Fantasy Football: Don’t Hibernate on Jordan Howard

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A certain member of our team here at the Fantasy Footballers has been demanding that someone write an article on why Jordan Howard is going to be a stud in 2018.  Not naming any names, but he’s been unBEARable, so finally, I relented and agreed to write this piece.  I have to say, I’m impressed with what I found on Jordan Howard and I think you will be too.

Find out full projections on where Andy, Mike, Jason and even JayGriz have Jordan Howard in the Ultimate Draft Kit.

Career Production

Jordan Howard burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2016 with 1,313 rushing yards and 7 total TDs while boasting a massive 5.2 yards/carry.  He would’ve been a contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year if the Dallas Cowboys duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott hadn’t stolen his thunder.

Jordan Howard Career Stats
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Despite playing for a John Fox-led Chicago Bears squad that struggled mightily on offense in 2017, Jordan Howard still played well.  He managed to finish as the RB14 on the season despite being tied to an offense that was 30th in total yards and 29th in scoring.

Since he entered the league in 2016, Howard is third in the league in rushing yards (2,435) behind only the aforementioned Elliott and LeVeon Bell, even though Howard only has 528 career carries compared to Elliott’s 564 and Bell’s 582 over the same timespan.  Howard is every bit the runner the other two are but has been held back by the perception and aesthetics that come with wearing a Bears uniform (sorry Jay Griz).  Over the last two seasons, Howard’s ypc is identical to Elliott’s 4.6 and he only has 6 fewer receptions than Elliott.  While it’s fair to point out that Elliott played fewer games, that’s why Howard can be a value in drafts and Elliott will likely cost a top 4 pick.

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2018 Projection

The biggest detraction for Jordan Howard is his receiving ability.  Everybody knows that he’s a liability in the passing game.  This is why the Bears brought in Tarik Cohen last offseason.  However, his average of 26 receptions per season isn’t that bad.  In fact, in the last 10 NFL seasons, 35 RBs have finished the season as an RB1 in PPR formats with fewer than 40 receptions.  Some in pretty spectacular fashion.  LeGarrette Blount did it with 7 receptions (2016), Alfred Morris with 11 (2012) and Michael Turner did it in both 2008 and 2011 with a combined 23 grabs.

While receptions are very nice for easy fantasy points, they are not essential especially when a back is as talented a runner as Jordan Howard.  Additionally, he should see many more scoring opportunities as Chicago invested heavily in improving its putrid offense from 2017.  First, new HC, Matt Nagy brings a fresh and innovative offensive system along with new weapons: Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton and Anthony Miller.  Howard will see fewer stacked boxes and get more looks as the team will have more visits inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.  It’s also exciting to hear the reports out of camp that Nagy believes Howard is a ‘good fit’ for the system and has affirmed that he will be their featured RB. This should put to rest any trade rumors or ill-advised projections that 3rd down back Tarik Cohen will cut into his workload.

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Perhaps the best part about Jordan Howard is that he’s perceived as a middling RB2 with an ADP as the 16th RB off the board. With 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit TDs well within Howard’s reach, you would be putting your roster in a strong position if you snagged Howard as your RB2 in the 3rd round or even paired him with a set of stud WRs.

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