Although underutilized, “The Human Joystick” made waves in his first season as an NFL player in both real and fantasy football. The diminutive back finished as the 30nd ranked RB in PPR formats according to Fantasypros.com, with a 4.3 ypc average and 53 receptions on 71 targets (a 75% catch rate!), good for 10th most targeted RB as per PlayerProfiler.com. He’s a dynamic back who can do everything. He returns punts and kicks, can make plays from the backfield, and can punish defenses from out wide. Hell, he even threw a 21-yard touchdown last season! And while most people are raving about his route running, breakaway metrics, or 4.42/40, I am much more interested in the things going on around Cohen that may benefit his and a number of other Bears players’ fantasy seasons.
2018 will be the start of the Matt Nagy regime for the Bears and I, for one, have high hopes. I expect that Nagy will follow in the footsteps of fellow Andy Reid alumni, Doug Pederson, as far as the success he’s enjoyed since becoming head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Even Andy Reid has recently stated that Matt Nagy could be “the best head-coaching candidate that he’s ever had,” according to Adam Kaplan of NFL.com. Cohen should get more time with the ball in his hands under Nagy’s system and has already been seen lining up at various positions in camp. He’ll be crucial in Nagy’s game-planning to create mismatches all over the field much like he did with Tyreek Hill in Kansas City. The additions of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and Anthony Miller via free agency and the draft will give sophomore QB, Mitch Trubisky, a much better opportunity to grow and succeed under Nagy’s tutelage. Of course, a better passing game, with playmakers at each position, will keep defenses honest allowing the run game an even higher rate of success than last year.
The hiring of highly regarded offensive line coach, Harry Hiestand, is another positive sign for Cohen’s 2018 top-25 trajectory. Hiestand was offensive line coach for the Bears from 2005-2008 and has recently been responsible for Notre Dame’s highly touted o-lines, developing and preparing players the likes of Zack Martin, Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, and Nick Martin, to name a few, for the NFL. Hiestand should improve an already decent o-line right away especially with key starters Kyle Long (G) and Cody Whitehair (C) returning and rookie James Daniels (C), picked up in the 2nd round of the draft. This may end up being one of the best o-lines in the league within the next couple of years, if not sooner. Take into account that Fantasypros.com have the Bears ranked with the easiest schedule for running backs this season and it’s hard not to get excited about Tarik Cohen.
While I know that he’s a known quantity, if not a household name, among fantasy footballers, his 7th round ADP still seems like a steal. Don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on Cohen. Sleep on his potential at your own risk.