What Does the Mike Davis Signing Mean for Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard in Dynasty/Fantasy/Best Ball…?
I was shocked that Mike Davis was one of the first running backs signed in free agency, and to a solid contract at that…and that it happened with the Bears. Once Cordarrelle Patterson was signed, after Davis, I wondered if I was secretly running the Bears…but that’s a story for another day.
I really like Mike Davis as a player/talent. I thought he was Seattle’s best running back two years ago (and no other analyst gave him the time of day), when he’s was 5th on the depth chart but played so well they had to keep him on the 53-man roster. Eventually, he rose to become their starter in late 2017, due to a ton of injuries to others…and then just as Davis got rolling, he got hurt.
I thought Davis was the best running back on Seattle going into 2018, but he only earned a split role with Chris Carson…which was a nice tip of the cap to Davis, but per usual – Davis got nicked up and was up and down in his split role. He did have some moments where it looked like he might take over.
‘Almost’ and ‘might’ describes Davis’s NFL career pretty well…
I’ve liked Davis all the way back to scouting him from his South Carolina days, but he struggled with his original draft team (the 49ers), disappeared but reemerged/reignited his career with Seattle the past few years.
It’s odd that Chicago would make the Davis play so strongly…with Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard in hand. I figured Davis would be ignored in free agency and limp back to Seattle or just wait a while for the RB injuries to hit teams and then he’d emerge as a pinch hitter. Instead, he is added to the Bears now…currently, you’d say he’s their #3 RB, but we know better than that.
This is the move before Jordan Howard gets traded. I have to believe that. There is not much logic to adding Davis to a decent-sized (for a non-#1 RB) contract if you’re not going to move Howard…the RB who doesn’t fit your offense, who is a major talent, but killed the whole vibe of your offense last year. Also, the guy rumored to be on the move since Matt Nagy took over last year.
Where is Howard going?
Like most situations for RBs these days…there’s not many places to go where they can be seen as an instant starter. Howard brings with him the knock that he’s bad in the passing game, but he was actually much improved in 2018. His problem is they tried to use him as an east-west RB too much when he’s just better being a north-south grinder.
What teams run an offense where the main RB is not heavily used in the passing game…and said team has a need/desire for Howard?
1) Buffalo – If they can acquire Howard, they can drop McCoy for a $2M hit instead of paying him $9M to do little for them again in 2019.
2) Oakland – Didn’t get Ingram or Bell or any name guy, yet. They could rely on the (weak) draft…or land Howard and get a better Marshawn Lynch for themselves.
3) Indy – They can move on from the Marlon Mack lead-RB experience and make an RBBC with them…with Howard as the lead. The Indy GM is an ex-Chiefs guy and would have connections to the Bears management/head coach.
4) Miami – They’re sitting with Kenyan Drake as the starter, which is fine…but Howard would give them a nice duo or lead power runner. The ex-Patriots coaching staff can replicate Michel-White with Howard-Drake.
5) Philly – I assume the Eagles are too clueless to ride Josh Adams, as they’ve shown…despite Adams showing them how amazing he is, so they might have interest in Howard. However, Pederson has played the backfield as RBBC for years, with cheap interchangeable pieces…no reason to reach for Howard to be another body to rotate, but when they had awful Jay Ajayi they kinda tried to use him heavier in the rotation. Howard fits the bill better than Ajayi.
I’m interested in Howard today, non-PPR especially, if anyone is selling him as an RB2 or worse. I think he will be obtained by a team to specifically be ‘the guy’ in his style (between the tackles) offense. He’s an excellent pure power/between-the-tackles RB. Worse case he’s a strong part of a split role, coming off the field for various passing downs.
Once Howard is gone…will it really be a Davis-Cohen backfield?
You don’t bring in Mike Davis for a decent deal/contract to be your #3 RB. I assume the Bears are ‘going for it’ in 2019 – veteran hands are better than sketchy rookies, in theory. They will likely add a rookie RB in the 4th-5th round of the draft, but not as a guy to count on carrying the backfield for a 2019 title run…if it happens, so be it…but it’s a narrow window of sleepers to pick from. They get Alex Barnes from Kansas – then all bets off. Barnes in Chicago would create a total RB depth chart mess here.
The Bears do not need a running back to carry them because they have Tarik Cohen who will take a chunk of the touches. They needed an experienced hand who knows how to rotate with another RB…like Mike Davis. But also, a running back who could be ‘the guy’ if needed…a physical runner with good-to-great hands out of the backfield. If there were no Tarik Cohen, then Mike Davis would be an RB1 in Chicago a la their own personal Kareem Hunt.
What to do with Mike Davis?
I grab and stash if I have the last roster spot to burn with a look. If I already own Cohen, I’m even more interested in Mike Davis – the handcuff or the productive duo in a higher-level offense, assuming nothing changes from here.
I won’t pay a lot to acquire Davis for dynasty today, just in case the Bears do nab Alex Barnes or some other interesting/disposable RB who pops a little out of nowhere. There will be a 3rd RB added to this once Howard is gone/by May 1st via trade (I’m highly assuming). I’d trade a 5th+ round rookie pick (12+ team league) or some piece of junk young player in exchange to take a look.
My lean is the Bears intend to run Davis-Cohen as a primary duo…a little more touch/snap count for Cohen and Davis less touches than Howard, but decent touches…RB2-3 touches.
What to do with Tarik Cohen?
I don’t think Cohen touch counts are going down any in 2019, so he’s a strong RB1.5 in PPR with RB1 upside like he was running mid-season 2018. However, his touch count may go up in that Davis is used to rotating/splitting…and Howard ‘demanded’/required more touches as a lead-RB.
I’m always a fan of Cohen, in PPR for sure, so I’ve been on-board/buying anyway. I’ll keep buying him as an RB2-2.5 if I can get away with it.