Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains knows what he has in Tarik Cohen:
Loggains calls versatile rookie RB Tarik Cohen: "The best playmaker we have."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 18, 2017
Mitch Trubisky is the shiny new toy at quarterback and Jordan Howard is the workhorse in the backfield. But it’s Cohen, a rookie running back from North Carolina A&T, who has been the most electrifying player on the Bears’ roster. And as offensive coordinator, it’s up to Loggains to get him the ball as often as possible.
We’ve seen Cohen make plays as a rusher, pass catcher, and even throwing the ball … but it’s always been a matter of finding time for the speedy running back. After a few down weeks, Cohen’s playing time is trending upward again. This is good news for an offense in search of playmakers, as well as fantasy owners who might be otherwise scrambling for options.
Cohen’s role looked to be diminishing in recent weeks, which led to his stats, touches, and targets dwindling. The rookie played a total of 35 snaps in back-to-back losses against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings – or just 27.1 percent of the team’s offensive plays. However, things changed in Week 6 when Cohen was on the field for 26 snaps (32.5 percent) including 40.7 percent of pass plays.
The North Carolina A&T product figures to see an increased role in passing situation. Entering Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, Cohen has played on 43.1 percent of the Bears’ pass snaps. And with Markus Wheaton out with an injury, he will likely be used creatively as a receiver in the slot or out of the backfield.
The Panthers have allowed five running backs to see five targets or more in six weeks and have allowed four catches or more four times. Cohen could be an interesting FLEX play against Carolina if you allow yourself to dream based on New England’s James White hauling in 10 of 12 targets for 47 yards in Week 4. Even if that’s not necessarily attainable, it’s worth noting Carlos Hyde (49ers) and LeSean McCoy (Bills) each caught six passes in the first two weeks of the season. Even Theo Riddick of the Lions had a modest four-catch, 45-yard game in Week 5.
Of course, facing a Panthers defense that has limited opposing running backs to the fifth fewest fantasy points according to Yahoo! Sports makes for quite the task. It’s not an impossible one, especially not if you consider Cohen’s strengths as a pass catcher.