by Jesse Jones (@majesstik1)
So far in Best Ball, I've been a buyer of Ty Montgomery shares. I initially laid off, but after reading some positive stories, and seeing his joystick level elusiveness again, I jumped on board - willing to spend a 3rd or 4th rounder on him. Before I get myself over-invested, I wanted to do some of my own analysis and see where it lead.
One of the first things I did this offseason was to chart offensive coordinators and the fantasy results their offensive skill players have produced. McCarthy led rushing attacks have only reached the Top 5 in rushing TDs twice andTop 10 three times during his 17 year career as an OC/HC. For rushing yards, McCarthy runners have never reached top 5 status, and twice have reached top 10. From a fantasy perspective, Lacy 6th in 2013 and 4th in 2014 account for the majority of McCarthy's RB success through the years, and are noted in the chart below as the top 5 and 10 positional ratings in the last 3 years. Prior to and after Lacy, McCarthy has had a pass first philosophy. Last year, the Pack got really far out of balance in their ratios and only ran the ball 374 times after posting 436 and 415 the two previous seasons. So, while I expect more balance this year, what does that mean for Montgomery?
Aaron Rodgers was the Packers leader in rushing TDs last year with four, and as a whole the team only combined for 11 total rushing TDs. Prior to that, the individual rushing TD leaders of note were Lacy with three in 2015, nine in 2014, eleven in 2013, and then there was Ryan Grant who scored eleven in 2009. In 4 of the 11 years in GB, there have been two individuals that have produced double digit TDs in the McCarthy system, the other 7 years shows a lot of John Kuhn and Aaron Ripowski types vulturing goal line work from the lead back. If the Pack distribute goal to go type carries similar to last year, that means the TDs will likely be spread amongst Montgomery, Rodgers, 4th round pick Jamaal Williams and fullback Aaron Ripowski - and Cobb could also snipe one.
Without a large number of TDs to help boost points, what type of value can we expect to get out of Montgomery? He's going to need volume, so not only will McCarthy have to get his ratios back into the 400s for running plays, but Montgomery is going to need to get a majority of the market share. Let's take a peek at RB market shares over the last 5 years in GB. In 2016 Montgomery led the team with a whopping 77 carries which translated into a 21.7% Market Share (MS). In 2015 Lacy led the team with 187 carries, a 44.7% MS. Lacy also led in 2014 with 246 carries, a 56.6% MS - and again led in 2013 with 284 carries and a 66.2% MS. The 2012 season was littered with injuries, and 6 backs carried the ball more than 20 times - so let's just throw that season out and focus on the last 4 years. Recent history shows when McCarthy has a guy he can rely on, he'll feed him. But will that carry over with Montgomery? I already feel we're losing touches with him near the goal line, so if we project him at the highest MS in the last 4 years, we're looking at close to 66%, which is within the range of possible outcomes this season for him. In the 3 year ratio chart below, there is my projected ratio to the right, which shows GB running the ball 415 times. Using a 66% MS, that's 274 carries for Montgomery; however I'm not sure he'll end up seeing that many based on what we saw from him last year. Remember, this is a guy who became the starting RB last year in week 6, after Lacy went down for the year and for the entire season only reached double digit carries once - so I'm taking that into consideration and not trying to bust too far above his established, albeit limited ceiling.
When I really start to look at where I think those 415 carries go, I think there's a good chance we see a RBBC of Montgomery, Williams, and Jones. We also have to factor in Rodgers and his scrambling ability, so it's very possible that no one back will get too far above 200 carries. In the lower range of outcomes, I can see Montgomery's floor at around 193 carries, which is a 12.1 carries per game average. Seems fair given his usage last year. In this scenario, Montgomery's 189.9 total points equals 11.9 per game if he plays all 16, which would be good enough for RB21 status and 99th overallincluding QBs, and 72nd without QBs. A rank of 72 divided by twelve puts his ADP squarely as the first pick in the 7th round.
Now, let's look at this again from the higher range of possible outcomes for Montgomery, and let's say he gets that 60% market share and 249 carries. Multiply that by a generous 4.7 yards per carry (which is actually the lesser of his 2 seasons in the NFL), and we have 1170 rushing yards. If we bump his TD totals up to 4 rushing and 2 receiving, and, let's add another 10 targets going his way at an 82% catch rate, we'd be looking at a final total of 242.6 points (15.2/g) which places him at RB11 and 26th overall among non-quarterbacks in my projections, good for a 3.2 ADP.
So where does the most probable range of outcomes lie? Well, there's a couple other things we need to consider here. Green Bay lost two very good interior lineman in T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter, which brings theiraverage run blocking grade down to 64.0 based on ProFootbalFocus.com grades, and that already 19th ranked 3.79 adjusted line yards from FootballOutsiders.com is likely to come down as well. Green Bay could conceivably abandon the run at times during games and pull that 415 projected carries back under 400 again like last season.
If we split the difference between the floor and ceiling range of outcomes presented here, we're looking at 216.3 total points, and a 51st place projection among non-QBs. That gives us an ADP of 5.4, which is 6 spots later than his current myfantasyleague.com ADP of 4.10. So, while I was sort of guessing at his 3rd-4th round value before, I'm now feeling ok with going as high as a 4th or as low as a 6th, depending on draft flow, to acquire my Montgomery shares in best ball leagues. In fact, as I type this, I just checked and saw I "pre-draft" selected him at 4.09 of a MFL2x. For re-draft, I think I prefer to get him in the back half of that 4th-6th bracket, since GB doesn't have a particularly friendly RB strength of schedule this year. It will also be interesting to see how the 3 rookies shape up as the preseason gets started. If one of them shows they are the superior second option to Montgomery, they could be worth a 13th or 14th round pick in best ball, where they could be one hit away from a 66% market share.