In the Dynasty Depth-chart Duels(3D), we will be looking into skill positions that may be not be cut and dry this offseason due to new additions via the NFL draft or free agency. Our main goal is to pull various pieces of information to give you a quick look at some of the factors that should be driving your dynasty decisions.
Today we will be looking into the Bear’s backfield, where they have 3 young RBs. Let’s take a look at the measurables.
|Jordan Howard||6’0”||230||32 ¼”||9”|
|Jeremy Langford||6’0”||208||31 ½”||8 ¾”|
|Kadeem Carey||5’9”||207||31 ¾”||9 ½“|
Biggest factor here is weight, where Jordan Howard comes in 230 lbs., while Carey and Langford are around 207 with Langford having a 3” height advantage on Carey. Intuition tells us that this might lead Howard to the all-important “Goal line/Short yardage” role. Also of note, are the relatively small hands for Langford and Howard. We will touch on pass catching later in the article.
Combine/Pro day* Results:
|Player||40||Bench||Vert||Broad||3 Cone||20yd shuttle|
|Jeremy Langford||4.42||34.5||9’ 10”||7.22||4.32|
|Kadeem Carey||4.70||19||32.5||9’ 7”||7.08||4.38|
I would say that in general there are no “ultra” athletic numbers here. Langford does have a notable advantage in the 40 time, but across the board there is no major separation. If anything sticks out it is Howard’s explosion/agility numbers that are inline if not better than the backs that he has a 22-23 pound weight advantage over.
|Player||Draft Position||Projected round||Age|
|Jordan Howard||5.11-150||2-3||Turns 22 in Nov|
|Jeremy Langford||4.7-106||4||Turns 25 in Dec|
|Kadeem Carey||4.17-117||3-4||Turns 24 in Oct|
Couple interesting points here is that Langford is the eldest, however with the relatively young age of these backs, I don’t consider that a major check mark for Howard or Carey. If anything I would speculate that Howard’s range of outcomes may not be fully defined as far as a perceived ceiling in that he turns just 22 in November.
For draft position the numbers seem to be a bit contradictory. Langford and Carey both went in the 4th and fell right where experts were projecting them pre-draft. Howard fell to the fifth but was projected to go in the second or third round perhaps he slid due to injury concerns but with running back being a “replaceable” position it is not surprising to see great value vs projected grade.
The Big 10 and PAC 12 are generally considered top 5 conferences so for this comparison we will neglect conference. Kadeem Carey ruled this category with huge workloads and production to match. Another stat to note is the greater than 6.0 yds per carry threshold that Carey hit in 2012 and Howard in 2014. None of the backs truly excelled in the passing game which for Langford and Carey have translated to the NFL level.
Langford flashed as a fantasy producer but if we look at the touches, they seem to tell a not so rosy story. Langford averaged 3.6 yards per carry, and while he did have a healthy yards per catch, you can see that his low receptions per target ratio underlines struggles in the pass catching game.
Carey did not fare much better in 2015. He saw his yards per carry dip to 3.7 and was not targeted much in the passing game.
What this tells me is that there should be opportunities to seize in 2016. While I do not see any of the backs in this article running away with the pass catching role, I think that the first and second down back along with goaline/short yardage duties may be up for grabs. I would also recommend checking out Mike Clay’s article on Jeremy Langford for a deeper look into his 2015 performance and why I think that the competition will be wide open.
Overall the Chicago Bears backfield is quite murky and without a glaring advantage to any back might be one to avoid in redraft. If I am faced with the decision I am targeting Jordan Howard.
Flashed some good fantasy games, has topline speed, but was very inefficient in 2015. He is the perceived incumbent starter. I do not feel comfortable designating him a 3 down back or trust in his ability to hold off the rookie Howard.
Carey regressed from his rookie year and the days of massive production seem far in the rear view. He was brought in under a different regime, so the fact that he carved a role may speak to the coaching staff’s appreciation of his skills. I don’t see Carey being totally phased out, so he may end up as that “why” player that seems to sap fantasy value from others without being startable, even with injury. I would not be rostering Carey in leagues with roster sizes less than 30.
The new toy that brings a heavy load, is surprisingly nimble for a big back and gets the extra yards pushing the pile and falling forward. It remains to be seen whether he can continue to show those attributes at the NFL level, but he does seem to bring a different skill set to the Bears backfield. I would contend that he is a back more in the mold of a “John Fox” back. But on the flip side of that sword is Fox’s reluctance to play rookies. He has also been lauded by the likes of Lance Zierlein and Greg Cosell and has been touted as the best “runner” in this draft class by more than one analyst.
I would be targeting Howard over Langford and Carey. While the measurables and production don’t resoundingly tell this story, I think we have seen what Langford and Carey can do at the NFL level and it is worth taking a chance on somebody who projects to be a superior inside runner.
Rookie Drafts: I am seeing Howard go early to mid 2nd round. If you can get him there, I think it is great value. I have him ranked ahead of Prosise, Perkins and even Kenneth Dixon (see my 3D article on Dixon vs Allen here). I don’t think you need to pay that price so move back if you can and grab the guy who projects to be the most talented back in a wide open situation.
Startups: Jordan Howard is already going earlier than Langford but behind the likes of Booker, Prosise, Dixon and Perkins. Be careful though, I think there are veteran options that may serve you better and have shown production in the NFL so be on the lookout for those veterans that can slip (i.e. Dion Lewis)
Trading: I would be looking to move Langford. He may still have value based on his 2015 flashes, I would start with 2017 2nds or try moving up multiple rounds (5th and 4th for a 2nd and 3rd, etc). Target the Howard owner who may be willing to give a little extra to secure the backfield.