The Dynasty-Fantasy-Best Ball-NFL Impact and Ripple Effects of the Jordan Howard Trade…
We had the mild surprise of Jordan Howard being traded to the Eagles on Thursday night. I, and many others, have been calling for a Jordan Howard trade any day now since the Mike Davis signing by the Bears in free agency. I was shocked at how little the Bears got/took for Howard and how little the football-dom reaction was.
Let’s get into all of it…
1) First, the NFL is absolutely a business that makes zero sense…
So, everyone in the NFL (and its fans) are bonkers about running backs. Most NFL coaches crave a power running game. Jordan Howard power rushes for 1,100+ yards his first two seasons in one of the most dreadful offenses in the NFL (the John Fox era)…and he looks fantastic doing it…and only Ezekiel Elliott rushed for more yards in that span (2016-2017), and then Howard was put in an ill-fitting offense in 2018 under new management and still did OK – and now the Bears just basically cut him, because there were no teams with any strong desire to add Howard.
Jordan Howard is an instant NFL starter, a high-end producer with upside if he ever gets to an offense that suits his style…and, yet, the NFL couldn’t generate an offer more than a conditional 6th-round pick in exchange? I guess they’re too busy getting ready to spend a 4th-rounder on an unknown rookie running back to save their day?
There is no running back in this NFL Draft as good as Howard for 2019, and he just went right on to a contending team looking for a #1 running back – and they got him for almost nothing.
The Jets pay $50M for a running back and are celebrated. Todd Gurley and David Johnson have shown not to be worth the big RB contract, yet…and has there been a running back worth the big contract recently? The Patriots and Eagles just pick up cheap rotational RB talents and use them in a committee and win games and Super Bowls.
Why the Bears didn’t trade Howard last preseason when his value was hotter, knowing he didn’t fit what they wanted to do…is beyond me. The more I watch the Bears operate, the more afraid I am that 2018 was a blip and they are headed for mediocrity/disappointment ahead. And it makes me afraid they’ll never fully unlock Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears were our meal ticket in 2018, as handicappers. They will not be in 2019. I’m not convinced the Bears are the team of the future under construction (unless Trubisky gets fully unleashed).
2) Jordan Howard on Philly – Fantasy Outlook
My first reaction is – good fit for the Eagles, but that’s from an NFL standpoint. Bad/mediocre opportunity for Howard for fantasy numbers. Whatever you thought of 2018 Jordan Howard, that’s what I’m thinking for 2019.
In 2018, Howard was miscast in that offense and was in a split, of sorts, with Tarik Cohen. Howard was a ghost early 2018 season, then picked up numbers late as the Bears started winning and running out clock with Howard more.
The Eagles/Doug Pederson run the purist, most maddening RBBC (for FF) in the NFL. Pederson has had Ryan Matthews, Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, etc., type bigger-ish names mixed in with all the Sproles-Clements-Smallwood’s, etc., and the bigger name guys would have moments, but they’d be up and down week-to-week…awesome one week (because they scored a TD) and down the next on 4 carries in the next week’s game -- making you scream. I’m guessing Howard gets better treatment, but still in a rotation…like last year, as the 1st and 2nd-down guy and not much on passing downs. 10-16 carries per game, 4 or so yards per carry, limited 100+ yard game opportunities…TDs in waves, 6-10 TDs on the season.
He’s a frustrating RB2 for 2019 with limited upside…AND he’ll be a free agent in 2020 and will likely want to escape the RBBC. 2020+ might be his better fantasy value opportunity.
3) How does this affect Josh Adams?
As bad as you think it does. Probably, worse.
I don’t want to get into a whole thing on how stupid Philly is for overlooking Adams. It is somewhat not relevant here because if you can get Jordan Howard for nothing…you do it and worry about your other RBBC’s later.
You think, maybe, a team might trade for Adams…and I hope you’re right -- but you’re likely as delusional as I am. Teams wouldn’t trade much for JORDAN HOWARD. They are definitely not trading for Josh Adams…most of the league doesn’t know who he is and the ones that do don’t have a positive scouting on him from 2018 pre-draft because no one told them they should. If you think they’re watching tape all day in their 25-hour workdays, sleeping on couches in their offense…they might be, but they have no idea what they are looking at. I think they look at the star players on tape for 25 hours a day and daydream clichés to tell the team on how they have to stop Julio or stop Gurley or stop Mahomes…how they need to ‘focus’ and ‘want it more’. They are definitely not looking at Josh Adams/Eagles tape and seeing anything. Perhaps, Belichick is or Will McClay/DAL is but neither guy needs to make a move for a running back, and they know they can wait and the Eagles will probably cut him…and they can get Adams for free if they just wait.
We want Adams to be cut…we need him out of Philly. It’s our only Adams hope at this point. Like most sleeper RBs (like our pre-call on Jordan Howard his draft year, or our pre-draft call on David Johnson, or like our pre-call on Josh Adams last year), we’ll have to wait for the injury above them to give them a chance for touches only because the team has no other options -- and THEN their team might discover them (see also: the Arian Foster story).
Adams is now a deep sleeper, long-shot hold for 2020+. His window for NFL success, right now, is very-very narrow.
4) What does this mean for the Bears’ Backfield?
As we’ve been saying…it’s all-good for Mike Davis. The Bears didn’t sign him to do nothing…his signing was the catalyst for the Howard trade. Davis is moving into RB2 range right now.
Before you get too excited about Davis, just note the Bears will draft a rookie RB in the middle of the draft. If they land on one of 2-3 good options…then Davis is living on borrowed time but should be fine to start 2019 season in the Howard+ role. But if the Bears draft a dud RB…Mike Davis could have a shocking RB2 season for sure.
Tarik Cohen is the big winner because he will be in a backfield with oft-injured Mike Davis and a rookie. Cohen’s touches should tick up naturally, a smidge, with Howard gone and Davis in…but Cohen might have a forced run as a guy getting 10+ carries and 7+ targets because Davis twisted an ankle and the rookie RB isn’t ready. Cohen is potentially a Mike Davis injury away from becoming Alvin Kamara…or he becomes it regardless in 2019 – I mean, Kamara in the sense of getting his workload of 10+ carries and 7-10 targets and is a weapon of mass destruction for the Bears/fantasy.
Chicago could draft one of the good RB prospects mid-draft and Davis stays healthy (and is a talent), leaving Cohen be stuck in a trio and getting the same good-but-erratic touches as he did in 2018.
There’s a lot more Cohen upside hopes for 2019 than there is downside.