Welcome to the main stage, Jeremy Langford.
The Chicago Bears rookie running back filled in admirably for an injured Matt Forte during his team’s 22-19 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, and he provided plenty of fantasy football owners with critical late boosts in Week 9.
Ka’Deem Carey was not as effective and took a backseat to the former Michigan State Spartans star. Here is a look at the final tallies for each running back as well as some reactions:
For as excellent as Langford was Monday, his overall fantasy value for the rest of the season is tied to Forte’s health. According to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, it is doubtful that Forte will play in Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams because of the sprained MCL he suffered November 1. The back received a platelet-rich plasma injection to facilitate healing earlier in the week.
That means fantasy owners can ride the Langford Express for at least another game.
There is plenty to like about the rookie’s skill set even if Forte does return. He demonstrated hard-nosed running and found the end zone on a crucial second-half drive from a yard out to trim Chicago’s deficit. He was also second on the team in receiving yards, behind superstar Alshon Jeffery, which is an area of the game Forte dominated last year with 102 catches.
Jay Cutler does not hesitate to throw to running backs, based on Forte’s totals and Langford’s outing.
It is not difficult to envision a scenario in which Langford fills in for Forte even after the usual starter returns, especially since the latter will turn 30 years old in December. What’s more, Forte will become a free agent in the offseason, and Chicago isn’t in playoff contention at 3-5.
The front office and coaching staff will likely give Langford more looks later in the season to see what they have for next year and beyond in case Forte hits the open market.
Langford is not a must-start for the rest of the year with Forte looming, but he earned fantasy playing time and flex consideration with his performance Monday.
Langford will be a part of the offense, regardless of whether Forte is available. However, the same cannot be said for Carey.
Carey has been inactive four times this season, and he didn’t see the ball in any of the three games he dressed for before Monday’s contest. Plus, he tallied only 36 carries for 158 yards and zero touchdowns in his rookie season in 2014, so there is no track record in place to fall back on for fantasy owners.
Carey was the change-of-pace back for Langford throughout Monday’s game, but there was a clear talent gap between the two players.
There will always be some inherent value for a running back who will see some carries (which Carey will while Forte is out), but there is no reason to trust Carey moving forward in fantasy circles unless you need injury insurance for Langford.
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