I made an amazing discovery while using the RotoViz Game Splits App. It appears that when Tarik Cohen’s usage increases so does his productivity. Wow, mind blown! In games where Cohen had 5 or more receptions, he scored 13.3 fantasy points per game. In games with less than 5 receptions, he only scored 5.56 per game. Wait, there’s more.
In games where Cohen had at least 4 rushing attempts, he averaged 11.66 fantasy points per game vs. 5.42 in games where he didn’t reach that rushing attempt mark.
These splits highlight a couple different things.
- Cohen is a better and higher scoring fantasy asset when he’s involved even moderately in the game plan.
- When Cohen isn’t used in the game, he’s gone almost completely unused. In games with less than 4 rushing attempts, Cohen only averaged 1.2 attempts. In games with less than 5 receptions, Cohen averaged 1.29 receptions per game.
Though Cohen has exceeded 10 fantasy points in just 5 of 14 games, he enters Week 16 as the RB30 on the season with 9.6 fantasy points per game. Now that we’ve established that Cohen is good at the football when allowed to touch said football let’s dig a little deeper into Cohen’s value.
Tarik Cohen is the next Darren Sproles except better!
Week 1 saw Cohen rush 5 times for 66 yards with 8 receptions, on 12 targets, for 47 yards and a touchdown. In Week 2 the good times continued. Cohen’s rushing efficiency dropped, as should have been expected, and he put up 13 yards on 7 rushing attempts. His receiving work continued to impress with another 8 receptions for 55 yards. Week 3 Cohen bounced back in the rushing game with 78 yards on 12 attempts in addition to 4 receptions. After that 3 game run Tarik Cohen fever was burning up the fantasy community, and I was one of many advocating to sell high. And sell high is what a lot of folks did.
Using DLF’s trade finder app shows that the Cohen hype was white hot. Cohen was traded for Adam Thielen AND a 2018 2nd round rookie pick. In another trade, Cohen and a 3rd netted an owner a 2018 Rookie 1st and Dontrelle Inman. I traded Cohen in every league I owned him in. Cohen netted me Bryan Edwards(devy league) in one league, Jamison Crowder in another, as well as random 2018 rookie 1st rounders in other leagues.
Recommending selling off Cohen had nothing to do with his talent and everything to do with cashing out high on a player that was drafted late or went undrafted in most rookie drafts. Though it was pure folly to expect Cohen to keep up his torrid early season pace I don’t think anyone foresaw how badly Bears Head Coach John Fox would underutilize him the remainder of the season.
John Fox gonna John Fox
John Fox saw how well Cohen produced weeks 1 through 3, scoring 25.3, 13.8 and 14.2 fantasy points, and decided to keep utilizing the “Human Joystick” leading to additional NFL and fantasy success the rest of the year. Oh, wait. That’s not what happened. That’s not what happened at all. For reasons that no one but John Fox, and possibly Jeff Fisher, could explain the Bears had a difficult time figuring out how to use Cohen on a consistent basis. Cohen hasn’t had more than 6 targets in any other game since week 2. In fact, in 10 out of 14 games this season Cohen has been targeted on 4 or fewer attempts. In 14 games this season Cohen has touched the ball(rushing and receiving) 7 or fewer times on 7 occasions.
If math is troublesome for you, that works out to half the games played. Cohen averages 5.5 yards per touch good enough for 12th at the running back position. His Breakaway Run Rate (% of carries of 15 yards or more ) of 6.2% ranks 8th. Cohen also sports a 23% Juke Rate which comes in at 26th for running backs. Cohen is an explosive player that should touch the ball more than 7 times a game. John Fox’s usage of Cohen is simply mystifying.
Using Pro-football-reference to create the above game usage chart shows a deeper problem than just lack of usage. I suppose you could argue that Cohen being second in targets (61) and receptions (45) along with his 82 rushing attempts is sufficient, I’d disagree with you. On a roster where Daniel Brown, Deonte Thompson, Benny Cunningham and Josh Bellamy have significant target shares the Bears would have been better served funneling those targets to Cohen. It’s clear looking at the game logs that the Bears coaching staff never developed a plan to utilize Cohen on a weekly basis. How else do you explain Cohen getting 14 rushing attempts one week and 0 the following? In one 5 week stretch, Cohen averaged 2.4 targets a game. Facing the Ravens Cohen only had 2 more targets than he did passing attempts!
Bye Fox, Buy Low
Sell high and buy low. It’s the trademark of a Dynasty player. Now is the time to buy low on Cohen. Using the DLF trade finder app again I looked at trades involving Cohen from November 2017. It’s a far cry the halcyon days of trading Cohen for Crowder, Thielen or a 1st round rookie pick. Now Cohen is being traded for 2nd round or 3rd round rookie picks or even total washouts like Doug Martin. I’ll gladly pay that cost for Cohen in every league I’m in.
If Chicago fires John Fox as expected at the conclusion of this year Cohen’s value could sky-rocket. If a creative or even moderately sentient Head Coach comes in and looks at Cohen’s tape he’ll realize the weapon he has on his hands. Assuming Cohen can get get 8-12 touches per game he could reach RB2 status next season. I strongly suggest you make a concerted effort to add Cohen to as many of your rosters as possible this offseason.
Thank you for reading. You can find me on Twitter @DFF_Shane. And if you haven’t heard you can now also hear me on a podcast! That’s right, the DynastyTradesHQ Podcast. You can find us on Itunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and PodBean. Please make sure you rate and review!
You can also find us on Twitter @DynastyTradesHQ.