• New York Jets RB Breece Hall (76.4 PFF rushing grade): The rookie was on his way to an elite fantasy football season, but a torn ACL injury devastatingly landed him on injured reserve. His exceptional 2022 season will not be forgotten.
Estimated Reading Time: 9 mins
The halfway point of the 2022 NFL season has arrived, and it is time to dole out midseason fantasy football awards for five of the league’s most notable performers.
The Late-Round Quarterback: QB Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
• Fantasy managers have embraced the late-round-quarterback draft strategy for years, but after nine weeks of NFL play, five of the top-six fantasy football scoring quarterbacks were also five of the first six quarterbacks drafted between Aug. 15 and Sept. 7 on Underdog Fantasy. The season’s first-half results, a repeat of 2021’s, have pushed fantasy’s Overton window toward a probable early-round quarterback approach in 2023.
• Second-year Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is leading the charge to keep late-round quarterbacks as a mainstream tactic, though.
• In 2022, the QB1-QB6 group has outscored the QB7-QB12 group by a 51.1-point average.
• In 2021, the QB1-QB6 group outscored the QB7-QB12 by a 63.61-point average.
• It took five weeks for Chicago to adjust its playbook, but since Week 6, Fields has been featured as a league-breaking dual-threat quarterback. He even set the single-game quarterback rushing record last week, piling up 178 rushing yards against Tua Tagovailoa’s Dolphins. His downfield passing has also been fantastic.
• The table below ranks Fields’ Week 6-9 production in parentheses among NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks and 10 rush attempts during that span. A minimum 10-dropback filter was applied to the PFF passing grade on throws of at least 20 or more air yards.
Justin Fields | Weeks 6-9
|Fantasy Points/Game||28.13 (No. 2)|
|PFF Passing Grade – 20+ aDot||59.7 (No. 18) – 88.9 (No. 7)|
|Big-Time Throw % – Turnover-Worthy Play %||4.5% (No. 13) – 4.0% (No. 9)|
|NFL Passer Rating||95.6% (No. 5)|
|PFF Rushing Grade||91.2 (No. 2)|
|Yds/Rush. – YAC/Rush||8.3 (No. 2) – 5.5 (No. 1)|
|Missed Tackles Forced/Rush – Explosive Runs||0.31 (No. 3) – 16 (No. 1)|
• A pair of mid-to-late-round quarterbacks have made strong cases for this award, but Fields’ newfound usage has him leading runner-up Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow by nearly a rushing touchdown per game.
• Burrow (ADP: 75.1, QB8) has resiliently exceeded expectations, producing 205.5 fantasy points overall (QB3) and 22.83 fantasy points per game (QB4).
• Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (132.9, QB17) has similarly returned value by racking up 139.90 fantasy points overall (QB12) and 19.96 points per game (QB7).
• Fields’ Bears have games against the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons over the next two weeks. Detroit’s 52.1 PFF coverage grade ranks third-worst in the NFL, and their 51.3 PFF run-defense grade is a bottom-10 mark. Atlanta’s 56.4 PFF coverage grade is seventh-worst, and their middling 61.2 PFF run-defense grade is tied for 15th. Fields should be expected to shred both teams.