Early Look at the Bears New Backfield Share and Fantasy Outlook
The Chicago Bears ran for 3,014 rushing yards in 2022, but the offense’s backfield and dynamics will look different next season. David Montgomery is gone. Montgomery signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency. D’Onta Foreman is in signing a one-year, $3 million contract with the Bears this offseason.
With the addition of DJ Moore, the return of Darnell Mooney, and an entire offseason and camp for Chase Claypool to get acquainted, Justin Fields has targets to throw to. The offensive line will also be addressed to some degree in the draft next month. So, gone are the days of Justin Fields running for over 1,000 yards purely out of necessity or self-preservation.
Enter the returning Khalil Herbert and newcomer D’Onta Foreman. Khalil Herbert was awesome last season. When healthy, he averaged 5.7 yards per carry, one of the best marks in football. His 2022 success and Montgomery’s departure will net him an increased workload in 2023 and likely the most touches. However, he’ll be sharing a considerable amount of carries with Foreman next season.
We’ll (more likely, Luis) will hammer out exactly what the Bears’ backfield will look like in the coming months. So today, we’re going to take a look at how to approach the Bears backfield from a fantasy football standpoint.
Early Backfield Share Outlook
We’ve got some time — and a draft — between now and the start of training camp in Lake Forest, but I would say that we could safely pencil Herbert in for most of David Montgomery’s 14.7 touches per game from 2022.
For all of the pass-blocking grief around Herbert, he wasn’t terrible most weeks last season, per PFF, aside from three terrible weeks (Week 4 @ NYG, Week 9 vs. MIA, and Week 17 @ DET, Herbert graded above 70 in the pass blocking department, and four times graded higher than 76. Again, that’s another reason why Herbert will get the lion share of Monty’s vacated touches.
As for Foreman, he was excellent in Carolina after taking over for Christian McCaffrey last season. He posted five games of 100-plus rushing yards over the Panthers final 11 games. In the receiving department, he caught just five passes for 26 yards.
So, Herbert will get an increased number of rushing touches and likely all of Montgomery’s passing touches in 2023. That will leave Foreman with a role similar to Herbert’s last season, somewhere in the 10 touches per game ballpark.
For the fantasy football players in the house, this means that Herbert could be a RB2 option in fantasy this year.
As Jennifer Eakins writes over at 4for4:
Khalil Herbert is one of the most efficient RBs in the NFL and will likely get the first crack at carries in a run-heavy Chicago offense, with Foreman cutting into that load.
Herbert will need to take over David Montgomery’s receiving duties to approach RB2 numbers but is a solid RB3 heading into 2023 with an ADP of 8.07. We have him as RB35 in 4for4’s Never-too-Early Rankings.
Foreman is RB44 in 4for4’s rankings, and according to Eakins, “should be considered an RB4 with spike weeks that could lead to RB3 upside” in 2023.
You can read more on the Bears new-look backfield and how to approach it from a fantasy football standpoint in Jen’s story at 4for4: