However, after a mixed Week 1, should you start Herbert this week in fantasy football? Or should he remain on your bench?
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Should I Start or Sit Khalil Herbert in Fantasy This Week?
As already mentioned, Herbert had a mixed Week 1. He started as the clear back in the opening three quarters of the Bears’ loss to the Green Bay Packers, with nine carries and three receptions. However, he only managed three yards per carry and was only on the field for 36% of the offensive snaps.
— ImBearingDown (@ImBearingDown) September 14, 2023
The other blow for Herbert’s managers was that Roschon Johnson was given the ball exclusively for the final two drives of the game, racking up 11 touches for 55 yards and a rushing touchdown. He looked like the more explosive back of the three on display for the Bears, and it looks like he will be trusted with more work going forward.
In Week 1, Herbert only managed 1.2 yards after contact per attempt. He also failed to see any targets inside the red zone. All of this, unfortunately, points to a fairly mediocre performance and a letdown for fantasy managers.
Not only do fantasy managers have to contend with Herbert not being able to carve out a 50% of snaps role in this three-way committee, but they also have to deal with Justin Fields.
Fields was the leading rusher on the team in Week 1 with nine attempts for 59 yards. There was a fair amount of designed run plays for him as well, which hurts Herbert’s value moving forward.
All of these factors make it less than desirable to start Herbert in Week 2. However, let’s look at his next opponent and see if there is any redeeming value there.
Fantasy Outlook for Herbert vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Unfortunately for Herbert, his next game on Sunday is against one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Since Todd Bowles arrived in Tampa, first as a defensive coordinator in 2019-2021 before becoming the head coach in 2022, his defense has been one of the best in the league.
In 2019 and 2020, the Buccaneers ranked first in rushing yards allowed, conceding just 1,181 and 1,289 rushing yards, respectively.
In 2021, the Buccaneers allowed just 1,573 yards, ranking third. Last season, they had a considerable amount of injuries on the defensive line, meaning they dropped to 15th.
They opened the season last week allowing just 41 rushing yards to the Minnesota Vikings as Tampa Bay strengthened their run defense by drafting Calijah Kancey in the first round to partner with star nose tackle Vita Vea.
Let’s not forget that in 2019-2022 they had to face Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara twice a year. The Buccaneers are a team that is very difficult to run the ball on. And, unfortunately for Herbert, he is going to struggle to put up a significant challenge for this defense if he is only going to be on the field for a little over a third of the snaps.
Given the lack of usage due to being in a three-way committee, the hampering of the running backs due to Fields’ ability and the coaching staff’s desire to use him in designed run plays, and facing one of the best run defenses in the NFL, it is not a good week to start Herbert.
Herbert is currently ranked as the RB29 and 68th in the Pro Football Network Consensus Fantasy Rankings. While this would suggest he is a Flex play, I would personally steer away from him this week and look at other alternatives to start.
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