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Start or sit Tarik Cohen or David Montgomery in Week 1 fantasy football?

Which Bears running back is a better bet for your Week 1 lineup?

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

There is nothing like a productive pair of halfbacks on the same team to make every week of your fantasy football roster management as anxiety-ridden as possible. And the Chicago Bears might just have the mother of all running back committees with Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery.

The good news is that both are playmakers, and Matt Nagy’s offense gives its running backs plenty of opportunities to produce. Cohen was the team’s second-best receiver last year with 725 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He was no slouch running the ball either, putting up an impressive 4.5 yards per carry on 99 attempts and finding pay dirt three times.

But his 170 touches left his coaches concerned. Offseason expectations have tamped down on how many carries Cohen will get as a running back this year. And Nagy acknowledged giving him “a little bit too much” work last season.

If you’re still dubious about a reduced role for Cohen, then look no further than just how highly the Bears think of Montgomery. Chicago traded away the team’s 2018 rushing leader, Jordan Howard, in the offseason, and then moved up 14 spots in the third round of this year’s draft to snag the Iowa State product.

The Bears have been pretty open about how much they like Montgomery too. Just this week, Nagy was telling the press that they were “pinching themselves” when it came to having him on the team.

Like Cohen, Montgomery is a receiving threat. His ability to break tackles should make him a regular feature on the nightly highlight reels as well. In fact, Montgomery caused defenders to miss 185 times in two seasons with the Hawkeyes, according to Pro Football Focus. And unlike a lot of college production statistics, that’s something that translates nicely to pros.

Fantasy impact: Montgomery is the more complete player compared to Cohen. He’s also got about 40 pounds and four inches over the veteran, giving him an edge in who should see more touches this season. Cohen will most likely factor into the Bears offense more heavily as a pass catcher than the rookie, but look for Montgomery to get more work carrying the ball. (Offseason addition Mike Davis will take some of the halfback snaps too).

Factoring all of those things together, it’s not a leap to see Montgomery getting more work overall than the other half of this duo. He’s a guy with plenty of upside on fantasy rosters.

Recommendation: Start Montgomery