged 7.2 targets. Assuming that connection is still strong, I expect the same level of work for the third-year wideout.
Darnell Mooney Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook aren't anything special as far as Mooney is concerned. For instance, he's available at just +6000 odds (T-No. 35) to pace the league in receiving yards this season. He's also +6000 (T-No. 32) to be the 2022 NFL receiving TDs leader.
FanDuel does have some high expectations for Mooney, though, setting his projected receiving yards total at 950.5 with -112 odds on the over and under. If he can average the same 13.0 yards per reception he did as a sophomore, it'd take Mooney about 73 receptions to hit the over — eight less than he saw last year.
Is Darnell Mooney a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
Whenever you can land a No. 1 WR, it's usually a good fantasy football pick. While Fields isn't the best quarterback in the league, he and Mooney clearly have a connection that should benefit fantasy managers as the season goes on — especially with the Bears likely playing from behind more often than not.
As it stands, Fantasy Pros lists Mooney as the WR27 heading into the 2022 NFL season. He also carries an average draft position of 69.3, making him someone who'll likely be unavailable at some point during the sixth round in 12-team formats. He also ranks as WR26 in the The Duel's preseason fantasy rankings for PPR leagues.
With the number of targets that Mooney is likely to see this season, you can't go wrong with him and his potential to be a WR2/3 throughout the year. Oh, and if you've drafted Mooney, don't forget to check out the best Chicago Bears fantasy football team names for your squad too.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.