Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney 2021 Fantasy Sleepers With Justin Fields Throwing Dimes - Roto Street Journal
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Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney 2021 Fantasy Sleepers With Justin Fields Throwing Dimes

Bears fans, I hope you’re happy! After speculation that Justin Fields could fall into the back half of the first round, Chicago traded up with the Giants and got their guy with the 11th overall pick. This is GREAT news. 

Considering how putrid the Bears QB room has been in recent years, Fields looks like an immediate upgrade over the likes of Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and co. With 4.46 speed, at 6’3 and 227 pounds, Fields is a dynamic QB with the potential to turn this Bears offense into a pretty formidable one. 

Thanks to that major talent upgrade at QB, there are two players who I believe have emerged as penny stocks to monitor this offseason and into fantasy football draft season.

These two are second-year WR Darnell Mooney and second-year TE Cole Kmet

Darnell Mooney

Darnell Mooney was a 5th round draft selection out of Tulane last year with exceptional speed (4.38 40-yard dash) and explosiveness. On average, opposing corners afforded over 4 yards of cushion on the line of scrimmage, which was good for 14th most yards last year. Although his rookie season was not spectacular, he definitely outperformed expectations.

A mix of Foles and Trubisky targeted him 98 times and resulted in 61 receptions for 632 yards and four touchdowns. Outside of your traditional stats, there are some pretty promising numbers Mooney posted last season. For starters, Mooney ranked 23rd in routes run in 2020 with 517 routes.  He ranked 29th in air yards with 1,157 air yards but ranked 10th in unrealized air yards (739 yards)… If this isn’t a testament to poor QB play in Chicago, I don’t know what is. Fine, if you still aren’t sold, how about only 73 of Mooney’s 98 targets were deemed catchable. 

Despite, decent numbers, it’s good to see that he was involved in every game and a part of the team’s game plan during his rookie season. He was also targeted five or more times in 12 of 16 games last year and that’s only with having been on the field for over 80 percent of snaps in seven games.

Enter Fields.

Fields had one of, if not the best deep ball in the 2021 NFL Draft class. He led all of the top QB prospects with 70 percent of his passing yards coming before the catch (air yards). He took deep shots often and completed on them at an impressively regular rate. In a COVID-shortened 2020 season, Fields completed nearly 60 percent of his deep shots (20-plus yards) to the tune of nine touchdowns to only two interceptions.

Justin Fields: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile | RotoBaller

Mooney should not only see an increase in opportunities entering year two but also in the quality of targets. Allen Robinson still runs the show at WR in Chicago, but Mooney looks like he has the chops to be a solid WR2 for the Bears in 2021. Mooney finished as the WR51 last season and his value in drafts should be comfortable enough to take a shot on him.

Cole Kmet

Jimmy Graham is entering the final year of his 2-year, $16 million contract that he signed with Chicago. Graham’s best days as a fantasy option at TE are certainly behind him and Kmet has the potential to become the next breakout player at the position.

Kmet was the best TE from last year’s NFL draft and was a high draft capital player (No. 43 overall). His rookie campaign got off to a slow start, but that’s to be expected as a rookie, particularly at the TE position.

Kmet only had 44 targets last year, but 75 percent of those targets (33) came after the Bears week 11 bye. Furthermore, the rookie played over 70 percent of the team’s snaps over those final six weeks. 

Although the Ohio State offense notoriously relies on its run game and its outside weapons, Fields targeted his top two tight ends during his team’s biggest games. In the 2020 CFP game against Clemson, Fields hit his two tight ends for three total touchdowns. Neither amassed much during the last two seasons, but that was mostly due to Ryan Day’s scheme, rather than his reluctance to throw the ball to his tight ends.

Mooney comes in at WR51 (+3 vs the ECR), while Kmet is ranked TE14 (+4 vs ECR) on The Wolf’s 2021 Fantasy Football Rankings & Big Board.


  • Fantasy football enthusiast & writer for Roto Street Journal. Graduate of Saint Joseph's University Class of 2019.

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