As quickly as David Montgomery's fantasy football stock rose after the Detroit Lions signed him in March, it crashed just as quickly after the Lions drafted Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall in April. It's now at a point where Montgomery is an outright bargain in drafts, in the RB3 range for 12-team leagues.
Those who were in on Montgomery as a fantasy asset in March are probably still in on him now, just with an adjustment in expectations in line with his ADP drop.
The fantasy buzz around Gibbs has not faded, but Montgomery should not be and is not being forgotten. He is lined up to lead a Lions backfield that should again be very prosperous for fantasy owners in carries this year. He's also lined up to get a huge piece of the goal line role Jamaal Williams had last year, on his way to a franchise record 17 touchdowns.
David Montgomery lands atop a list of fantasy running backs, in a certain context
ESPN fantasy analyst Mike Clay recently put out a list of the top 10 "insurance running backs" for fantasy football in 2023. It's important to note it's not a list of handcuffs, but guys who would become a clear lead back if their talented backfield mate was out. Think guys like A.J. Dillon, Zach Charbonnet, Antonio Gibson and Tyler Allgeier.
With Gibbs tabbed by Clay as the lead back for the Lions, Montgomery is No. 1 on the list.
"As will be the case with several of these backfields, this one goes both directions. If Gibbs goes down, Montgomery will leap into the RB1 discussion. If it's Montgomery who is sidelined, Gibbs' role would increase and he would be in the top-10 mix. Last season, Detroit's backfield paced the entire league in fantasy points (501) and touchdowns (27) while ranking third in touches (509). Granted it was a different group, but you can easily make a case that Montgomery is an upgrade of Jamaal Williams and first-round rookie Gibbs an upgrade of D'Andre Swift. Montgomery and Gibbs will benefit from one of the league's best offensive lines and, in this scenario, would be competing with veteran backup Craig Reynolds (Go Golden Bears!) for touches."- Mike Clay, ESPN
As Clay noted, if one of the Lions' top two backs goes down with an injury the other would get a boost into fantasy stud status as the clear-cut lead guy. Drafting both Gibbs and Montgomery will be in play for some fantasy owners on draft day, and based on their ADPs Montgomery would be the "insurance back" with standalone value.