RB Tarik Cohen | Chicago Bears | 2nd Year
2017 Stats: 87 carries, 370 yds, 2 TD; 53 rec., 353 yds, 1 TD
After a good performance in his NFL debut, with 113 yards from scrimmage (66 rushing) on 13 touches (eight catches) and a receiving touchdown, Tarik Cohen became a hot waiver wire addition for fantasy owners. He he was able to sustain some value in the ensuing weeks, with double-digit touches in four of the next five games and at least 7.8 fantasy points (ESPN PPR scoring) in seven of the first eight games.
But after a bye in Week 9, Cohen seemed to be phased out of the Bears’ offense with double-digit touches just twice in those final eight contests. Overall he wound up playing less than 36 percent of the offensive snaps as a rookie, on his way to finishing as RB29 in ESPN default PPR scoring. Even with Jordan Howard in place as Chicago’s lead running back, Cohen should be more heavily involved this year.
Since taking over as Bears’ head coach, Matt Nagy has heaped praise on Cohen. That includes a comparison to Tyreek Hill, who Nagy had as Chiefs offensive coordinator, while pointing to moving Cohen around the formation and having “some fun” utilizing him.
Cohen apparently added 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason, which puts him up to 190 pounds. So he’s not going to suddenly become a formidable threat between the tackles and at the goal line, and the Bears have Howard for that anyway.
But Cohen should naturally and easily eclipse his 140 touches from last season (8.8 per game). The pace he set during the first half of his rookie season, with 82 touches (54 carries, 28 catches), sets a solid projection of somewhere around 160 touches under a new coaching staff.
Without an injury to Howard, 100 carries feels like the high end for Cohen this year. But after eight games with two or fewer catches last year, 60-70 receptions and a push toward 1,000 total yards is well within reach. In PPR leagues there’s some upside as a RB3/flex, and that’s what his ADP points to on Fantasy Football Calculator (RB29, pick 6.04-12-team PPR; RB35, pick 7.11 in standard 12-team leagues).