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Dynasty Player Profile: David Montgomery (2022 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Player Profile: David Montgomery (2022 Fantasy Football)

David Montgomery Career Production

*Based on PPR scoring

Career Contextualization

After a productive college career at Iowa State, David Montgomery was a third-round pick (73rd overall) by the Chicago Bears in 2019. He was the fourth running back off the board that year, behind Josh Jacobs (24th overall), Miles Sanders (53rd), and Darrell Henderson (70th). However, Montgomery has arguably been the best fantasy player of the four so far in their careers.

During his three years with the Cyclones, Montgomery was an unstoppable force. He averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt, 0.96 rushing touchdowns, 2.3 receptions, and 18.1 receiving yards per game over his final two years at Iowa State. Furthermore, Montgomery finished second in the Big 12 Conference with 1,126 rushing yards in 2018.

Montgomery is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is in line to earn a massive new deal from the Bears or another team in 2023. Over the first three years of his career, Montgomery has averaged 19 touches for 84.8 scrimmage yards, 0.55 scrimmage touchdowns, and 14.4 PPR fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he has played 89.8 percent of the games in his career despite missing a career-high four games in 2021.

However, he has played better over the past two years. Montgomery finished as the RB4 in 2020, averaging 17.7 fantasy points per game. He finished as the RB21 in 2021, averaging 15 fantasy points per game. However, he finished as the RB13 on a points per game basis among running backs with nine or more games played last year.

Current Situation

Unfortunately, Montgomery didn't have the best supporting cast around him the past few years in Chicago. As a result, he has averaged under four yards per rushing attempt in two of his three years in the NFL, with a career-high of 4.3 yards per rushing attempt in 2020. However, that's not entirely Montgomery's fault.

Chicago's offensive line has really let Montgomery down the past two years. He averaged only 1.9 yards before contact in 2020 and 2021. By comparison, Jonathan Taylor averaged 3.0 and 2.6 yards before contact, while Dalvin Cook averaged 2.6 and 2.7 in 2020 and 2021.

The most important note with Montgomery is the quarterback play. Last year, his yards per rushing attempt were higher with Justin Fields under center than when Andy Dalton or Nick Foles started. In the six games he played when Fields started, Montgomery averaged 4.12 yards per rushing attempt. By comparison, Montgomery averaged 3.54 yards per rushing attempt in the seven games he played with Dalton or Fields starting.

General Prediction for 2022 and Rest of Career

While the Bears didn't make a blockbuster move this offseason, like signing Terron Armstead, they did improve the offensive line. They signed Lucas Patrick from the Green Bay Packers and Dakota Dozier from the Minnesota Vikings. Both are solid veterans who will help Montgomery. Furthermore, the Bears have two second-round picks at 39 and 48 overall.

They could add offensive linemen with either of those selections. The perfect target for the Bears at pick 39 is Kenyon Green. If he is still on the board at that point, the Bears would be foolish to pass on him. Furthermore, the Bears spent a pair of draft picks last year on offensive tackles Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom. Both should take a step forward this year and provide better blocking for Montgomery.

The additions on the offensive line help Montgomery's yard per rushing attempt average, and they will also help him break off big plays. In 2021, Montgomery had 64 evaded tackles (4.9 per game), ranking 14th among running backs. He had a 3.1 percent breakaway run rate, ranking 37th at the position. Furthermore, Montgomery had 45 stuffed runs according to PlayerProfiler last season, the fifth most. This is an area the Bears must improve on moving forward.

More importantly, there is no threat to Montgomery's touches on the roster. Tarik Cohen got released this offseason after missing all of last year with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Khalil Herbert is nothing more than a handcuff. He averaged 21.8 touches per game in the four games Montgomery missed with a knee injury last year. By comparison, he averaged only 2.3 touches per game when Montgomery was healthy. Furthermore, Herbert had more than four touches in only one of those games.

New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy joins the Bears after spending seven of the past eight years with the Packers. Getsy was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2019 to 2021. He spent the 2018 season at Mississippi State as the offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach. However, Getsy has never been an offensive coordinator before in the NFL. Therefore, it's hard to determine what role he has envisioned for Montgomery this year. Thus, fantasy owners shouldn't assume he will deploy a split backfield like the Packers did last year with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Especially considering Herbert is not a star running back like the duo in Green Bay.

Buy, Sell, or Hold?

Whether you should buy, sell, or hold Montgomery depends on the current status of your team. However, he is a player I want on my team unless it's a complete rebuild. In that case, I would trade him away for a 2023 first-round pick and a mid-round pick in 2022. Contending teams should try to acquire Montgomery. I've seen Montgomery traded for a late 2022 first-round pick in 1QB and SuperFlex leagues. Trade the 1.06 or later pick in the first round this year for Montgomery if you need a running back.

Given the improvements on the offensive line and a full year of Fields under center, Montgomery should see a jump in his touchdown rate. He has a 2.9 percent touchdown rate for his career. By comparison, Cook has a 3.5 percent career touchdown rate. However, Cook's touchdown rate took a massive jump once the Vikings improved their offensive line.

Cook had a 2.3 percent touchdown rate in 2018. The Vikings then used a first or second-round pick in 2019, 2020, and 2021 on an offensive lineman. After making those moves, Cook had a 4.3 percent or higher touchdown rate in two of the three seasons since 2018.

Montgomery should have over 10 total touchdowns for the first time in his career in 2022. Chicago needs to use one of their two second-round picks on an offensive lineman. Combine that with the development of Jenkins and Borom and the free-agent addition, Montgomery should have a career year this season.

He will turn 25-years-old in July. With only 835 career touches, Montgomery has plenty of tread left on the tires. He finished as a top-five running back in 2020. Furthermore, Montgomery finished as a top-24 running back every year of his career. At worst, he is a mid RB2. At his peak, Montgomery has top-10 upside. Unless your team is in a complete rebuild, Montgomery is a must-buy!

CTAs


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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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