Last year this time, expectations were sky-high for running back David Montgomery. The third-round pick from Iowa State was everything the Chicago Bears offense needed in a workhorse back. Projections for his rookie year resembled what Kareem Hunt did with the Chiefs in 2017 when he ran for a league-leading 1,327 yards.
And while Montgomery's first season was promising, his final stat line was a bit of a letdown. He finished the year with 242 carries for 889 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 3.7 yards per carry behind an offensive line that underperformed all season.
Hope isn't lost for Montgomery to develop into a stat monster, however. In fact, he's one of ESPN's favorite running backs to target in fantasy football this season, according to Matt Bowen.
"I was probably a little too high on Montgomery heading into the 2019 season," Bowen wrote. "However, the Bears' top returning ball carrier did produce more than 1,000 total yards, and the volume was there. Last season, Montgomery ranked No. 8 in percentage of team carries (61.3%), and we did see an uptick in production down the stretch. After averaging just 3.3 yards per carry in Weeks 1-12, Montgomery pushed that number to 4.3 yards per carry in Weeks 13-17.
"I'm betting on the second-year back playing at a level that is more reflective of his late-season numbers in '19."
Bowen's ESPN colleague, Mike Clay, seems less optimistic. He's projecting Montgomery to finish 2020 with just 849 yards and six scores; essentially, he thinks Montgomery's production will fall short of his rookie season numbers.
The Bears' commitment to Montgomery is obvious. They didn't add any competition for carries this offseason in free agency or the NFL draft, and with Cohen's contract expiring at the end of 2020, there's a chance Chicago will feature Montgomery more in the passing game too.
Aside from Montgomery and Cohen, the Bears' running backs consist of Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce and Napoleon Maxwell.
Fantasy Football 2020: David Montgomery among ESPN's 'favorite RBs to target' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago