Chicago Bears Backfield Breakdown | Who Wins the Starting Job?

by Al Scherer · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

Though the Chicago Bears finished 2022 with the NFL’s worst record. They could run the ball, finishing No. 2 in attempts, No. 1 in rushing yards, and top-10 in rushing scores. Sure, a boatload of that went to Justin Fields. However, over 1,600 rushing yards, nine scores, and 60 targets went to their running backs. Their 2022 lead back, David Montgomery, is gone. That means we’ll find a new starting running back in Chicago on an improving roster. Let’s take a Dynasty approach to see how things will shake out. This is a Chicago Bears Backfield Breakdown!

D’Onta Foreman

After losing full seasons to Achilles tendon and biceps tears, Foreman rose like a phoenix, leading the Panthers in rushing attempts, yards, and scores. After Carolina shipped Christian McCaffrey off to San Francisco, Foreman’s five 100-yard rushing performances, including three RB1 weeks in an eight-week span, might have given dynasty managers hope that the best is yet to come.

For running backs, though, four factors greatly influence dynasty valuation:  dollars, youth, pass catching chops, and goal line success. None of them, unfortunately, describe Foreman.

Despite leading the 2022 Panthers in every rushing metric, Carolina chose not to pay him. The Bears inked him to a low, one-year deal. This happened just a week after they’d given two years and more guaranteed money to Travis Homer. Now some might argue Homer could become their change of pace back, but Homer’s never been a receiving back. Additionally, he’s never seen as many as 20 catches in a season. Homer doesn’t return kicks, either, yet the Bears offered him more money. Across the league, guys like Justice Hill, Raheem Mostert, and Boston Scott all have higher guarantees than Foreman.

Age Apex

Foreman’s now 27 years old and well past the RB age apex. And while his 11.9 carries per game ranked No. 21 in the league, he earned just five receptions on the season. This ranked No. 91 among running backs. He’s never caught as many as 10 passes, which ruins any chance at consistent fantasy scoring. In a majority of his 2022 starts, Foreman posted single-digit fantasy points. That’s how you finish RB46 in Fantasy Points per Game while being top-24 in carries.

Lastly, though Foreman is huge. He’s 6-0 and 233 pounds. The problem is though Foreman is big, he didn’t shine near the goal line. His 13.9-percent Red Zone Conversion Rate ranked No. 28 best among the 42 backs with 100+ carries on the season. He’s a depth piece for the 2023 Bears and will likely be looking for a contract again in 2024. Even if injuries strike and he earns a lead role, Foreman’s a one-dimensional back that we should not be looking to add in dynasty.

Khalil Herbert

A sixth-round draft pick of the prior regime, Herbert is signed through 2024. A five-year college player, he’s already beyond the NFL age apex and heads into his age 25 season with only three NFL starts.  He’s a decent athlete by NFL standards. Herbert boasts decent Speed and Agility metrics. However, Herbert’s overall Athleticism Score ranked third lowest among 42 backs with 100+ carries last year.

Might he catch passes or get Chicago’s red zone work? No. In 2022, his 12 Targets ranked No. 75 among RBs. He wasn’t involved in the passing game in college, either, topping out at 10 catches in his fifth season. Herbert isn’t considered strong in pass protection, either. At the goal line, his six red zone carries ranked No. 41 amongst running backs. Chicago added two bigger running backs that’ll get the red zone touches, and of course, Justin Fields is going to get his.

Herbert will be hard pressed to earn significantly more than the 37.5-percent Snap Share he saw last year. He should not be counted on in Dynasty as more than a middling RB4.

Roschon Johnson

We’d be more concerned about Johnson’s 12.7-percent (13th-percentile) College Dominator had he not been behind All-World Bijan Robinson. That low workload helped Chicago snag him in the fourth round. However, Johnson is in a great position to earn playing time early and has the upside to be a great Dynasty selection on an improving team.

Johnson’s young and has requisite three-down back size. When on the field at Texas, he was effective. Johnson averaged the same six yards a carry as Bijan the past two seasons, albeit admittedly on far fewer touches. He’s considered strong in pass protection and fumbled just once in 392 college carries. Everything points to him staying on the field once he gets his chance. And he’ll get his chance. No, he didn’t catch the ball much in college, but, in Austin, they don’t throw to the running backs. Johnson’s 14 catches in 2022 were not that far behind Robinson’s 19, and no one questions Bijan’s ability to be a three down back.

Johnson is this year’s Bears RB most similar to last year’s leader, David Montgomery. He’s four years younger and a lot cheaper. Lastly, Johnson is GM Ryan Poles’ guy and will get his chance with no Robinson in front of him. Johnson’s 113 FFPC ADP and mid-to-late second round Superflex Rookie pick is a good investment for Dynasty owners to roster Chicago’s likely lead back. He’s as good a bet as any to match Montgomery’s 2022 RB3 scoring as a rookie with upside on an improving Chicago roster.

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