The Chicago Bears had a disappointing 2021 season finishing third in the NFC North at 6-11. But Chicago will start the 2022 season with new head coach, Matt Eberflus. Eberflus was hired by new general manager Ryan Poles. Oddsmakers don’t have too much faith in this new coach and this Chicago squad as their win total is set at 6.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
The biggest off-season moves were the new general managers, replacing the coaching staff and trading Khalil Mack to the Chargers. And although many people believe the Bears are not helping second-year quarterback Justin Fields at all, they did make multiple moves at the wide receiver position. These players probably won’t be too fantasy relevant but it should shake up the depth chart.
In this series, we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project — correctly — which players will win training camp battles.
Here’s a look at our picks to win the training camp battles for the Chicago Bears ahead of your 2022 fantasy football drafts.
Byron Pringle vs. N’Keal Harry vs. Velus Jones Jr.
Darnell Mooney is wide receiver one in Chicago going into the season but there will be a competition for the number two slot in Chicago. The Bears signed Byron Pingle who came from Kansas City, traded for N’Keal Harry with New England and drafted Velus Jones Jr. out of Tennesee. Pringle recorded 568 receiving yards on 60 targets with five touchdowns last season in Kansas City. Pringle was really just a complementary piece in this Chiefs offense as he was fourth in targets behind Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Mecole Hardman.
N’Keal Harry could never get things going in New England. He only recorded 584 yards and four touchdowns in his three years and 33 games with the Patriots. Although he never got things started in New England, a fresh start in Chicago will provide plenty of opportunity for playing time in this receiving room.
Velus Jones Jr. played five years of college football at USC and Tennessee. His last season was his best college season, he recorded 807 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. Jones was also utilized in kick and punt returns throughout his college career where he recorded 628 yards in 2021 with one touchdown.
Our pick to win: Byron Pringle
This one is a toss-up as the two veterans haven’t put up big numbers on other offenses and the third is a rookie. I’m going to go with a veteran here and Pringle has been more impressive than Harry so far in the NFL. Jones could have a big role in this offense but he may be used more as a kick-off/punt returner than the number two wide receiver.
Backup RB battle
Khalil Herbert vs. Darrynton Evans
The backup running back could prove to be worth your time to keep an eye on with how much this Bears team is expected to run heading into the 2022 season. Per PFF, Chicago currently has the highest graded run block wide receiver group in the NFL. David Montgomery has recorded 2,808 rushing yards, 924 receiving yards, and 24 touchdowns in his three seasons in Chicago. He averaged 238 rushing attempts and 51 receiving targets in each of these three seasons. Opportunites are king in fantasy as we said before and this just proves it.
Khalil Herbert had 433 yards on 103 attempts in 2021 with two touchdowns in his rookie season. If Herbert has a good camp this summer, he should secure the backup role and could be handed a larger role in this offense.
Evans played two seasons for the Titans and unfortunately only appeared in six games due to injury. Evans had 61 rushing yards on 16 attempts and one receiving touchdown with the Titans. He was utilized as a kickoff returning and has 206 yards on nine attempts in 2020, this is likely his primary role on this Bears team.
Our pick to win: Khalil Herbert
The coaching staff seems impressed with him and he is worth the late-round pick-up for a target share upside. He has the ability and opportunity to surprise a lot of us with his fantasy production in 2022.