Bust to lust – The Running Back Edition

In this series, I will be looking at the positions of Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver and Tight End.

As the title suggests I’m only looking at players that were a bust in 2019 but we will lust for in 2020.

David Montgomery – Chicago Bears

2019 held so much promise for Montgomery. The hype train was running at a high pace before the season started and as a rookie, DM had an ADP of 38th which was the RB20. We expected him to take over the No1 RB slot in Chicago after the Bears traded away Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Technically he was seen as the No1 but was nowhere near as prolific as we had projected. Montgomery finished the season with 889 rushing yards and 185 receiving yards giving him a total of 1074 total scrimmage yards. Not a bad total for his first season in the NFL but that offence was held back by a troubled season at the QB position.

DM tallied 6 rushing TDs and 1 receiving TD this season but his stats didn’t live up to the hype. With a questionable QB running things behind centre, Montgomery wasn’t finding it easy to get moving. Only bagging 496 yards before contact averaging only 2 yards per attempt. He managed the rest of his yardage, 393 yards, after contact averaging 1.6 per attempt.

College production

Montgomery has proven that he can ball. In college he produced some good numbers, but the one stat line that makes me believe that he has the ability for us to want him is the Yards after contact stat.

Just compare his stats to Josh Jacobs and Devin Singletary. Both of whom enjoyed a nice first season in the NFL this year.

Jacobs in college went 1491 yards. Of those he went 1032 yards after contact, giving him a ratio YAC of 68.2%. Good stats that transferred to the NFL.

Singletary in college went crazy with 4287 yards. Of those he went 2885 yards after contact, giving him a ratio YAC of 67.3%

Montgomery in college went 2925 yards. Of those he went 2176 yards after contact, giving him a better YAC ratio than both players above at 74.4%

The NFL D-line will always be on you fast. So being able to create yards after contact is a massive plus to have.

2020 hope

As things stand, Montgomery’s ADP for 2020 is at the 65th pick as the rb25. A high end RB 3 or A low end RB 2, depending on drafts. Not a bad price for the potential volume he may get this season. This is where things get more enticing.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace has already spoken about Montgomery being the teams featured running back and collecting a heavier load in 2020. He has shown last season that when given the heavier load, his production rises.

In week 8, he had 27 attempts and got his first 100 yard game finishing on 135 yards and a TD. Then in week 17 against a Vikings team that needed a win for the playoffs he was handed the ball 23 times to get his second 100 yard game with a TD. (I get fantasy doesn’t play week 17 but for this purpose it’s showing how volume is key for DM)

Qb is key

This upcoming free agency has had many people chatting about the QB position at the Bears. Talk varies. Do they keep Mitch Trubisky and they stay as it is. Do they bring in a veteran to help DM progress but also compete for the job and put the pressure on, or do they go into the draft and go find competition.

No matter what the plan is it has to be better than last year. Better QB play contributes to the RB having a better chance and as they have already mentioned Montgomery’s volume, 2020 looks brighter for DM.

What about Cohen?

Yes, Tarik Cohen can eat into DMs volume but looking at the stats I don’t think we have much of an issue. Last season neither performed well and out of the two, Montgomery got the work.

Cohen didn’t get a rushing TD and only picked up 3 receiving. If anything Montgomery started to eat into Cohen’s role by being targeted 35 times as a receiver and getting a receiving TD himself.

2019 was a mess for the Bears and with another off season to work together and build the team things can only improve.

David Johnson – Houston Texans

2019 was a crazy year for DJ. A massive bust for his ADP value. Many drafted him in the 1st round averaging the 7th overall pick of redraft leagues and then for some reason that was the height of his season. Eventually resulting in being a drop candidate when Kenyan Drake came along in Arizona.

Not only that but 2019 was everything brand new in Arizona. Kyler Murray came in as the rookie QB. It took a few games for Murray to settle in which caused the box to be a lot more congested. By the time things got going for the offence, DJ was slightly banged up and in came Drake.

They also had a brand new coach. 1st time NFL head coach Kliff Kingsbury came along and put in place a new scheme. So a new coach and new QB was always going to put some strain on DJ at RB.

Why go back?

Many people who got burnt by him in 2019 probably won’t, but this brings up an opportunistic moment for those who might keep the faith.

Because he burnt so many people his ADP has dropped significantly down to 96th overall. The RB 34.

Now this will change after the Texans just traded for him. But for now this is his price.

What can he offer?

In standard scoring he might not bring you in the points like you would hope, but PPR is where his value sits.

Leading up to his crash out of 2019 he put up some solid numbers.

In week 1 he rushed for 82 yards and received 6 passes for 55 yards. Then weeks 4,5 and 6 were just before he got banged up and just as he had started to get things going.

  • Week 4 – rushed for 40 yards but received 8 catches for 99 yards
  • Week 5 – rushed 91 yards and received 3 catches for 65 yards
  • Week 6 – rushed only 34 but received 6 catches for 68 yards.

In that 3 game spell he was averaging 13.6 yards per reception and finished the season on an average of 10.3 yards per reception. Compare this to the running backs that are being drafted around the same ADP. RB33, ADP 94 Carlos Hyde way down at 4.2 YPR and RB35, ADP 99 Royce Freeman who is struggling for starts and averaged the same yards per rush but only an average of 6 YPR.

The price DJ is at now and his potential upside is worth the risk when your starting lineup could potentially be full at this stage of the draft. Especially with the Texans losing their number one target in the same trade sending Hopkins to the Cardinals.

With those targets now up for grabs a quick dump off option to DJ could be a fantastic opportunity in fantasy.

Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints

The price you paid for Kamara in 2019 and the season you got was not a good value. The only value you might have managed was if you held onto him until the final weeks when he managed to pick up his game and help you out.

His season wasn’t as bad as you might think looking at his stats. Very similar to the season before when we were drafting him as one of the top 4 picks overall. The biggest thing that stunk up his 2019 season was the TD rate.

Take out week 16 and 17 when he racked up 2 TDs in each game and that leaves just 2 TDs at the beginning of the season. That’s it. Just 6 TDs and 2 came in the fantasy championship game and 2 in the non existent week 17 game. Not the player stats you want from a 1st round pick.

So why go back?

The last two games of the season show he still has what it takes to be a top running back. It shows that people think the same as he’s still got a first round ADP of the 7th overall pick.

I feel his TD count can only increase. Only getting 1 rushing TD and 1 receiving TD during the fantasy regular season is an anomaly. Kamara has been in the NFL only 3 seasons. In his rookie season he got 13 total TDs. In 2018 he got 18 total TDs which got him in the top 4 of fantasy drafts. Which then brings us to last season when the total dropped off in dramatic style only racking up 6 total TDs.

Kam’s season also took a hit coming into week six with a slight knock on his ankle. That turned out to be a high ankle sprain. Something that can take 6 weeks to 3 months to heal properly.

Kam only took 2 weeks off then had a bye week to heal up. He came back in week 10 only 3 weeks after getting the sprain. Production was standard but still no TDs. 10 weeks after the sprain he eventually got back into the end zone.

2020 starting fresh

Coming into the 2020 season Kam will be back healthy. Not only that but he will have a healthy Brees at QB having one last ditch attempt to get another ring. Sean Peyton will be hoping to get that production back to have a chance to get back to the playoffs and over the playoff hump. Dialing up Alvin Kamara in running and receiving plays can only be a good thing in 2020.

Now that Kam has dropped down the ADP from a top 4 pick to the back end of the first round, late drafters could be getting a steal picking up a player that has the potential to be a top 3 RB.

Thats my triple threat of Running Backs, although better get in on David Johnsons cheap price fast. Next up its the Tight Ends.

-Pittsy @PittsyNFL

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