One of the hottest names in fantasy football this offseason has been Ty Montgomery of the Green Bay Packers. He’s a very polarizing player who made a position switch during the 2016 season going from wide receiver to running back.
Using MyFantasyLeague Average Draft Position data (redrafts and PPR scoring systems), Ty Montgomery is being drafted as the running back 18 with an ADP around pick 46.41. For those in Dynasty and Keeper leagues (PPR) Montgomery is being drafted as the RB18 around pick 32. Currently, fantasy football fans are valuing Montgomery as an RB2 in drafts. Montgomery is sandwiched between Lamar Miller, Isaiah Crowell, Kareem Hunt, and DeMarco Murray. Montgomery has been climbing each week in drafts, and his value has been slowly disappearing. Fantasy players can hear that hype train whistle blowing.
Ty Montgomery is a 6-0 220-pound physical specimen at the running back position. He is not the slim pass catching third down satellite back that has been improperly labeled. Montgomery is reported to have packed on more muscle this year, being described as looking “rocked up” and his OL David Bakhtiari stated he has “muscles on muscles.” Ty Montgomery was drafted in the third round with the 30th pick showing that the Packers were confident in his ability as a playmaker.
Montgomery posted a 4.55 40 Yard Dash (58th-percentile) with a decent 1.59 10-Yard Split (46th-percentile). The 10-yard split looks at how quick a player is in their initial burst (David Johnson posted a 1.58s & LeVeon Bell a 1.55s). It’s not a measurement with a clear cut path to success, but it shows that Montgomery has the speed needed to play the spot. You want an RB with good initial burst to get to and through the hole at the line of scrimmage. Montgomery has explosive power in his legs; think power to run over defenders, with a 40 ½-inch Vertical Jump (95th-percentile) and a 121-inch (69th-percentile) Broad Jump. Using PlayerProfiler metric Burst Score (measures vertical and broad jump to measure explosiveness) he posted a 129.4 (91ST-percentile) score. Montgomery has more than enough lower body strength to carry the ball through and over defenders. He posted a solid 11.18 (69th-percentile) Agility Score. All of his measurements point to him being a solid athlete at the position with the physical attributes to be a high profile player.
It was not until late into the 2016 season that Montgomery started getting work as the Packers running back after injuries to nearly their entire depth chart at one point led to Christine Michael taking snaps. During his time at Stanford, Montgomery produced 39 carries for 334 rushing yards. As a Packer, only one game did he carry the ball more than 10 times. After his 16 carry game, only Aaron Rodgers saw more carries with his 10 carry performance against Detroit to close out the year. Ty Montgomery would finish the season with 77 carries for 457 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns with 44 receptions and 348 receiving yards. Montgomery is an ascending talent at the RB position. Even after his switch to RB, Montgomery remained a part of the passing game and only experienced a loss of 1.19 targets per game.
Utilizing PlayerProfilers advanced metrics, we can get a look at how Montgomery fared and get insight even on such a small sample size. Montgomery posted a +21.8 Production Premium (13th-overall), a positive value indicates that Montgomery is more efficient than the average full-time player. Montgomery posted a huge 34.7 % (3rd running back-OVERALL) Juke Rate; this metric isolates a running back’s on field elusiveness and tackle breaking power.
With so many injuries at the running back position last season the Packers gave up on the run and only averaged 22.8 Rush Attempts Per Game and posted a nearly bottom of the league 35.32% Run Play Percentage ranking 31ST in Run-Pass ratio in 2016. This shows just how much the Packers abandoned the run game and relied heavily on the arm of Aaron Rodgers. Prior to this season, the Packers were ranked 11th, 10th, and 15th in Run Play Ratio amongst the NFL. Look for a return to a more balanced offense in 2017 for the Green Bay Packers and more carries available for the running back.
A lot of people will argue that the Packers drafted three different running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft with the intent of replacing Montgomery. Well, they also resigned Christine Michael in March and quickly cut him after the draft. The Packers were simply looking for depth and protection like any competent NFL front office.
Jamal Williams from BYU was taken in the NFL with 28th pick in round 4, Aaron Jones from UTEP was next taken in round 5 at pick 184, and finished with Devante Mays from Utah State in round 7 the 238th player taken. Jamaal Williams posted a 95.5 (9th-percentile) SPARQ-x score. He projects as nothing more than a bruiser and between the tackles thumper. Very low scores in his agility drills and explosive combine events lead me to believe he has limited upside.
Small school Aaron Jones is likely the shifty 3RD down pass catching back. Coming out of UTEP at 5-9 208 pounds, he is solid and posted good numbers at the combine. Of the three backs, he posted the best college numbers with a 47 % (95th-percentile) College Dominator and a College Target Share of 13.9 % (90th-percentile). If I were to chase a Packers rookie RB, I would target Jones.
Finally, that brings us to Devante Mays who has a more traditional running back build at 5-11 230 pounds and posted a solid 118.6 (69th-percentile) SPARQ-x score. None of these players are huge threats to Montgomery who has the NFL experience and pedigree to hold this job.
In dynasty leagues, we should keep an eye on Montgomery who has been diagnosed with sickle cell trait. This same issue has kept John Brown out of the Cardinals lineup with multiple injuries and issues. Players with sickle cell trait are more likely to experience muscle breakdown related injuries. If monitored properly he can keep himself on the field.
On your draft day don’t listen to all the hype surrounding the three drafted running backs and small sample size. Remember that juke rate I mentioned? Well, Ty Montgomery has had an offseason of work at a position he stated he was simply “acting on instincts” in 2016. Look for Montgomery to contribute in the ground game and as a pass catcher. Ty Montgomery is the high upside running back with an ADP that fits perfectly for Zero RB drafts. Look for Montgomery to finish the season in the top six at his position and draft him with that championship upside.