Bears have valuable asset in Tarik Cohen

By: Alex Patt

The Bears opened their season last Sunday in a close, but frustrating loss to the Atlanta Falcons 23-17 at Soldier Field. Lets face it, nobody thought that game was going to be close. Kudos to the Bears for playing a close game despite dropping several potential game-winning touchdowns in the final minute of the game.

Tarik Cohen had himself a game in his NFL regular season debut. The 5’6′ 179 pound running back was drafted this past year out of North Carolina A&T 119th overall. His plan was to play behind Jordan Howard, which gives them a nice young one-two punch in the backfield. He impressed a lot of people with his speed, ability to cut and the way he can power through defenses at such a small height.

On Sunday he rushed for 66 yards on five carries and recorded eight catches for 47 receiving yards while hauling in a touchdown pass from Mike Glennon. His total offensive yards were 158 including rushing, receiving and 45 punt return yards.

Overall this kid is versatile. He may be small, but he can be used as a throwing target and a special teams player with his speed. Cohen will be extremely valuable for the Bears considering that their top-two receivers are out and the receiver core is incredibly thin, so he can be targeted a decent amount of times if needed. The biggest concern for him is that he took some massive hits on Sunday because that is how players have to take him down since he is hard to get at being so small. However, if healthy and he continues to perform the way he does, lookout.

 

Photo Credits: CBS Chicago
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Fantasy Football Waiver Targets (Week 2)

Fantasy football waiver wire pickups are the difference between winning a championship, and failing to make the playoffs. It is important to be vigilant each week, especially when major injuries or suspensions can rid someone of a top pick. This week is especially important because of how many top fantasy stars failed to produce. It is too early to drop a top pick because of a disappointing performance, but adding a potential stud is a good insurance policy just in case. Below are eight players that everyone should be targeting.

1. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears

Tarik Cohen provided the Bears with a big spark in his NFL debut. He seriously cut into Jordan Howard‘s touches after being used on 43% of plays, compared to Howard’s 56%. He carried the ball five times for 66 yards, an astonishing 13.2 YPC. Cohen also caught eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. In PPR leagues, Cohen is even more valuable after leading the team in targets with 12. He is not owned in many leagues, but will be after this week. (Percent owned: 1.5 NFL, 2.3 ESPN)

2. Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith has long been described as a game manager, not the guy to throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns. However, that is exactly what Smith did in the season opener. He made the reigning Super Bowl championship defense look foolish, and while doing so, locked up his status as a great waiver wire pickup. He is still not in the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks to start regardless of weekly matchups, but as of week two he is the top scoring fantasy quarterback. (Percent owned: 16.6 NFL, 9.7 ESPN)

3. Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Nelson Agholor looked bound to be labeled a bust after a disappointing two seasons to start his career, but he looked like a different receiver week one. He led the team in targets, and finished with 86 yards and a touchdown. If he and second year quarterback Carson Wentz can build chemistry together it could be a very successful season for the young receiver. (Percent owned: 1.8 NFL, 1.6 ESPN)

4. Javorius Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

After Danny Woodhead went out with a hamstring injury, Javorius Allen
led the running backs in snaps. With Woodhead expected to be out at least a month, Allen’s stock skyrockets. The Ravens love to target backs on passing routes, so his value is even higher is PPR leagues. He still is splitting carries with Terrance West, but Allen is a quality waiver wire addition. (Percent owned: 1.6 NFL, 0.4 ESPN)

5. Kerwynn Williams, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Kerwynn Williams‘usage is in for a major uptick after star running back David Johnson
suffered a wrist injury that could sideline him for several months. He came in immediately for the injured Johnson and scored a touchdown. Williams was declared the number one back moving forward by head coach Bruce Arians. Williams has a very high ceiling as the number one back in Arizona. (Percent owned: 0.3 NFL, 0.7 ESPN)

6. Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Jesse James was the top scoring tight end in week one. This is no doubt because he caught two red zone touchdowns and will not be the norm. However, if James can become Big Ben’s favorite red zone target there will be many more touchdowns in James’ future. The team’s recent addition of Vance McDonald was thought to hurt James’ targets, but he beat McDonald 8 to one in that respect. (Percent owned: 3.9 NFL, 2.5 ESPN)

7. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Cooper Kupp is a good option in PPR leagues with 12 or more people in them. He had a solid week one, but his production depends on the Rams’ offense, which was lackluster last season. That being said, he led the team in targets last week and secured a touchdown pass from Jared Goff. (Percent owned: 4.7 NFL, 16.6 ESPN)

8. Mike Tolbert, RB, Buffalo Bills

The backup running back in Buffalo has consistently poached touchdowns from LeSean McCoy over the past three years, and Mike Tolbert has already began down that road. He scored a one yard touchdown in week one and ran the ball 12 times for 42 yards. His bruising downhill running style should do his fantasy value well as he looks to score many short yardage touchdowns this season. (Percent owned: 0.1 NFL, 0.5 ESPN)

 

Photo Credits: FanRag Sports

Langford Battles Competition and Injury

By: Alex Patt

Bears RB Jeremy Langford has a tough camp ahead of him in regards to his future with the team. Right now he is not practicing due to spraining his ankle last Thursday and as of right now, no timetable to return. This is only part of the battle he faces as one of the Bears running backs playing behind Jordan Howard.

Langford will enter his third year in the NFL and his status quo has changed every since. In 2015 as a rookie he backed up long-time Bears RB Matt Forte and rushed for 537 yards and scored seven (six rushing and one receiving) touchdowns on 148 rushing attempts in 16 games. He looked like a solid player who could very well be the next guy to step up after Forte left. There was clearly work to do with catching and blocking but the skill set looked promising.

In 2016 the Bears drafted Jordan Howard who eventually took over the number one running back spot who rushed for 1313 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. Langford was then seen as a solid backup, despite injury problems and inconsistencies in his sophomore year. Now that the Bears drafted “The Human Joystick” Tarik Cohen, he is seen as a guy that could potentially play behind Howard. In addition to that the Bears still have 3rd down back Ka’Deem Carey and added veteran Benny Cunningham to the mix, he has a lot to compete against in camp this season.

Cunningham has an advantage with his special teams abilities and Cohen being drafted this past draft can give him some leverage if GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox were high enough to take him. Langford certainly has pressure on him to make the team now, and having a sprained ankle does not help. Time will tell what happens, but he has to get healthy first to compete for a spot.

 

Photo Credit: NFL Spin Zone