After Jordan Howard was drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Bears in the 2016 NFL Draft, dynasty owners didn’t expect to see the type of production they received. After all, very few rookie running backs pile up 1,313 rushing yards and six touchdowns during their inaugural seasons, certainly not running backs who were taken in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. In the end, that’s exactly what Howard did, though, as he made Jeremy Langford expendable to the point he was virtually never even seen again.
Things haven’t gone so well for Howard since that season, however. In 2017, he rushed for 1,122 yards but also saw his yards per carry dip from an explosive 5.2 to a still respectable 4.1. Unfortunately, things hit rock bottom for Howard last year as he posted just 935 yards on 3.7 yards per carry as he struggled to acclimate to new Head Coach Matt Nagy’s offense. With the Bears believing Howard simply didn’t fit their plans any longer, they dealt him to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2020 sixth-round draft choice. The deal has some long reaching dynasty impact, so let’s take a look at those players whose values have been affected as a result of the trade.
Jordan Howard, RB PHI
Howard looks to be the early down thumper in Philadelphia, but he also joins a very crowded and unsettled backfield. A very adept blocker and a player who can actually thrive against eight man fronts, Howard certainly looks like an upgrade for Philadelphia on early downs next season. Unfortunately, he offers very little in the passing game and is a bit of a liability in PPR leagues. After all, he has just 72 catches and 568 receiving yards during his three years in the league. At this point, Howard looks like a player who will have some fairly solid RB2 production, but it’s also going to be interesting to see if the Eagles add some competition via the draft. Regardless, Howard gets a new lease on life and while there were more desirable landing spots, it’s fair to see this as a positive for his dynasty value at the moment. His ADP should rise slightly, but there’s risk in attaining him before the draft.
Wendell Smallwood, RB PHI
Last year looked to provide Smallwood a nice opportunity after Jay Ajayi tore his ACL in week five. Unfortunately, Smallwood failed to seize a golden opportunity as he was in and out of the lineup in favor of Josh Adams. Smallwood finished the season with 364 rushing yards on 4.2 yards per carry, but proved to be far from a difference maker in fantasy or reality. If he couldn’t make it work last season, it’s hard to envision him really finding a way to carve out a role that makes him viable in dynasty leagues next year. While still certainly roster worthy, Smallwood will attempt to outshine Howard (and possibly a rookie) in mini-camp and earn himself a role on offense. The addition of Howard certainly doesn’t help him, but it’s not quite as destructive as it is to others on the roster.
Corey Clement, RB PHI
A very popular sleeper at this time last year, Clement mostly disappointed last season before an injury finished his year for good. On the year, Clement posted just 259 yards rushing, 22 catches, 192 receiving yards and two touchdowns – a far cry from what many owners really hoped for last season. With such a disappointing line last year, Clement may actually be on the roster bubble. At the very least, his dynasty value has clearly taken a hit with the addition of Howard.
Josh Adams, RB PHI
If there’s a player who is the clear loser as a result of this trade, it has to be Adams. After bursting on to the scene as an undrafted rookie, Adams faded badly towards the end of the season, culminating in him rushing for just two yards on one carry in the Eagles’ Wild Card game and not playing a single snap in their Divisional loss to the Saints. While his 511 rushing yards is nothing to sneeze at, Adams proved to be rather ordinary as a runner when all was said and done. In fact, after receiving a workmanlike 42 carries in weeks 12 and 13, Adams had just 45 carries the rest of the way as he clearly fell out of favor in Philadelphia. The addition of Howard tells dynasty owners exactly what they need to know – the Eagles have seemingly lost faith in this young runner. At this point, Adams is a pretty weak hold as a player who probably needs to get cut and latch on somewhere else at this point to ever contribute in dynasty leagues.
Best of luck to you, fellas.
Darren Sproles, RB FA
The Sproles situation is one to watch for sure. He reportedly wants to return to the Eagles, but it’s fair to wonder just how much Philadelphia may want him back. If he does return, he looks like the third down back again this season. If he doesn’t, that job looks to be up for grabs. It’s a unique situation as Sproles really doesn’t have much dynasty value, but could directly impact someone else’s if he chooses to come back based on his unique third down and receiving skill set.
Jay Ajayi, RB FA
There was some talk that Ajayi could return to the Eagles, but this likely takes him out of the mix. He’ll certainly resurface at some point, but the interest in him has been mild at best thus far. Outside of a visit with the Colts where they let him leave without a contract, Ajayi hasn’t exactly had his phone ringing off the hook. He’ll certainly sign somewhere. However, his days as a starter may be over. Stay tuned.
Tarik Cohen, RB CHI
The loss of Howard really shouldn’t affect the value of Cohen too much. He’s still going to be the primary receiver out of the Chicago backfield and his 71 catches last year could actually improve without Howard on board. An explosive player who tends to be pretty streaky, Cohen will enter 2019 as a player who could improve on last year’s numbers and should continue to be highly valued in dynasty leagues. Since the Bears don’t currently have a bona fide and proven early down running back, it stands to reason Cohen could also improve upon his 99 carries last year as well. Again, the NFL Draft is going to show us a lot about what the Bears think of their backfield.
Mike Davis, RB CHI
At this point, Davis looks like a big winner in Chicago. Signed to a two-year, $6 million contract, he could be a bit of a sleeper in dynasty leagues if the Bears fail to add another running back via free agency or the draft. A bit of an enigma, Davis is a player who has shown some real ability in the past, but has never had a legitimate long-term opportunity. A likely drop candidate this off-season, Davis is clearly now in the hold category until we see just what happens in the Windy City after the draft concludes. If he is indeed the early down back, he’ll have real value next season, especially in non-PPR leagues. This may actually represent the big chance he’s been waiting for.
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