David Montgomery had an impressive sophomore season, finishing just over 1,500 scrimmage yards with 10 total touchdowns, making him the No. 4 back in fantasy (half-PPR). He especially played well down the stretch in the Bears’ final six games, averaging 137.4 scrimmage yards while scoring 8 of his 10 touchdowns in that span. After an impressive finish, the Bears are aiming to get Montgomery more involved as coach Matt Nagy said “the goal” this season is to get Montgomery to 20 rushes a game. Montgomery also improved as a receiver last season, doubling his output in receptions as a rookie from 25 to 54.
Montgomery’s increase as a receiver out of the backfield can be directly tied to Tarik Cohen’s absence. With Cohen returning this year, there’s certainly some doubt as to whether Montgomery can keep up the pace he had a season ago. It’s a small sample size, but in the three games with Cohen active, Montgomery averaged 51% of the offensive snaps. In the games after, he averaged over 80%. And not only is Cohen returning, but the Bears also added Damien Williams, who played well for the Chiefs before opting out of the 2020 season. And if Justin Fields plays in his rookie season, we can expect him to take some carries of his own.
2021 Bottom Line
Even with an extra game on the schedule, we don’t have Montgomery projected to reach the 1,500-yard mark like he did last season. Cohen’s return combined with Fields’ and Williams’ arrival will make it hard for him to have the same volume as a year ago. But the Bears still clearly like him if their “goal” is to get him 20+ carries a game. He should finish around the RB15 mark (half-PPR), making him a strong RB2 in 2021.