FANTASY FOOTBALL: DON’T WORRY ABOUT TY MONTGOMERY

Position changes are becoming more common nowadays in the NFL. This occurs because a player’s skill set optimizes their potential rather than their original position on the football field. We’ve seen position changes in players like Devin Hester, who was a cornerback at the University of Miami, that was used as a speedy wide receiver in Chicago. Last year marked a breakout year for athletes at new positions. Tyrelle Pryor, a former quarterback, boasted stellar numbers in his first season as a full-time receiver. Even the two-time MVP and offensive player of the year in the Big Ten, Braxton Miller, opted to play wide receiver instead of quarterback his senior season at Ohio State. He was then drafted in the third round by the Houston Texans in the 2016 NFL draft. I want to talk about Ty Montgomery and the final stage of his transition from wide receiver to running back for the Green Bay Packers.

HOW IT STARTED

Montgomery began last season as a wide receiver struggling for playing time and trying to earn a roster spot as a kick returner. Injuries to Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and Randall Cobb allowed Montgomery to showcase his unique abilities in an unfamiliar position. In the past, Green Bay was notorious for placing Cobb in the backfield in certain offensive formations. When he got the injury bug, Montgomery stepped up as a running back and after continuous production with a small opportunity, he solidified himself as a running back for the Green Bay Packers. No longer a receiver, Ty Montgomery came into training camp as the number one back and is ready to take the next step as a starter. Although, lately he has faced preseason adversity and competition. Here is why I still believe in Montgomery and his ability to be a breakout fantasy player in 2017.

WHY PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED

Rookie running back hype is all the rage this year in fantasy football. Owners can’t wait to get their hands on the likes of Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook. The talent is certainly there in this rookie class and the Packers have a first year back of their own. Jamaal Williams, a fourth-round pick out of BYU, has received first team reps in camp for his ability in pass protection which is a weakness for Ty Montgomery. He is the most likely candidate to challenge Montgomery this season for snaps and has received praise from Aaron Rodgers. Williams also becomes a threat for playing time due to Ty Montgomery’s recent injury. He suffered an unspecified lower leg injury that kept him out of a week 2 preseason match up against the Washington Redskins. Packer fans and fantasy owners hope Ty Montgomery can rebound after a minor injury and produce during the regular season.

When it comes to Ty Montgomery, I found that last season he only had more than 9 carries in one game. There is certainly both a pro and a con to this statistic. What concerns me is that even with a running back carousel in Green Bay last season, this talented player was only trusted to run the ball a considerable amount of times once. That game came against the Chicago Bears where he had 16 carries and flashed some starting potential.

FANTASY UPSIDE

Now that I’ve mentioned potential, I am brought back to why I love Ty Montgomery this fantasy season. 2016 was a work in progress for Green Bay’s running back experiment. This season, Montgomery brings a more muscular build, Stanford level intelligence, and a full season to grow and develop at his new position. The happier side of the statistic presented earlier is the fact that we haven’t yet seen what Ty Montgomery can do as a full-fledged starter. With experience under his belt, I believe he will run away with all expectations and become a dual-threat runner and receiver out of the backfield for Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense. If someone in his first full year as a running back can take 16 carries for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns, what can he do once he fully learns and understands the position?

Even though he wasn’t officially named a running back until after a 38-10 win over Seattle in Week 14, Ty Montgomery amassed 457 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns and a 5.9 YPC average on 77 attempts. Alongside his triumphs as a running back, he accounted for 44 catches and 348 yards receiving. Just running with his instincts, Ty Montgomery was the most elusive running back in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. He created a missed tackle every 4.42 touches and averaged a league-leading 5.14 yards after contact per carry. While those numbers will most likely regress slightly with more opportunity, the new Green Bay starter is going to be an exciting player. His potential was on full display when he scorched the Bears 28.21 fantasy points in week 15 last season amid the fantasy football playoffs.

BOTTOM LINE

Last season in PPR formats, Ty Montgomery was the RB33 yet only played in 36% of the Packers’ offensive snaps. His numbers should reach unprecedented levels this season especially when taken in PPR leagues. This running back amounted 10 catches twice last season and led my team to the fantasy playoffs a season ago. Ty Montgomery currently has an ADP of 3.11 according to Fantasy Football Calculator. With budding opportunity – and plenty of talent – Ty Montgomery will easily be a top 15 running back in PPR leagues and top 20 in standard leagues.

Any comments, questions or concerns? Come talk fantasy football with me and follow me on twitter. @DJFezler_TFR