Lions land RB David Montgomery, spelling the end of Jamaal Williams' stay

Lions land RB David Montgomery, spelling the end of Jamaal Williams' stay

NFL free agents and fantasy football impact

Lions land RB David Montgomery, spelling the end of Jamaal Williams' stay


Free-agent running back David Montgomery agreed to terms on a three-year, $18 million deal with the Detroit Lions that will keep him in the NFC North. The move puts an end to Jamaal Williams‘ stint with the Lions as he’s also a free agent and will not be retained.

Montgomery is versatile enough to chip in on third downs as a receiving outlet when called upon, but he should defer to D’Andre Swift in those situations more often than not. His bread will be buttered on early downs as a grinder who will be run into the dirt if head coach Dan Campbell has his way. His role is clearly defined, modeled after the Sean Payton-era one-two punch in New Orleans between Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Hint: He’s no AK41.

The Lions sport one of the best run-blocking lines in football, and Detroit’s defense is on the rise, which allows them to lean more on the ground game. Quarterback Jared Goff is a competent passer who is at his best when he can rely on convincing play-action passing.

The man Montgomery is replacing scored a team-record and NFL-best 17 touchdowns a season ago. Such a lofty target shouldn’t be in sight this year, though sneaking into the end zone in the neighborhood of a dozen times isn’t out of the question.

Fantasy football outlook

No stranger to sharing touches, Montgomery hasn’t finished worse than 24th among RBs in PPR scoring during his career, including a 19th-place finish in a 13-game 2019 showing. Make no mistake, however, there’s not an ounce of explosiveness in Montgomery’s body. That role belongs to the “lightning” we expect to see from Swift, but there’s added incentive in drafting the former Bear: His backfield mate is remarkably fragile, so there’s a clear opportunity for Monty to become a bell cow for a few extra weeks.

As long as Montgomery remains healthy and plays reasonably close to what we’ve seen through the first four years of his career, fantasy football owners can expect fringe RB2 or strong flex results from the veteran as a floor. He is in a better situation and on a team built stronger for rushing success, and there will be enough utilizations to plod his way into weekly starting lineups.


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