The 2020 fantasy football season is quickly approaching as leagues around the country begin the summer fantasy draft circuit. The Bears offense doesn't have much appeal for fantasy players, but Chicago's expected commitment to the running game should at least have David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen on the fantasy radar.
But which Bears running back will be the more popular pick?
Logic suggests Montgomery will be one of the first 24 running backs drafted (at least an RB2 in 2020), but that's not the case according to ESPN's 2020 fantasy football rankings. Montgomery checks-in at 26, while Cohen ranks one spot higher at no. 25.
Montgomery's rookie season didn't go as planned, but the 2019 third-round pick remains atop the Chicago depth chart. The Iowa State product wasn't short on volume in his first season, ranking 12th among backs in touches and sixth in carries inside the 5 (14). The problem was a combination of poor rushing efficiency (3.7 YPC, 1.6 YAC) and a lack of volume and effectiveness as a pass-catcher (185 yards on 37 targets). The end result was two top-15 fantasy weeks and a 24th-place finish by season's end. Montgomery will continue to defer passing-down work to Tarik Cohen but is certainly a breakout candidate in his second season. Montgomery is a flex option with RB2 upside.
ESPN predicts Montgomery will actually have fewer yards in 2020 than he had as a rookie (849 compared to 889 last year) but will have the same number of touchdowns (6). A year like that would qualify as a significant disappointment considering how much the Bears are banking on Montgomery breaking out this year.
The strangest part of ESPN's projection for Montgomery is the carry totals. They predict Montgomery will receive 30 fewer carries this fall. It's a bizarre projection considering the lack of competition he has for carries. In fact, he could challenge for 20 carries per game if the Bears are competitive. And if that happens, his ranking in fantasy circles will skyrocket.
Montgomery seems like a great buy-low candidate in fantasy football drafts this summer.