Fantasy Football Booms and Busts: Justin Fields gives Chicago hope in Week 10

The Chicago Bears probably aren't going anywhere this season. They're 3-6, 1-5 in the NFC, and moved two key defensive players at the NFL trade deadline. The goal is to improve and evaluate, get ready for a better day down the road.

But it looks like they’ve found something at quarterback. And in the NFL, that’s always Job 1.

Miami escaped with a 35-32 victory at Chicago on Sunday, but Justin Fields was the star of the day. Fields ran for 178 yards — a new regular-season record for a quarterback — and accounted for four total touchdowns, putting Chicago's offense on his back.

Most of the Fields highlights were as a runner — most notably his exhilarating 61-yard touchdown scamper — but he also involved his key pass-catchers. Darnell Mooney snagged 7-of-8 targets, covering 43 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Cole Kmet secured two short touchdowns — he's back in fantasy play after a shaky start to the year.

The passing game overall is still a work in progress — while Fields completed 17-of-28 passes, they covered just 123 yards, a meager 4.4 YPA. But fantasy is a game about numbers, and Fields rang them up like a pinball machine. He finished the afternoon with 42.72 fantasy points, the best quarterback score of the year. That final tally edged past the 42.62 points Lamar Jackson banked in Week 2.

Fields is gifted as a runner, fast and instinctive, able to keep almost any play alive. And the Bears are getting more proactive using his running ability as both a weapon and a distraction. The Bears offered plenty of misdirection calls and play-action fakes at Miami, often leading to successful plays.

And maybe the receiver play will get better soon. Chase Claypool had a quiet debut for Chicago (2-13-0), but he did draw one pass-interference penalty. Another target was a bad drop, off a screen pass. Claypool also was likely interfered with on a pass late in the fourth quarter, but the play wasn’t flagged.

You’d like to see more downfield connections from the Bears — no completion went for more than 18 yards Sunday — but surely that’s coming. Mooney threatens all areas of the field. And if Fields doesn’t get your juices flowing when he runs the ball, it’s time to get that ticker checked. The Bears were a boring team two months ago, but they look like a fantasy carnival now.

Fields' 178 rushing yards moved Michael Vick out of the record book — Vick rang up a silly 173 yards rushing against Minnesota in December 2022, finishing the game with an electrifying 46-yard touchdown run in overtime. If we include playoff games in the search, Colin Kaepernick still holds pole position. Kaepernick ran for 181 yards and threw for 263 more — with four total touchdowns — as the 49ers knocked out the Packers in the 2012 playoffs. San Francisco eventually made the Super Bowl, losing to the Ravens three weeks later.

It almost feels unfair to get this deep into the lede and not mention the Dolphins, but that offense also paid the fantasy bills. Tua Tagovailoa was on point all afternoon (21-for-30, 302 yards, three touchdowns), playing spotless football. He was not sacked or intercepted. And to the joy of fantasy managers, the Dolphins employ a very narrow usage tree.

Tyreek Hill (7-143-1) continues to make a case for the No. 1 fantasy wideout spot (though several stars were sharp Sunday) and Jaylen Waddle (5-85-1) can't be far behind. Jeff Wilson Jr. had the better of the backfield work (72 total yards, one touchdown), but at least Raheem Mostert had a touchdown to deodorize an otherwise shaky day (9-26-1 rushing, no catches).

There’s nothing else to study in this offense, Mike Gesicki (1-3-0, two targets) isn’t used much. Even in bye-week season, Trent Sherfield doesn’t see enough volume to merit streaming consideration. The Dolphins are a flying circus with Tagovailoa, Hill, and Waddle, and the backs will pick up the rest of the scraps.

Miami’s good times figure to continue against the Cleveland Browns next week, and the Houston Texans in Week 12 (there’s a bye in the middle). Meanwhile, the Bears are looking at the Detroit Lions (yes please) and the Atlanta Falcons (sure) in Weeks 10 and 11.

Editor's note: More Week 9 fantasy analysis to come