Bears running backs David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen are causing a bit of fantasy football angst for Week 1. The Bears drafted Montgomery this offseason and all signs point to the rookie becoming the team’s lead back in 2019. The big questions are whether you can trust him in his first NFL game, and what the addition means for Cohen.
Fans can feel comfortable starting Montgomery, but Cohen should remain on the bench for most teams. Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor reported that the Bears “love” Montgomery and noted that the rookie back should help the team “immediately.”
“Offensively, the Bears are in love with RB David Montgomery, who brings a professional approach that is rare for a rookie. He’s a no-nonsense guy who takes football very seriously. The Bears love that, plus his receiving skills & make-you-miss. He will help this team immediately,” Paylor tweeted.
The talk all offseason has been about how the Bears want to reduce Cohen’s workload. Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported that Cohen could be receiving decreased touches at running back.
Tarik Cohen has a different skill set as a wide receiver and might not get as many touches as he has at running back. He’ll still be handed the ball, but the Bears want to use draft pick David Montgomery and free-agent addition Mike Davis. They’re super excited about Montgomery, and that came across clearly when Nagy answered a question about the backs Tuesday.
Start David Montgomery in Week 1, But Tarik Cohen Is a Flex Play at Best vs. Packers
While Cohen does have a bit of flex appeal, the smart move is to sit the running back until you see how the Bears will utilize both players this season. Both backs should have fantasy relevance this season, but Montgomery is the Chicago rusher to own when comparing the two rushers.
Given the expected workload, I have no hesitation starting Montgomery in his NFL debut. Bears head coach Matt Nagy gushed about Montgomery after the team drafted him in April and implied that the rookie is the kind of running back that can play all three downs.
“It’s about mismatches,” Nagy explained to NBC Sports. “You’re using running backs so every running back has his own strength as far as what route he can run. Whether it’s a vertical route down the field, he’s a bigger target or he’s super fast. Some running backs you can put them in empty and they are better in shallow crosses or better with reading routes, and it’s not a vertical route or a post route where they beat you with speed. When you have guys that can play all three downs, it’s nice for the play caller and it’s nice for the offense.”
Cohen Still Has Fantasy Value, Especially in PPR Leagues
The days of most teams only having one relevant fantasy running back are gone. While Montgomery is expected to outproduce Cohen, that does not mean he will not have any fantasy impact.
Cohen is still going to get touches and is especially valuable in PPR leagues. If you drafted Cohen, you should hang on to the Bears back, but keep him on your bench if you have comparable options. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @JonDAdams with your questions related to the two Bears running backs or any fantasy football lineup dilemmas.