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Bears Backfield Fantasy Football Breakdown | Should You Add Roschon Johnson? Hold or Drop Khalil Herbert and D'Onta Foreman?

Discussing the Bears' running backs after week 12 and which ones hold the most value for the rest of this season and in the future.

Morgan Rode Nov 28th 2:29 PM EST.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 27: Chicago Bears running back Roschon Johnson (23) leaps over Minnesota Vikings defensive back Byron Murphy (7) during the second quarter of an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears on November 27, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 27: Chicago Bears running back Roschon Johnson (23) leaps over Minnesota Vikings defensive back Byron Murphy (7) during the second quarter of an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears on November 27, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)

Monday night’s NFC North matchup between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings was a snoozefest for most of the contest. The Bears prevailed 12-10 in a game that included six turnovers.

One thing that I think got lost in the ugly game was the breakdown of the Bears’ backfield. Let’s take a look at how things played out and then discuss some potential roster moves to make.

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Week 12 Showing vs. Season Numbers

With D’Onta Foreman out, many people, including myself, expected Khalil Herbert to serve as the workhorse back, and then have Roschon Johnson backing him up but playing sparingly. It was pretty much the exact opposite.

Johnson played 52 offensive snaps and got 15 touches, while Herbert was on the field for just 15 snaps and got eight touches.

Johnson made the most of his lead back role, rushing 10 times for 35 yards and catching all five of his receptions for an additional 40 yards. Herbert was solid, rushing for 24 yards on six carries and catching both of his targets for 14 yards.

Johnson’s big game really came out of nowhere. He’d reached double digit touches just twice coming into the contest, and hadn’t accomplished the feat since week 3. Over the past three games, Johnson had between 3-9 touches. 

The rookie back has been pretty solid on his touches all season, with six contests at or above 5 yards per touch. It was the first time Johnson had double digit carries in a game. It was his third game with five or more targets, but the 40 receiving yards were his most this season.

Herbert was playing in his seventh game this season after missing several weeks with an injury. In his first game back in week 11, Herbert got 18 touches, but averaged just 2.3 yards per touch.

Now after two games back, those two games are his second- and third-worst showings in terms of scrimmage yards for the entire season.

Running Back Fantasy Outlook

Thankfully for fantasy owners, the backfield situation isn’t one that necessarily needs to be addressed, as the Bears have their bye in week 13. That doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead though.

The Bears win pushed them to 4-8 on the season. While they currently sit 13th in the NFC, they are just a couple games back of a playoff spot.

While it would be a big surprise to see the Bears win enough games the rest of the way to sneak into the playoffs, it is possible. Usually, teams will lean on their veterans until they are pretty much out of the playoff picture, then start giving some younger players a longer look.

Maybe the Bears already felt they were out of the postseason hunt, and that’s why Johnson played as much as he did. Maybe the Bears like what they’ve seen from Johnson in games and in practice, and wanted to see how he’d perform as the lead back.

Whatever the case might be, Johnson certainly looked like he played well enough to earn at least one more week as the lead back. I think things set up very favorably for Johnson, as the team will likely keep utilizing him as the lead back even as the season slips away, as opposed to going back to Herbert.

While it’s possible Johnson has surpassed Herbert, at least for the time being, Johnson will also have to fend off Foreman when he’s healthy. Foreman dominated the snaps and touches over Johnson with Herbert out, which is part of the reason why the Bears’ week 12 RB breakdown was such a shock to fantasy owners.

Johnson is the younger option, and Foreman is a free agent after the season, so it would make sense if the Bears prioritized Johnson as the season went along. If the Bears really like Foreman, maybe they have him be the backup to Johnson instead of Herbert, like in week 12.

Foreman is dealing with an ankle injury, but likely will be ready to go in week 14 after the bye.

How to Proceed

According to our charts, Herbert is owned in 91% of leagues. Foreman was at 61%, while Johnson sat at 36%.

Despite the Bears being on their bye this week, I think if you want Johnson, you’ll need to make the move this week. 

I definitely would take a chance on Johnson given the current state of the Bears’ backfield. Unless Foreman were to miss week 14 too, I’d probably add Johnson and stash him on my bench, just to see how Chicago handles things with all three backs active.

I’m sure Herbert is going to be dropped in a handful of leagues, but I’d hold on to him at least through week 14. It’s hard to guess what the Bears might do, and you don’t want to lose a guy who could potentially be a lead back late in the fantasy season.

As for Foreman, I’d also hold on to him if I owned him. I’d actually be in favor of adding him if he’s available in your league. 

I’d try to avoid trading for any of the three backs, unless you are trying to obtain all of them. They just don't have a lot of value in this Bears' offense. Check out the trade value charts to see what kind of offer is needed to acquire them. 

My analysis is focused on standard redraft leagues. If you are in a deeper league, I think all three of the Bears’ backs need to be owned, even before week 13 kicks off. With deeper rosters, you can afford to stash them on your bench and see how the situation plays out over the next few weeks, so don’t wait to make a move.

If you are in a dynasty league, Johnson and Herbert hold the most value. Foreman has some value, but for a much shorter period of time.

If you own Johnson, you have to feel good about how week 12 panned out and the long-term outlook for Johnson on the Bears. You are now hoping that he excels down the stretch and goes into 2024 as the clear No. 1 option for the Bears.

If Johnson is someone you are high on moving forward, now would probably be the best time to trade for him. His value is still somewhat low, and would skyrocket if he plays well down the stretch. 

If Johnson does perform well with expanded looks, Herbert’s long-term value will take a dip, but I wouldn’t immediately drop him. I think there’s a decent chance Chicago would trade Herbert if Johnson looks like the back of the future. Maybe Herbert gets traded to a team without a future at RB and goes into next season as a team’s No. 1 option.

I would not trade Herbert away because his value is low right now. If someone wants to offer a return like Herbert is still a team’s No. 1 back, then by all means jump on that deal now.

While Foreman’s dynasty stock is pretty solid right now, his long-term outlook isn’t nearly as bright as the other two. His solid play this season should get Foreman a job going into 2024. If you roster Foreman, your hope is that he goes to a team with no clear No. 1 option and eventually wins the job, just like he did this season.

I’d avoid trading for Foreman in a dynasty league. I’d be more in favor of trading Foreman for an asset that could help you out in the future.

#waiver-wire #dynasty #bears #roschon-johnson #khalil-herbert #donta-foreman

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