Fantasy Football Reaction: Jordan Howard Trade
The Chicago Bears have traded Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft. The Bears could have gotten more for a guy that was 65 rushing yards shy of starting his career with 3 consecutive 1,000-plus rushing yard seasons. Jordan Howard was not in the future plans for this Bears offense. Clearly, Head Coach Matt Nagy was ready to turn the page as soon as possible and is content with the return in the trade. Howard now finds himself on a team with a crowded backfield. Let’s explore what this trade means for both sides and how it impacts fantasy football values heading into the 2019 season.
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This trade is great for Tarik Cohen and “meh” at best for Mike Davis from a fantasy perspective. Although Cohen is the smaller variety in size, he is the best RB on the roster. Cohen will see an increase in volume which will limit the opportunities for the rest of the backfield. I don’t expect Mike Davis to fill the role or volume Howard left behind. Jordan Howard had 250 or more carries in each of his 3 seasons in the NFL. Mike Davis has been in the league for 4 seasons and just had the most carries of his career in 2018 with 112. That’s less than half of Howard’s career-worst carry total. I find it hard to believe the Bears feel they are all set at the position and don’t target an early round RB in this year’s draft. Regardless, this situation does not bode well for Davis’ volume or 2019 fantasy value.
Tarik Cohen finished as the No. 11 RB in PPR last year and that was with Howard taking up 270 touches. With Howard gone, Matt Nagy will be tempted to grant more opportunities to the versatile, speedy back. Cohen had just 99 rushing attempts last season. He will not be hindered by the presence of a volume-based running back this season and will likely have over 100 rushes in 2019. Cohen is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league and should have no problem maintaining if not, increasing his target volume from Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears know what they have in Tarik Cohen and will not leave anything on the table this year. Cohen in entering the third year of his rookie contract and will want to further prove his worth with more volume. He will likely end up a top 10 option at RB in PPR scoring.
It should be obvious that Jordan Howard becomes the lead back in Philadelphia but, under Doug Pederson, it’s a complete guessing game. This backfield now consists of Corey Clement, Josh Adams, Boston Scott, and Wendell Smallwood. Even Darren Sproles has a possibility of returning for the 2019 season. Regardless of depth at the position, the Eagles gained a powerful, early-down back. He has proven to handle at least 270 touches per season since entering the league in 2016. Howard could benefit should the Eagles go back to featuring a lead back. Howard is a volume guy and his fantasy value hinges on that volume.
Unfortunately, Doug Pederson hasn’t shown much of a desire or need to focus on one lead back. In 2017, Jay Ajayi carried the ball 208 times in the 14 games he played (granted the majority of those carries took place in Miami). LeGarrette Blount also carried the ball 173 times in that season. Ajayi was the closest thing Pederson has had to a “healthy” lead back since becoming a head coach in 2016. Now, the Eagles head coach will have a young, healthy, reliable bruiser that has only missed 1 game in his NFL career. That one game just happened to be in Week 1 of his rookie season in 2016. If Doug Pederson doesn’t give heavy volume to a guy like Jordan Howard then he likely won’t moving forward. If Howard does get the volume he deserves in this offense, he’ll have a much better fantasy season than he had last year. This Eagles offense has some serious weapons which will set up plenty of scoring opportunities on the ground for Howard.
Nate Hamilton is a regular contributor in the fantasy football industry. He has provided advice & analysis on a daily basis since joining Twitter (@DomiNateFF) in August of 2013. He has written content for many well-known sites including FantasyPros, The Fantasy Footballers, Fantasy Data, and currently, FantraxHQ. He is the co-host of The Fantasy Tilt Podcast with Keaton Denlay. Nate also Co-Authored Amazon’s #1 Best Selling “The Fantasy Football Black Book” with Joe Pisapia & others in 2018. He is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA).
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