2024 Fantasy Football Overvalued, Undervalued & Sleeper: Chicago Bears

The Bears finally have themselves a potential franchise quarterback, as they took Caleb Williams first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. But, what about the rest of their roster? They boast a massively different set of weapons for Caleb than they ever did for Justin Fields. Expectations are that they will finally make it back to the playoffs, but what about their fantasy prospects? Let’s dive into the 2024 Chicago Bears’ most overvalued & undervalued player and one sleeper for good measure.

Overvalued: D’Andre Swift, Running Back (RB21, Pick 72 Overall)

On a per-carry basis, Swift is an above-average NFL running back. He averages 4.6 yards per carry and 7.2 yards per reception for his career. Last year was not a great season for Swift, who finished 51st in PlayerProfiler.com’s yard created per touch statistic and finished as RB24 in fantasy points per game after finishing seventeenth and tenth in the two prior seasons. The reason for his drop was simple: targets. Swift had 78 targets in 2021, 70 targets in 2022, and just 49 last season.

He’ll be a fine runner, but a ton of his value is tied up in targets, and those will be at a premium in Chicago in 2024. They kept D.J. Moore (136 targets last year) & Cole Kmet (90 targets last year), signed Keenan Allen (150 targets last year) & Gerald Everett (70 targets last year), and drafted Rome Odunze (140 targets last year). Granted, those guys won’t get all those targets this year, but that puts him fifth in the pecking order at best. The Bears had 106 targets to running backs last season, at 106. But, the additions of those weapons and the Swift/Roschon Johnson/Khalil Herbert backfield split make it tough to believe that Swift will get enough of the backfield production to return value in 2024.

Undervalued: Rome Odunze, Wide Receiver (WR43, Pick 95 Overall)

Both D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen ate up over 130 targets last season, but that was in a different offense, and the Bears spent a top-ten pick on Odunze after already having both those men on the roster. He’s the future of the receiver position in Chicago, and the future could already be now. The lazy comparison for him (and one, I admit, I have made) is Jaxon Smith-Njigba. JSN and Rome both walk into crowded Shane Waldron-led passing games with a questionable quarterback after a high draft capital expenditure to obtain them. Smith-Njigba finished 2023 with 93 targets, 63 catches, 628 yards and four touchdowns. But, JSN manned the slot (he was ninth in slot snaps last season), a role which Keenan Allen has on lock (tenth in slot snaps last year). That makes Odunze an outside receiver opposite D.J. Moore. If you want to make the lazy comparison, he’s the D.K. Metcalf in this offense, with Allen as the JSN & Moore as the versatile Tyler Lockett-type.

I feel great about Odunze breaking through his rookie year. Sure, he has a rookie quarterback, but as we saw last year with C.J. Stroud, a rookie QB surrounded by talent will thrive.

Sleeper: Khalil Herbert, Running Back (RB56, Pick 167 Overall)

Right now, the consensus seems to be that Roschon Johnson will be the #2 running back in Chicago this season. However, I am not so convinced that Johnson will be the deep draft Bears running back to return value. The easy reason for that is that Herbert was already ahead of Johnson in the pecking order in 2023, and nothing Johnson did put him ahead of Herbert going into 2024. Johnson had zero games above 15 touches, and Herbert had two such games in the last three weeks of the season. Herbert also finished as a top-12 RB more times than Johnson, probably because Johnson didn’t get the volume, and didn’t put anything up statistically that showed he deserves more volume.

According to PlayerProfiler.com, Herbert ranked higher than Johnson in True Yards Per Carry, Juke Rate, and Breakaway Run Rate, all while facing more defenders in the box, on average. He’s the better player than Roschon Johnson, but fantasy football twitter up and decided that wasn’t the case. I’m putting my money on Roschon Johnson as the #3 back in this backfield, making Herbert the sleeper candidate here.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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