When we talk about talented young players whose path to Fantasy relevance is blocked at the start of the season, it’s worth remembering the famous words of Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park: “Life, uh, finds a way.”
We all knew Justin Fields was going to be the starter for the Bears before long once they took him with the 11th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. It didn’t matter how many times Matt Nagy said otherwise, it was going to happen inevitably. And, as soon as it did — whenever it did — he was going to be Fantasy relevant.
Well, it looks like it’s happened. It unfortunately came as a result of a knee injury to Andy Dalton, who left Sunday’s game against the Bengals with an injury after an awkward landing on a scramble — one of four starting quarterbacks to leave Sunday’s games. We don’t know the exact extent of the injury — it has been reported to not be a torn ACL, at least — but it sure looks like Fields is going to get the chance to make his first NFL start in Week 3 against the Browns, and that should make him one of the highest priorities on waivers this week.
It is worth noting that Fields didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his first extended taste of NFL action Sunday. He completed 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards with an ugly interception, finishing with just 3.5 Fantasy points in a little over a half of football. He’ll have to play better than that in order to be worth the hype, but it’s also worth believing that he will.
You just have to look around the NFL to see why. The Fantasy impact of running quarterbacks is obvious — Jalen Hurts passed for just 190 yards with no touchdowns and still scored 21.8 Fantasy points in Week 2. I’m not sure Fields can be counted on for the kind of rushing production Hurts has accounted for — 60-plus yards in five of his first six starts — but he should be a very productive rusher, and I expect he’ll fare better as a passer than what he did in coming out in relief Sunday.
It’s a crowded field at the top of the QB rankings these days, but Fields absolutely has the skill set to crash the top 10 if he does get the chance to start. And, given his upside, Fields may not give the job back if he does. If you need a quarterback and Fields is available — he’s 78 percent rostered in CBS Fantasy leagues, but is available in more than half of ESPN as well as 49 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Here’s who else we’ll be looking for on waivers heading into Week 3: