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Fantasy Football: Can David Montgomery sustain his 2020 late-season success?

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

Chicago Bears starting RB David Montgomery has had a bit of an up-and-down start to his professional career. Lauded as potentially the next big thing after leading college football in broken tackles in both 2017 and 2018, Montgomery was literally earning comparisons to an entire group of proven stud professional backs before he stepped foot on an NFL field.

Then 2019 happened and the future suddenly wasn’t quite so bright. Montgomery wasn’t bad, but his standing as the RB30 in PPR points per game was hardly the sort of return that fantasy football investors had been hoping for. A strong end to the season was nice; either way, talks about Montgomery ascending into RB1 territory in fantasy land were largely over.

Fast forward to 2021 and D-Mont is the reigning RB7 in PPR points per game. The mood in Chicago has changed for the better thanks to the presence of rookie QB Justin Fields, and the time to win is now with head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace seemingly very much on the hot seat.

What follows is a breakdown on just how good Montgomery was in 2020 and whether we should expect his fantasy superstardom to continue next season.

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Montgomery was nothing short of awesome in 2020

Montgomery won my “Best Fantasy Comeback” award for the 2020 season. You should’ve seen the folks on Twitter who didn’t realize it was a fantasy award and thought I was slandering Alex Smith. Anyway, my reasoning was as follows:

“One man truly earned this honor: David Montgomery. The Bears’ much-maligned second-year back didn’t have quite the same difference in fantasy points as Akers, but his improvement from 13.2 PPR points per game in Weeks 1-8 to 21.9 in Weeks 9-16 was nothing short of remarkable. Overall, Montgomery joined Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook as the league’s only RBs to average at least 20 PPR points per contest during the second half of the season. Only Nick Chubb and Mike Davis averaged more forced missed tackles per touch than Montgomery.”

The slow start to the year was over by November. Montgomery racked up at least 100 total yards in seven of his final eight regular season games. Yes, his final six-game stretch featured cozy matchups in the Green Bay Packers (x2), Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars, each of which ranked among the league’s bottom-six defenses in PPR points per game allowed to the position. Also yes, the fantasy community isn’t holding similar easy end-of-season stretches against either Jonathan Taylor or Derrick Henry.

This isn’t to suggest Montgomery is better than either Taylor or Henry; just realize the Bears’ 24-year-old talent has proven capable of functioning as anyone’s idea of a solid professional running back.

The biggest issue with suggesting a repeat performance in 2021: volume.

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