Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen's Updated Fantasy Outlook After Week 2

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2017

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Running back Tarik Cohen #29 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball for several yards during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 17, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears dropped to 0-2 on the season Sunday with a 29-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, and, much to the chagrin of fantasy owners with Jordan Howard on their team, the running game was nowhere to be found.

Chicago finished with 20 rushing yards on 16 carries between Howard and Tarik Cohen, although Cohen preserved some of his fantasy value with a respectable showing in the passing attack.

Howard finished with nine carries for seven yards and zero receptions, while Cohen carried the ball seven times for 13 yards but tallied eight catches for 55 yards. Neither back found the end zone during Sunday's blowout loss.

Here is a fantasy breakdown for each.


Jordan Howard

Fantasy owners who drafted Howard were likely thrilled at the start of the season, considering he posted 1,313 rushing yards in his rookie season in 2016 and figured to build on that with more experience.

Instead, Cohen has eaten into his carries, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune pointed out there are also injury concerns moving forward:

Cohen and health aren't the only concerns for Howard's long-term fantasy value. Chicago is likely to fall behind in upcoming games given its Sunday performance and 0-2 record, meaning it will need to play catch-up with the aerial attack.

The Bears' next two contests are against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, who both figure to be playoff contenders after reaching their respective conference championship games last season. Look for Chicago to fall behind and need to throw the ball consistently, which is unfortunate news for fantasy managers with Howard after he failed to make a single catch with one target Sunday.

Howard is no longer the must-start running back he was just two weeks ago after the start of the 2017 season.


Tarik Cohen

The concern for fantasy owners relying on Howard with Chicago being forced to turn to the passing game is actually a plus for those who have Cohen on their teams.

The rookie finished with a team-high eight catches on nine targets during Sunday's game, which comes after he had a team-high eight catches on 12 targets in Week 1's loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Those numbers are music to the ears of owners in point-per-reception leagues.

Chicago also placed Kevin White on injured reserve earlier this season after it already lost Cameron Meredith for the season to a torn ACL.

Injury has decimated the receiver corps, and Cohen has stepped into the void as a primary target in the passing game. There is no reason to think that will change with White and Meredith out, making Cohen as close to a must-play in fantasy circles as the Bears have on their roster at this point.