Team: Chicago Bears
Position: Running Back
Percent Owned On Fantasy Teams (Yahoo Fantasy): 15%
Fantasy Points Through Week 1 (Half PPR): Projected: 4.91 Actual: 22.30
The conclusion of an intense opening week of football always brings about either exciting revelations or devastating discoveries depending on your rooting interests. In fantasy football, the end of every week allows dedicated owners to do their due diligence in order to ensure their respective rosters are up to snuff. While drafting a star studded line up is great, injuries and down years inevitably render once exciting talents either obsolete or inefficient when it comes to scoring coveted fantasy points. Even if your team is completely healthy and productive, it never hurts to consult the waiver wire to at least keep an eye on up and coming players that no one on your team knows about.
This week, hardly any unknown potential assets excelled more than second string running back Tarik Cohen. While Cohen went mostly undiscovered by fantasy owners because of his place on the depth chart behind top-tier running back Jordan Howard, his coming out party against the Atlanta Falcons in week one showed us a seriously underrated and versatile running back that could become a coveted asset in the coming weeks.
While Cohen had a solid day in terms of rushing yards (five rush attempts, 66 rushing yards, 13.2 yards per rush attempt), his impressive production in this regard came as mainly the result of a 46-yard rush in the second quarter. Even this notable scamper was the result of Cohen utilizing his diminutive size (5’6″, 179 pounds) and incredible speed to break away from defenders while running swiftly down the sideline (all rushing yards were accrued running wither wide left or wide right).
However, the notable facet of Cohen’s dynamic skill set that could make him an intriguing fantasy weapon are his pass catching capabilities. Unlike his limited running abilities, Cohen was much more dynamic as a receiver in every play direction except his immediate left and made a consistent impact on 1st down between 8-10 yards from the first down marker (6.7 yards per reception and one touchdown). The latter statistic is particularly notable as shaky quarterback Mike Glennon could come to rely on Cohen to lend an initial spark to start a drive while utilizing him to make big plays as the Bears move closer to the red zone.
While Cohen’s rushing numbers may regress somewhat in the coming weeks, his pass catching abilities will earn him ample playing time as the season progresses. Considering his reliability as a pass catching back on 1st down and in the red zone, I expect Cohen to become a check-down favorite for Glennon, particularly when a set play breaks down. The fact that Howard narrowly out touched Cohen 16-13 should tell you all you need to know about Cohen’s potential production going forward.