Fantasy Football Impact Of The Jordan Howard Trade To Philadelphia
Late on the night of March 28th, 2019 the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears agreed to the Jordan Howard trade to Philadelphia from Chicago. Howard averaged 3.7 yards per carry in 2018 despite playing for one of the more innovative offenses in football. The Eagles took a massive step back from their Super Bowl winning season, dropping from third in total points scored in 2018 to 18th in points scored. They have already added Desean Jackson and now are trying to fill a hole that Josh Adams, Wendall Small and Corey Clement have been unable to.
From the Chicago perspective, this trade makes a good amount of sense. Jordan Howard was never really a fit for the Matt Nagy offensive system. Nagy’s ideal offense needs a running back that can catch and rush the ball equally effectively. The Bears started out season targeting Howard 11 times in the first three games but after the week three game against Arizona he saw only three more games with more than one target. Tarik Cohen, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel handled much more of the short and intermediate work that would normally go to a running back.
As a result of the Jordan Howard trade, the signing of Cordarelle Patterson and Mike Davis makes more sense. Here at RotoExperts, we have Mike Davis projected for around 39% of the teams total backfield work and Tarik Cohen for slightly more (including targets) with Cordarelle Patterson picking up the rest. The combination of these three players is actually one of the more interesting backfields in football to me. Davis lead the Seahawks in backfield targets last season while playing with a first round pick and seemingly overtaking C.J Prosise’s old role. Patterson has a career yards per carry of 7.6 with seven touchdowns and just handled 42 carries for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots last season. If Matt Nagy plans to use Patterson like a running back, I like this trade even more for them because it makes it less likely they use one of their few draft picks on a running back. The big winner in Chicago for fantasy football however, is clearly Tarik Cohen. Tarik Cohen can reasonably be projected for a RB2 season with RB1 upside if he gets some more goalline work in 2019 (something he did not receive in 2018, being forced to score from further out).
The Jordan Howard trade does shake things up in Philadelphia a little. I expected them to draft a running back, as did most of the football community. However, now that they spent a sixth-round pick in the Jordan Howard trade, that isn’t needed. Wendall Smallwood, Corey Clement, Josh Adams and even Donnell Pumphrey are still on the roster. I would expect that Adams and perhaps even Corey Clement will not be on the Eagles roster come opening day. The retirement of Darren Sproles leaves room for Smallwood to stay in a pass-catching in the Eagles backfield (something that Howard has proven to be ineffective at). The difficulty in ranking and projecting Howard is that so much of his outcome is going to be touchdown based. He will likely catch less than 30 passes and having 200 rushing attempts in and of itself is not that valuable. If the Eagles offense is closer to the 2017 version that finished third in the league in points, Howard might get 220 carries, 30 targets and 11 touchdowns. He could also have Lagarrete Blount’s 2017 with 173 carries, eight targets and only three touchdowns. While it is clear that Howard has a role in Philadelphia, I am hesitant to rush to roster him at the moment because his range of outcomes is so dependent on touchdowns.
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