Lions running back David Montgomery has been tabbed as a 2024 fantasy bust

David Montgomery's workload is sure to drop some this year, but does that mean he'll be a fantasy football bust?
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From the time he signed with the Detroit Lions in March of 2023 to right after Jahmyr Gibbs was drafted in late-April, David Montgomery's fantasy value traveled the full spectrum-from RB1 to RB3/flex territory.

Montgomery served as the "Thunder" to Gibbs' "Lightning" last season, with over 200 carries for over 1,000 yards on the ground with 13 rushing scores. In standard fantasy scoring, Montgomery was RB9 to Gibbs at RB10.

With all the hype around Gibbs, from general manager Brad Holmes declaring he'll have a bigger workload this year to an easy to point to evolution as a pass catcher, Montgomery is being, at minimum, overlooked.

Montgomery had 50 red zone carries last year, tied for fourth-most in the league, with 11 touchdowns on said carries (tied for fourth-most). But he was not just a straight-line sledge hammer, forcing 54 missed tackles on his 258 carries (counting the playoffs; the seventh-most forced missed tackles in the league according to Pro Football Focus).

Fantasy Football 2024: Will David Montgomery be a bust?

CBS Sportsline, leaning into a premise of surprising fantasy busts their projection system regularly unveils, has Montgomery on the list for 2024.

"One of the 2024 Fantasy football busts the model is predicting: Lions running back David Montogomery. The 27-year-old finished as the RB15 in Fantasy during his first season in Detroit, posting the second 1,000-yard rushing season of his career. He was fifth in red-zone touches and scored the fourth-most touchdowns among running backs in one of the league's best offenses.

"Montgomery's volume decreased down the stretch of the season though, as he averaged 15 touches and 75.7 total yards following his return in Week 10. He is also expected to take more of a backseat to teammate Jahmyr Gibbs, who general manager Brad Holmes said would "see more of the load" in 2024. Montgomery out-carried Gibbs by nearly 40 touches last year, so he is being over-drafted based on those numbers."

It's unclear where the "RB15" finish came from. Via Fantasy Pros, Montgomery was RB13 and RB17 in 0.5-point and full PPR respectively last year through Week 18. Narrowing to Week 17, he was RB18 (full PPR), RB14 (0.5-PPR) and RB10 (standard). But otherwise the overall point stands. Montgomery lost five touches per game from his first five games last season to his last nine after he returned from injury. in line with Gibbs seeing more work. Montgomery also scored on 5,94 percent of his carries last year, and only four running backs bested him there.

Montgomery probably won't top 200 carries this year, and Gibbs' good share of red zone carries last year (37; eight inside the 5-yard line) is only likely to climb.

Predicting Montgomery will be a fantasy bust this year is aligned with where expectations are/should be, and where his ADP is. Right now (July 8), he's in RB2 territory by ADP across ESPN (RB18), Yahoo! (RB21) and Underdog Fantasy (RB17), between pick 75-80 overall; seventh round in a 12-team league.

A lot of people would take 900 rushing yards, 7-10 touchdowns on the ground and over 1,000 scrimmage yards from their RB2, and that's an easy rough projection for Montgomery. If Gibbs misses any time, the ceiling for Montgomery goes higher those weeks.

Expecting Montgomery to repeat last season is foolish, and flat out ignoring his situation. But that doesn't mean he's completely without appeal in fantasy drafts this year, or that he'll end up being a bust. There's an argument he's a better value at his ADP than Gibbs is at his. At minimum, "Zero RB" drafters should absolutely have Montgomery on their radar.

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