Could Justin Fields Finish as the QB1 in 2023?

Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields showed league-winning potential in 2022. Will the arrival of WR D.J. Moore help Fields reach his fantasy ceiling in 2023?

Justin Fields truthers had to wait a really, really long time to take a victory lap, but his hype train finally left the station in 2022 and is going full steam ahead into 2023. If Fields can build off of his breakout sophomore season in the Windy City, could he finish as the fantasy football QB1 this season? Let’s take a closer look.

Did you get a trade offer in your dynasty or redraft league? Not sure who to start or sit this week? Make championship-winning decisions with PFN’s FREE fantasy tools — the Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Calculator and Start/Sit Optimizer!

What Were the Signs in 2022 That Suggest a QB1 Finish Could Be in Justin Fields’ Future?

Fields’ 2022 campaign got off to a really rough start. Through the first four weeks of the season, he failed to complete 12 passes in a game while generating just three total TDs and turning the ball over five times. Through the first month of last season, his status as the starting franchise quarterback wasn’t exactly on solid ground.

But after a slow start, Fields would go on an absolute tear in the middle of the season. He put together a streak of eight consecutive games with a top-eight finish at the QB position.

His rushing production during that stretch was special. He averaged 88 yards rushing per game and scored seven rushing TDs. When you throw in his 11 TDs and 1,471 yards through the air during that stretch, he had a final tally of 2,182 total yards and 18 TDs.

This lengthy sample size of elite-level fantasy production certainly suggests he has the potential to finish as QB1 … if he continues to improve in 2023.

Will the Chicago Bears Offense Improve in 2023?

Despite the notable improvement from Fields under center, the Bears were still a bad football team last year. So bad, in fact, they finished with the worst record in the league and ended up with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Bears General Manager Ryan Poles managed to sell that top pick to the Carolina Panthers in return for some additional draft capital and standout WR D.J. Moore.

Moore has been a consistent producer at WR with a whole lot of inconsistency at QB during his time as a Panther. He generated three 1,000-yard seasons in five seasons in Carolina.

Is Justin Fields Playing Today vs. the New York Jets? Shoulder Injury Puts Status in Doubt

Moore’s career-low for receptions in a season is 55, which was his rookie year. For some perspective, no Bears player caught more than 50 passes in 2022. He will immediately have a positive impact on Fields in this offense.

Even with the arrival of Moore, should we expect a significant jump in passing production? Probably not. This team did lead the league in rushing yards last season.

The departure of David Montgomery does make it a bit unclear who is going to emerge as the leading rusher from the RB position in this backfield, but it would still be wise to expect this team to run the ball early and often this season.

Fields averaged 21 passing attempts per game last year with a single-game high of 28. The arrival of Moore and improved offensive line play should help bump those passing attempts up, but if he doesn’t average 26 passing attempts per game in 2023, I wouldn’t be shocked.

Can Justin Fields Finish as the QB1 in 2023?

So, that brings us full circle to the burning question: Does Fields have a real shot at finishing as the QB1 this season?

Well, according to our friends over at Inside Edge, Fields averaged 19.7 fantasy points per game in 2022, which was the sixth-best among qualified QBs.

If Fields continues to develop as a passer in a more talented offense that could produce more scoring opportunities, then my answer is yes.

The arrival of Moore really should not be overlooked.

Don’t kill me for this career comparison, but I see a lot of similarities between Fields and Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen.

Allen and Fields both struggled as passers in their rookie seasons (finishing with a negative TD:INT ratio) but flashed some elite-level capabilities as dual-threat QBs. Both finished outside of the top 20 at the QB position, starting just 12 games their first year.

In their second seasons, both QBs continued their elite-level production as a runner but took steps forward as a passer without a true WR1 on the roster. Darnell Mooney was the top WR for Fields last season, and John Brown was the top WR for Allen back in 2019. Both QBs finished inside the top 10 at the QB in their second season (Fields was QB7 while Allen was QB8).

Then, when WR Stefon Diggs arrived in Buffalo, who never quite reached his fantasy potential in Minnesota, Allen exploded to the QB1 overall in 2020. His rushing production continued, and his passing production took a huge jump with the presence of a true WR1.

All differences between Fields and Allen aside, these two situations do have some real similarities.

Fields’ elite-level rushing production is already proven, and the Bears adding a legit WR1 to the mix could help unlock Fields’ true potential as a passer and send him all the way to the top as a fantasy superstar.

You won’t see Fields atop the fantasy QB rankings in very many places, but if he is the first QB off the board in your fantasy draft, you may want to resist the urge to shame the pick publicly.

A QB1 finish for Fields is certainly well within the range of outcomes in 2023.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles