RotoViz is continuing our look back on the 2019 rookies with a peek at Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery. Montgomery was, without a doubt, one of the fantasy community’s favorite rookie running backs in 2019 — but did he live up to expectations? And what can we expect from David Montgomery during the 2020 fantasy football season?
David Montgomery’s Rookie Season
Montgomery was, overall, a solid rookie running back. He finished the season as a tail-end fantasy RB2/high-end flex option (RB241). While Montgomery didn’t win you any championships, it wouldn’t be fair to call him a fantasy bust, either.
Most of Montgomery’s fantasy production came via rushing volume.
- He ranked 13th in attempts and 18th in rushing yards
- He ranked 40th and 45th in receiving targets and yards, respectively.
The receiving output was disappointing, especially after Montgomery flashed upside through the air in the preseason.
The most worrisome takeaway from Montgomery’s rookie season is that he ranked 152nd among RBs in fantasy points over expectation per game (FPOE/Gm). He was expected to finish as the fantasy RB23 and ended as the fantasy RB24. Being so volume dependent is not a great sign.
David Montgomery’s Historical Comps
Using the RotoViz Screener‘s Similarity Search, I found the closest rookie RB comps to Montgomery over the last two decades. Here’s what it came up:
And here’s how these players fared in their second season, which could indicate how David Montgomery will perform in 2020:
Let’s start with the obvious: Of Montgomery’s five closest rookie comps, one of them was solid in fantasy for a stretch of time (Travis Henry), one was on-again, off-again (Knowshon Moreno), and the rest are complete afterthoughts.
- The Good: Henry ripped off 18.9 PPR points per game in his second year. It was Henry’s first of back-to-back seasons with over 1,500 total yards and double-digit touchdowns. This is a best-case scenario for Montgomery, but it’s not so great that it happened nearly 20 years ago. Still, it’s a really good best-case scenario for the hopeful.
- The Bad: Vick Ballard touched the ball 14 times in his entire career after his sophomore year, while Samaje Perine is at 16 post-rookie touches with a slim chance for more.
David Montgomery’s 2020 Outlook
The light remains on for Montgomery’s fantasy outlook, but it’s a lot dimmer than it was in August 2019.
The biggest red flags:
- Montgomery’s pitiful performance in FPOE2 could be a sign that he’s merely a byproduct of opportunity, which can instantly disappear for RBs.
- Montgomery’s ho-hum use in the passing game puts a dramatic cap on his fantasy ceiling. Bears pass-catching specialist RB Tarik Cohen will only be 25 when the 2020 season begins, so Montgomery’s path to receptions isn’t exactly opening up anytime soon.
Montgomery will remain Chicago’s early-down back in 2020, giving him fantasy appeal as an RB2 or flex option once again in PPR formats.