A closer look at David Montgomery’s first year with the Chicago Bears and what to expect from a statistical perspective.
Jordan Howard was an extremely popular Chicago Bear during his three seasons in Chicago.
Howard had an excellent first season and a solid second season, but with the arrival of Matt Nagy, Howard’s production plummeted and he found his way out of Chicago and headed to Philadelphia.
Ryan Pace has overhauled the running game bringing in free agent Mike Davis and trading up in the third round to draft David Montgomery.
How exactly the Bears split the duties between their two featured backs should be interesting and something that fantasy football owners need to monitor.
Last season the Bears rushed the ball 468 times which was good for 6th in the NFL. That’s a commitment to the run. Unfortunately, Howard’s struggles hampered the running game and despite the commitment, the success wasn’t there.
With Mitch Trubisky more comfortable in the offense, Matt Nagy may choose to pass a little more and decrease his commitment to the run, but it shouldn’t be drastic. The Bears still should run more than 400 times in 2019. How much of that action will belong to the rookie Montgomery?
Let’s say the Bears rush the ball 450 times. Tarik Cohen had 99 carries last year and Trubisky had 68. Those numbers should both decrease as Trubisky this seasons should rely less on his legs and more on his arm and Cohen will be utilized more in the passing game and less in the rushing attack.
More from Bear Goggles On
- Franchise tag and transition tag windows open for Chicago Bears and NFL
- How the Chicago Bears can control the running back market in 2023
- The Chicago Bears can own the city of Chicago moving forward
- Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback
- 7 best free agent tackle options for Chicago Bears
If those numbers drop to 150 combined for Cohen and Trubisky. That leaves 300 carries. Last year the Bears had roughly 50 carries committed the other players (Benny Cunningham, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, etc), let’s drop that number to 20. That leaves 280 carries.
Last year, Cordarrelle Patterson had 42 carries. Assuming he’s good for another 40 carries or so, that leaves Montgomery and Mike Davis with roughly 240 to 250 carries to split between the two of them. Keep in mind Jordan Howard had 250 carries by himself last season.
They didn’t sign Davis for him to just ride the pine, so even if Montgomery emerges as the team’s feature back, Davis still should have at least 75 carries (but fantasy players should expect more).
That means, unfortunately, Montgomery should only be expected to have 150 carries, maybe 175 on the season.
Fantasy football is often about opportunity. With so many weapons on offense and four running backs that will be taking carries, it’s hard pressed to see Montgomery reach 200 carries on the season (last year 14 backs had 200+ carries).
Montgomery will also get some targets out of the backfield, but they won’t be astronomical. The Bears have mentioned that they see the backfield as a committee approach and when you look at the numbers, that’s exactly what it’s going to be.
Montgomery should be the top dog of the committee but it’s still a committee. It would be difficult to see Montgomery as a rookie become one of those 225 carries, 1200 yard guys right out of the gate. Montgomery should be a solid RB2 for fantasy players and a fantastic RB3, but don’t expect RB1 as a rookie.
If you are drafting in keeper leagues, if Montgomery proves his talent as a rookie, you can expect the Bears to drop Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson off the team in 2020 and feature Montgomery far more in year two.
Fantasy players should expect Montgomery to be a top 20 running back in 2019, but don’t expect him to take the league by storm.
David Montgomery 2019 stat projections- 160 carries, 720 yards, 4.5 yards per carry, 8 TDs; 25 receptions, 200 yards, 8.0 yards per catch, 1 TD