Player: Tarik Cohen
Position: Running Back
2017 Touches: 140
2017 PPR Points: 150.1
2017 FP/Touch: 1.07
Cohen proved to be a jack-of-all-trades throughout his rookie season. The Chicago Bears listed his position as a running back and wide receiver, and he was also the primary punt and kick returner. Cohen also displayed tremendous efficiency, as he was an above-average player at each of the four positions he was able to play.
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Cohen was drafted as a running back out of North Carolina A&T State University, but he was used sparsely in the running game. Overall, Cohen saw 87 rush attempts through six games last season. He needed only 20.6% of the team’s rush attempts to produce 20.7% of Chicago’s rushing yards and 15.4% of rushing touchdowns. Cohen was not given nearly as many red zone targets as starter Jordan Howard, but they posted similar touchdown rates inside the 20-yard-line.
Cohen’s biggest strength may be his receiving ability. He ranked second on the team in targets and receptions behind only Kendall Wright. He also ranked third on the team in yards per receptions, although he only recorded one receiving touchdown. Cohen posted one of the best catch rates on the team, as well, at 74.6%. Most importantly, he led the team with 10 targets in the red zone. He was a clear part of their red zone passing attack, even though he was only able to record one receiving touchdown inside the 20.
Cohen’s ability to contribute fantasy points in multiple categories helped his efficiency as a rookie. He was one of seven running backs in the top 20 in fantasy points per touch to have 50 or more receptions, although he ranked second-last in that group in the percentage of touches coming from receptions. Cohen also ranked seventh in the NFL in fantasy points per touch of players with 100 or more touches. He ended the season as the RB29, while ranking only 42nd in the league in touches, as well.
Cohen has one of the brightest fantasy futures of any running back in the NFL. He’s still only 22 years old (23 in July), and was able to record 1,578 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns during his rookie season. The Chicago Bears also have a team, and offense, that is trending in the right direction.
The Bears recently hired Matt Nagy as their head coach. He will take over the offense and play calling duties, as well. Last season, he was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, who ranked fifth in the NFL in total yards and sixth in scoring. Chicago needed an overhaul on offense, as they ranked near last in the NFL in both categories last season. Nagy has already announced that he will be implementing a new offense, specifically announcing that he will utilize Cohen in a multitude of ways.
Chicago has a plus quarterback situation after drafting Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick in 2017. He predictably struggled as a rookie, completing only 59.4% of his passing with a 2.1 touchdown percentage. Trubisky will likely improve those averages, as he completed 67.5% of his attempts in college, while posting a 7.2 touchdown percentage at North Carolina. Cohen was able to find success in Chicago’s passing attack, even with Trubisky’s struggles, and his potential is sky high if Trubisky continues to progress into a reasonable NFL starter.
The biggest question mark surrounding Cohen’s value is Jordan Howard. Howard is the lead running back for the team, but Matt Nagy did not seem attached to that idea. He was somewhat noncommittal to Howard, stating that the team could use a running back by committee approach. Cohen only saw a small percentage of rush attempts last season, meaning any increase in his attempts would add to his value. Furthermore, Howard only has two years left on his contract, and Cohen could take over as a featured back if Chicago feels he can handle a full workload.
Another major question mark surrounding Cohen is his role in the receiving game. He ranked second on the team in targets last season, behind only Wright, who is no longer on the team. While there are plenty of targets up for grabs this season, the Bears bolstered their receiving group with Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel. Nagy has already announced that Cohen will have a major role in the offense, but he could potentially see fewer targets, specifically in the red zone next season.
Cohen is undervalued for a multitude of reasons, including his frame and label as a change-of-pace running back. His June ADP is 82.33, or mid- to late-sixth round. He’s also being selected as the RB32, even though he is coming off a season as the RB29 and is still only 22 years old. He is one of the safest options in startup dynasty drafts, but he also comes with as much upside as anyone being drafted around his slot.
Cohen is seemingly is either loved or hated by his owners, as he can often be had for a steal, but sometimes costs quite a bit. Below are some of the trades that took place in 12-team PPR dynasty leagues from May through June involving Cohen.
- Tarik Cohen/3.07 for Jarvis Landry
- Tarik Cohen for Damien Williams/1.11
- Tarik Cohen for Ameer Abdullah/2.04
- Tarik Cohen for Ty Montgomery/1.12
- Tarik Cohen for Kalen Ballage/Taywan Taylor
- Tarik Cohen/2019 fourth for Peyton Barber/Chris Godwin
- Tarik Cohen for Duke Johnson
- Tarik Cohen for Will Fuller
- Tarik Cohen for Larry Fitzgerald
The trades involving Cohen are seemingly night and day depending on the owner. Duke Johnson and Will Fuller are high price tags, while a player like Larry Fitzgerald that could retire next season are significantly easier trades.
At this point, the only way to know how highly the opposing owner values Cohen is to ask. Asking will take a small amount of time, and you surely will not be disappointed if you happen to acquire The Human Joystick.