There aren’t many running backs with as wide of a range of outcomes as David Montgomery. He absolutely tore up fantasy leagues in the back half of the regular season last year, going for 6 straight 20+ point performances in fantasy after the bye week. Montgomery finished as the overall RB4 in PPR last season, and yet, his ADP is all the way down at 40 in superflex leagues. So why is he being so undervalued after such a great season?
High Snap Count
David Montgomery had the highest snap count throughout the entirety of the season, of any running back in the league last year. Yeah I was surprised too. 70.9% of Chicago’s total snaps saw Montgomery on the field, beating out the next highest, Ezekiel Elliot by over 2%. Usually the running back with the highest snap count percentage from the previous season has a very high ADP in the upcoming season, I even looked back at the past 7 seasons to see just how big of an outlier Montgomery was.
Every other player who lead the league in snap percentage was drafted inside the top 20 picks in the following year, so it’s pretty wild to see such a drop off with Montgomery. Obviously Montgomery has some different circumstances, as he benefitted from Cohen getting injured for the entire season and there being no real threat to his touches behind him, as we saw his carry and reception count increase as the season went on. To me the main question comes with his talent. Despite all the touches he received, his fantasy points per opportunity, which essentially ranks his efficiency on those touches, ranked 66th among running backs. That’s very bad. He was great at forcing missed tackles, earning 61 evaded tackles throughout the season, the 11th most in the league, but he was quite lowly ranked at basically every other efficiency metric.
The Bears brought in Damien Williams this offseason, who will get his share. But you have to remember he’s 29 years old, and didn’t play the entire 2020 season, so we can’t expect much out of him. The other threat to Montgomery will be the return of Tarik Cohen. He’s coming off an ACL tear and likely won’t take very many, if any, of the teams carries, but he will get some targets. It’s a small sample size, but in the 3 games with Cohen last season, Montgomery only saw 3 targets a game vs the 5 without him. I’m not too worried about this though, as I believe Montgomery has earned a larger target share.
If Montgomery earns a similar snap and touch share this season, he’ll be one of the best draft values of the 2021 season. Keep that in mind when deciding who to pick in the 4th round of your drafts.
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