Second-Year Scouting Report: Khalil Herbert


Rookies get all the attention. They’re the flashy new piece that could be anything. And then a class of rookies comes through and they’re old news, replaced by the next flashy, new thing. But last year’s rookies aren’t gone, and in many cases, they’re going to be even better than the exciting new pieces that are just showing up.


Of course, sometimes they won’t be, and that matters too. So as we head toward training camp, preseason, and then the start of the 2022 NFL season, we’re taking a look at last year’s rookie class. What did we think about last year’s rookie class? What worked? What didn’t? And what’s the prognosis for them going forward?

Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears 

Khalil Herbert was drafted with the 207th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. When he was selected, it appeared to be nothing more than a depth selection to help round out the running back room or improve special teams, especially with David Montgomery, Damien Williams, and Tarik Cohen on the roster. All three had proven NFL production to their names. However, Herbert did show an ability to handle a significant role in college as he saw three years of over 100 attempts. One of his greatest strengths was his decisiveness and ability to smoothly work through the offensive line when holes developed. Additionally, he displayed an ability to use his speed to get to the edge and finish runs hard while almost always falling forward. Although he had good speed, he did lack the ability to burst in and out of cuts in short areas when asked to do so suddenly. He also lacked the necessary refinement within his cuts and the ability to get out of these cuts quickly – almost laboring at times. 

With these concerns and his draft capital, he was pushed down fantasy football draft boards. Therefore, he only held value in deeper dynasty drafts, carrying an ADP of the 47th overall player and 13th running back off the board in rookie drafts. When it came to redraft formats, he was going undrafted in the majority of leagues, but he became a factor as a waiver wire add mid-season. 

Khalil Herbert 2022 Fantasy Football Second-Year Scouting Report

What Went Right

Herbert’s rookie season started slow, as he did not see a carry until Week 4, when he got three. But that was also the week the Bears lost their starting running back David Montgomery to a knee injury. The following week, Herbert was thrust into a more prominent role, finishing the game with 75 yards on 18 attempts. Over the next three games (Weeks 6-8) Herbert handled the lion’s share of the work out of the backfield, producing 269 yards and one touchdown on 60 attempts. He averaged 15.4 PPR points a week and was the RB12 in PPR scoring during this span. He would finish the season with 103 carries for 433 yards and two touchdowns and an RB63 finish in PPR. 

Using FTN Fantasy’s advanced rushing stats, we can see he was much more elusive than Montgomery on a per-attempt basis, creating 0.19 missed tackles per attempt compared to Montgomery’s 0.14. Herbert also produced more yards after contact per attempt averaging 2.67, in comparison to Montgomery’s 2.56. As a result, his 59.7 elusive rating was over 20 points higher than Montgomery’s 36.4. Ultimately, building a strong case for Herbert to see more touches going forward. 

What Went Wrong

Herbert didn’t have much go wrong on the field as a rookie, but the main issue he had to face was his usage. He didn’t get a lot of playing time when Montgomery was healthy. As a result, Herbert failed to produce many touchdowns or productive fantasy weeks. He was also not used much in the passing game, with seeing 16 targets all season. On the flip side, he was productive with the targets he did get, averaging 6.9 yards a catch for 96 yards. Ultimately, this made him an unproductive fantasy player for the majority of the season. 


Prognosis Entering 2022

Heading into 2022, Herbert’s role is set to increase according to new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and the new Bears staff. Mainly due to the flashes of talent he displayed last year while filling in for Montgomery. The lion’s share of the workload likely goes to Montgomery again, but Herbert could get 10 touches a game this year. As a result, he has some standalone value this year while being one of the best handcuffs in the league. Making him the perfect redraft target for you in the middle to late rounds of your drafts. 

When it comes to dynasty, he is on a short list of must-acquire handcuff running backs, especially with David Montgomery in the last year of his contract. It’s possible he won’t return in 2023. If so, Herbert would instantly become a top-24 running back in all formats. Especially, as the Bears have produced a top-24 running back every year over the past 10 seasons. Additionally, the Bears’ offense seems to be trending upward with a lot of young talent that will help them sustain quality fantasy assets for years to come. 

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