Foxy’s Fantasy Forecast – RBs

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David Montgomery (RB ADP Rank: 21)

If you invested an early pick in David Montgomery last year, you were likely unhappy with how he performed to start the season. If you had patience with Monty, or couldn’t trade him, he definitely delivered for your team down the stretch at the end of last season. Some of that was him feasting on weak defenses, and some of that was the fact that he was the only true RB on the roster at the time with Tarik Cohen out. 

The good news for Montgomery is that the Bears added a ton of talent to the offensive line, the Bears get Tarik Cohen back, and they face the 7th weakest strength of schedule for fantasy RBs this upcoming season. With reports coming out that Montgomery is looking strong and faster going into the season, he has the opportunity to outperform those stat predictions. It will be interesting to see how Tarik Cohen’s presence will affect Montgomery’s number of carries and targets, but with both of them on the field at the same time, it can also create confusion for the defense leading to big plays for both.

Currently Montgomery’s ADP puts him right at the end of the third round (3-12). Considering he finished as a Top 10 RB in 2020, that seems to be pretty good value to me. As the 21st RB off the board based on position ADP, getting him in the late 3rd or early 4th is pretty good value if he can return the same value he did last season. If everything finally clicks on the offensive side of the ball this year for the Bears, Montgomery has the potential to deliver a Top 5-10 RB performance for his fantasy owners. Who wouldn’t love to see that?

Tarik Cohen (RB ADP Rank: 54)

Can’t say how happy I am to see Tarik Cohen will be back in the lineup for the Bears after suffering a season ending ACL tear during Week 3 of 2020 against the Falcons. With an injury like this, one has to wonder if we’ll see the same shifty, elusive back we saw before the injury. ACL tears are typically really bad for the things that Cohen does best – cutting, shift, lateral movements to make defenders miss. On top of that, Tarik recently lost his twin brother in a tragic accident. All that considered, it’s no wonder the reports out of camp in mid-June were not exactly glowing.

Beyond the injury concerns coming into the season, you also have to look at the RB depth chart for the Bears going into 2021. The Bears added 2019 Super Bowl Champ Damien Williams via Free Agency. He opted out of last season due to Covid, so he should have some very fresh legs and be hungry to play coming into the season. The Bears also added Khalil Herbert out of Virginia Tech in the sixth round of this year’s draft. With these two additions, the Bears RB room is looking loaded after a year where Cordarelle Patterson got way too many carries. This was clearly a position they wanted to add depth this off season and they did.

While Cohen is a great pass catching back who has shown he’s capable of making game changing plays in the NFL, the injury and the depth at the position make him a risky pick in any format. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up losing the majority of his touches to the other two backs and was asked to focus more on his punt returning now that Patterson is gone. I wouldn’t draft him if given the opportunity and I don’t think you should either.

Damien Williams (RB ADP: 50)

The last time anyone saw Damien Williams he was winning a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs and, some might argue, should have won the MVP for that game. He decided to opt out of last season due to Covid and is hungry to get back to work. After the depth issues the Bears had last season, I’m sure they’re ecstatic they could lock up such a solid depth guy like Williams at such a reasonable price. It’ll be interesting to see if there is any noticeable rust after taking a season off.

Based on positional and overall ADP, it looks like most would agree that he’s a more likely backup candidate if anything were to happen to Montgomery. I would agree with that notion as he is a more complete back than Cohen and has shown he can carry an RB1 load if needed over his time in Kansas City. Anyone who might be looking for a Montgomery handcuff should target Williams late in the draft over Cohen.

Williams is a decent pass catching RB who has burst and quickness. With a year to rest, he should be eager to get back on the field and prove he’s still got plenty of tread left on the tires so he can score a longer contract next offseason as he only signed for one year with the Bears. If anything were to happen to Montgomery (God forbid) , Williams would be in a position to return RB2 value to any fantasy manager who snags him late in the draft or off waivers. Definitely keep an eye and ear out for reports coming out of training camp on Williams.

Khalil Herbert (RB ADP: 83)

If you were watching the draft in May, you saw Ryan Pace have his best draft since he took over as the GM of the Bears. Not only did he secure his QB of the future, but he finally put a  focus on the offensive line and added great depth at other positions. One of those great depth picks was sixth rounder, Khalil Herbert. Before finishing his career at Virginia Tech, Herbert was a beast at Kansas for four years. After putting up 1,300+ total yards at Virginia Tech this past fall, some would argue he was a big time steal for the Bears in the sixth.

Herbert is a fast straight line runner who is hard to take down. He had several broken tackles throughout his college career averaging 7.6 YPC at Virginia Tech and should be able to step up in a pinch. We should see a lot of him in preseason as the Bears look to evaluate the talent they’ve added to the roster. I wouldn’t anticipate Herbert getting too many carries this year unless the game is out of reach. Knowing that I wouldn’t touch him in drafts or bother looking at him on waivers. Like with every season, crazy things can happen, and the kid has shown he can ball. So if crazy happens, he may see more of the field, but I highly doubt it.

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