The running back room is wide open for the Chicago Bears after David Montgomery departed in the offseason. While the Bears have one carryover from last year’s roster, a handful of new faces added through free agency and the NFL Draft make for an interesting roster competition heading into the season opener. Here is how the running back room is beginning to take shape following the preseason, as well as how the final depth chart could impact your fantasy football leagues.
Bears RB depth chart
Early-down back: Khalil Herbert
Third-down back: Khalil Herbert or D’Onta Foreman
Goal-line back: D’Onta Foreman or Khalil Herbert
Change-of-pace back: Roschon Johnson
What has preseason usage told us about Chicago’s backfield?
Herbert and Foreman appear to have the top two running back positions locked down based on their usage in the preseason. Herbert only suited up for the Bears’ preseason opener, but neither he nor Foreman has had more than single-digit carries in a game, which likely means Chicago is keeping their health a priority before the regular season. Johnson had a team-high 12 carries for 44 yards in the preseason opener while finishing second in attempts (7) and rushing yards (32) in the Bears’ last outing.
Johnson also saw four targets in the preseason opener, hauling in three catches for two yards. Though it’s a small sample size nonetheless, it speaks to how Johnson possesses a better pass-catching skill set in comparison to both Herbert and Foreman.
Foreman did leave the team’s final preseason game with an injury.
How might RB touches in 2023 be distributed?
Herbert should get the first shot at leading the backfield given that he’s the only Bears running back holdover from the previous season. He averaged 9.9 carries per game in 2022, which only furthers the belief that he is more than ready to handle a higher volume of carries moving forward. However, Foreman averaged 11.9 carries last season with the Carolina Panthers and could play himself into a committee role.
I’d expect both to at least split 10 carries per game between them until one or the other plays themselves into a solidified RB1 role.
As it pertains to PPR leagues, Johnson’s track record in the preseason could open the door for him to be much more involved as a receiver. He finished with 420 receiving yards and three touchdowns in four seasons at Texas, so while he may not command a large volume of carries on the ground he is by far better skilled in the passing game compared to Herbert or Foreman.