After four relatively successful seasons with the Bears, David Montgomery was expected to find a new home rather quickly in free agency. In the end, he did just that by signing with the Detroit Lions and getting a a three-year deal worth $18 million, with $11 million of that guaranteed. Yes, that’s $11 million in guaranteed money, which says something about how the Lions viewed him in the market. The surprise signing of Montgomery in the Motor City has sent some serious shockwaves throughout the dynasty community and his move from Chicago to Detroit has a major impact on some player values moving forward.
Let’s take a look at some of the players involved.
David Montgomery, RB DET
The Lions have said all off-season they were uncomfortable making the explosive D’Andre Swift a true bell cow ball running back and this proves they weren’t messing around. The move also indicates Jamaal Williams will be finding a new home as well. As we stated above, Montgomery has been relatively successful in his time with the Bears, rushing for 3,609 yards, catching 155 passes, posting 1,240 receiving yards and scoring 30 touchdowns in 60 career games. He’s far from explosive, but he gets what’s blocked and is a solid early down and goal line runner, very similar to Williams. The Lions are an intriguing new location for him. Considering Williams had 17 rushing touchdowns, it’s fair to say Montgomery should be able to hold on to his RB25 ranking or even see it rise a touch. That rushing total is likely unsustainable for Montgomery to match, but this is about as good a landing spot as one could have hoped for in terms of Montgomery’s ADP and value. He should form a pretty solid 1-2 RBBC punch with Swift that could prove to be very effective in the NFL and extremely frustrating in dynasty leagues.
D’Andre Swift, RB DET
The collective groan you heard across the dynasty landscape last night likely came from the D’Andre Swift truthers who again have to come to grips with the fact he is just simply not going to emerge as a three-down back with the Lions. There had been quotes and speculation all off-season pointing to this, but now we see it’s certainly not meant to be. Swift has certainly been good over his three years with the Lions, posting 1,680 rushing yards, 156 catches, just under 1,200 receiving yards, and scoring 25 touchdowns. The problem with Swift has really just been a lack of touches. Last year was especially frustrating as he had fewer than 100 carries and 50 catches in his 14 games played. The Lions want to keep him healthy and feel the best way to do that is to simply limit his workload and put him in position to make a few explosive plays each week. With Montgomery now in the fold, his numbers for 2023 are likely going to be similar to this past season. While there is still a ton of value in having Swift, he’s just not a top ten dynasty asset and likely needs to move on from Detroit in the near future to really flourish. His ADP has dropped all the way down to around 40 and that plunge is likely going to continue with Montgomery in town.
Jamaal Williams, RB DET
It’s a foregone conclusion Williams will be playing elsewhere next year. After leading the league with 17 rushing touchdowns (four more than Austin Ekeler), it’s going to be next to impossible to see Williams put up statistics like he did last season. It’s possible someone views him as a viable three-down starter, but that’s just total speculation at this point. Chances are he ends up being an early down and goal line back, paired with a more explosive pass catching option. We’ll wait and see, but the fact Montgomery is taking his place in Detroit isn’t exactly the best of news for his value.
Craig Reynolds, RB DET
Reynolds has always been a popular sleeper in these parts, but the signing on Montgomery is going to make it very hard to keep him on rosters. In addition, don’t expect Justin Jackson to return the team, either.
Khalil Herbert, RB CHI
If there’s a winner at the moment, it’s clearly Kahlil Herbert of the Bears. Herbert was simply awesome last season with 731 rushing yards (on 5.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns in 13 games. The Bears added Travis Homer to be their pass catching back and that currently leaves Herbert as the de facto starter. With an improving Justin Fields and now DJ Moore to keep defenses honest, Herbert could be in line for a huge jump in value. While he offers very little in the passing game, he’d be a solid RB2 at worst if he soaks up the carries left by Montgomery. Simply put, he was better than Montgomery was last year anyway and this team is going to run the football, just as they always have.
There is imminent danger in jumping into trades for Herbert right now as there is still a long way to go in free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft will also bring us a bevy of running backs to steal touches from veterans as well. Still, this has the makings of a huge development for Herbert at the moment. Dynasty managers who have him will be biting their fingernails and hoping this pans out for the better part of the next month and a half.