The 2019 Chicago Bears were the NFC’s answer to the Cleveland Browns in that nobody on the team lived up to the offseason hype. Mitchell Trubisky regressed hard, while the rest of the offense (outside of Allen Robinson) struggled to move the ball. Because of this, there isn’t too much interest around Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery. Can the second-year pro take his game to the next level in 2020, or is his inefficiency too much to overcome?
Note: All fantasy points and rankings are based on PPR scoring
2020 Fantasy Football Outlook: David Montgomery
The Chicago Bears spent the 2019 offseason looking for a kicker and a better running back. After sending Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles for essentially nothing, the Bears made Montgomery their guy in the 2019 NFL Draft. Despite having basically no draft capital, the team still decided to trade up and grab their guy in the third round.
While a third-round investment doesn’t mean too much for fantasy, the circumstances surrounding Montgomery’s selection made him more enticing than the average third-rounder. For one, he inherited a completely empty backfield. Secondly, the team openly said they viewed him as a first-round prospect, and trading up to select Montgomery shows that it wasn’t just talk.
Montgomery had the workload everyone projected, but he didn’t have the efficiency. Last year, Montgomery led the team with 242 rushing attempts, but only compiled 889 yards and six touchdowns. Additionally, he added a relatively underwhelming 25 receptions for 185 yards and one touchdown. Altogether, this made him the RB24, which was ultimately disappointing compared to his preseason hype.
In the world of fantasy football, opportunity and situation always beat out talent. One season isn’t enough to make any sweeping declarations about Montgomery’s ability, so the jury is still out on whether or not he can be a good NFL running back. However, the Bears still believe in him and his opportunity is still promising.
Despite the relatively underwhelming season, Chicago didn’t add a single running back of note during the offseason. Montgomery is the clear leader of the backfield and is still a lock to see at least 200 carries, barring injury. This workload alone guarantees him some fantasy value, and his efficiency will probably improve in 2020.
Thanks to the volatile nature of football, it’s hard to imagine Chicago’s offense being THAT bad for a second straight season. This will probably still be a below-average unit, but it probably won’t be the bottom-five dumpster fire from a season ago. Even a marginal increase in his yards-per-carry will do wonders for Montgomery’s fantasy value.
Montgomery came into the league with a projected three-down skill set, and he should see more targets in 2020. Tarik Cohen is still the better pass-catcher and should lead Chicago’s running backs in total targets. However, Montgomery should see a larger slice of the pie, especially with a new quarterback in town. Nick Foles loves to check down to running backs, and he’ll probably get at least eight starts in the upcoming season.
David Montgomery Average Draft Position
As of this posting, Fantasy Football Calculator has Montgomery going off the board with the 44th overall pick in PPR drafts. This puts him in the same tier as guys like Raheem Mostert and Jonathan Taylor and just ahead of guys like Mark Ingram and Cam Akers.
The decision to select Montgomery over the aforementioned players comes down to what you did in the early rounds. If you loaded up at wide receiver and just need security at running back, take Montgomery. Mostert and Taylor carry tons of risk, as both players are competing for a featured role in their respective offense. Montgomery doesn’t have that risk and is a much safer bet for a low-end RB2 finish.
However, if you’ve loaded up on running backs and are just looking for upside, go with Mostert or Taylor. Both players are in much better offenses and favorable situations. Mostert already proved he can be an elite running back with Kyle Shanahan, and only needs to beat out Tevin Coleman. Taylor, meanwhile, is running behind arguably the best offensive line in football and has a checkdown-heavy quarterback in Philip Rivers.
Embed from Getty Images