I’ve been doing this series of free dynasty profiles on 2020 rookies. I love the dynasty profile format, as it provides quick-hitting information in a short and digestible form. My previous work in this series is all found in links at the bottom of the page. Let’s jump straight into my next entry, Darnell Mooney!
Mooney wasn’t a high-profile devy or dynasty prospect at any point during his college career. He went to Tulane, where he recorded modest stats in a four-year career. As a junior, he had his best season with 48 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns. Mooney then followed up that performance as a senior with the same 48 receptions but only 713 yards and five touchdowns.
I had barely even heard of Mooney when the 2020 NFL Draft kicked off. Eventually, the Bears decided to select Mooney in the fifth round with the 173rd overall pick. Mooney was the 24th receiver picked, behind irrelevant players like Isaiah Coulter, Joe Reed, and John Hightower. I saw some opportunity in Chicago, but it’s not like I recommended Mooney in rookie drafts. He was a late fourth-rounder at best and went undrafted in some drafts.
However, Mooney almost immediately took a role in the Bears’ offense. After Week 1, he played 60% or more of offensive snaps in every other game, quickly passing Anthony Miller as the Bears’ WR2. Mooney became the second outside receiver across from Allen Robinson, relegating Miller to a slot-only player in 3-wide sets. Here are Mooney’s full rookie year stats.
|Year||Games||Targets||Receptions||Yards||TDs||Fantasy Finish||Fantasy PPG||PPG Rank|
It’s not like Mooney was fantasy-relevant as a rookie. He finished as the WR50 but only 62nd in fantasy PPG. But, he far exceeded expectations, and his stats are far better than most fifth-round picks ever record in the NFL. Mooney finished second on the Bears in targets, receptions, and yards, and third behind Robinson and Jimmy Graham in touchdowns.
Perhaps, Mooney would have done even better if the Bears had more competent quarterback play than whatever Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles offered. I remember multiple plays where Mooney broke free of the defense deep downfield, but either Trubisky or Foles missed the throw or the read entirely. All things considered, Mooney’s rookie year was a stunning success.
For dynasty purposes, the Bears’ entire offense is majorly in flux going into 2021. They have running backs David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen under contract, but they have question marks everywhere else. I believe the Bears will not resolve their differences with Robinson, and they don’t seem to have any faith in Miller. The Bears also have some cap trouble, and I think they may release tight end Jimmy Graham, leaving Cole Kmet as their only relevant tight end.
Of course, the Bears will replace some of these pieces, but they also have a massive hole at quarterback. Foles is under contract for 2021, although Trubisky is a free agent. Considering what a free-agent quarterback might cost, the Bears will likely struggle to sign a significant receiver.
Therefore, I love Mooney’s situation in 2021. He won’t be the clear top target, but he’ll be on par with Kmet, Cohen, and whoever the Bears draft or sign for the offense’s top receiving role. If the Bears have a quarterback upgrade, Mooney could fully realize his value in Year 2. Invest in Mooney now, before Robinson formally walks in free agency.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.