Reasons for doubt surround Bears' Jeremy Langford
(Editor’s note: Every day, we’re offering our Crazy Fantasy Stat of the Day, something that catches our eye and helps us learn something for fantasy for 2016.)
We haven’t been very kind to Chicago Bears running back Jeremy Langford around these parts. He graded out as PFF’s No. 59 running back out of 68 qualified players. As a blocker, he was 59th. As a pass-catcher, he was 57th. Strictly as a runner, he was 38th, which is only good when compared to everything else.
For fantasy, his numbers looked passable. He got 10 or more carries in nine games last year. In those nine, Langford averaged 10.3 fantasy points a game. Of course, more than half of his production came in two games. In Weeks 9 and 10, he gained 324 yards from scrimmage and scored three times. Take those out of that 10.3-point average, and Langford averaged only 6.3 fantasy points a game with 10-plus carries.
We’ve gone through all the reasons to be down on Langford in this space before. Pick your stat. But my favorite one is today’s Fantasy Stat of the Day: In the passing game, Jeremy Langford had the most drops of any running back in 2015, with eight. No. 2 on that list, Devonta Freeman, had 52 more targets than Langford. Put another way, Langford had 43.5 percent of the targets of Freeman, but 114.3 percent of the drops. No back other than Langford and Freeman had more than six drops.
The Bears are likely to enter 2016 with Langford as their No. 1 running back. That is largely because he’s the best of a bad lot; the other veterans on the roster are the underwhelming trio of Ka’Deem Carey, Jacquizz Rodgers and Senorise Perry. Because of that, Langford is currently the No. 29 running back in PFF fantasy rankings. Assuming Langford keeps the job, he’s running behind a strong offensive line, so he could be a fantasy success even if he doesn’t dramatically improve his base performance.
But assuming Langford’s 2015 struggles are real, he might not keep the job, even with the underwhelming veterans around him. The team selected running back Jordan Howard out of Indiana in the draft, and he’s a strong candidate to overtake Langford for the starting role. As of right now, Howard is our No. 46 running back. But for fantasy owners looking for late-rounders and bench lottery tickets, Howard might be a better pick than Langford.