Busting Common Myths Vol. 2: Ty Montgomery Can't Handle a Bell Cow Workload
One of my fondest childhood memories is watching the show MythBusters. On it, 5 expert scientists come together to test common myths such as the spinning bullet myth, the myth that falling on water from a significant height hurts worse than falling on concrete from the same height, and many others for truth.
In the spirit of this show, I am starting a series of pieces testing common fantasy football beliefs for accuracy. Remember, in this series, we don't just tell the myths, we put them to the test!
First from under the pile is a myth that uses a stereotype to define a play style. There is a myth that Ty Montgomery can't handle a bell cow workload. Well what better place to test it than the fantasy football laboratory: FantasySP.com?
Part 1: Size
One justification people have for the claim that Ty Montgomery can't handle a bell cow workload is that he is too small. This premonition comes because he is a converted wide receiver.
However, Montgomery is actually 6'0" and 216 lbs, which is comparable to the average size for a running back, which is 5'11" and about 214 lbs. He was a very large receiver when he played the position, weighing more than 15 lbs more than average, which is about 200 lbs. Similarly, in his draft profile, Lance Zierlein says that his "body type resembles that of a running back".
A related point is that some people believe that Ty Montgomery will be unused to running up the gut and thus will be scared to do so. However, Montgomery proved these people wrong last week, when the vast majority (90%+) of his carries were between the tackles.
Part 2: Lack of Confidence by Coaching Staff
Some people seem to think that Ty Montgomery does not have the confidence of the coaching staff since they drafted 3 RBs this past offseason. However, as the season has gotten under way, it has become more and more evident through usage and coach speak that Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, and DeVante Mays were drafted just as depth. I mean, last year they had to resort to a WR playing RB! They don't want that to happen again.
We saw this specifically when coach Mike McCarthy said in response to a question about Montgomery's progress in his position switch: "Ty Montgomery is our starting running back. His development is over. It's time to go win games." His Week 1 usage of 19 carries (his career high) and 4 targets showed that McCarthy truly believes in Ty Montgomery.
Let me show you a chart of snap percentages for starting RBs in Week 1:
As you can see, Montgomery played an incredible 90% of the Packers' snaps in Week 1. This ridiculous number was easily best in the league over big names such as Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, and Melvin Gordon. By this measure, it is obvious that the Packers' coaching staff firmly believe that Montgomery is the best running back on their roster.
Part 3: Receiving Prowess
I haven't even touched on Montgomery's multi-purpose potential yet. Since he is a converted WR, it's easy for Green Bay to audible out of a formation by splitting him out wide, putting him in the slot, or any other similar scenario.
He also does a very good job of providing a security blanket for Aaron Rodgers. There were multiple times during Sunday's game where Rodgers would get stuck running around in the backfield because no one was open, then suddenly check down to TyMont for 10 yards.
Especially in PPR leagues, that Aaron looks for him raises his relative value quite a bit. Even in standard leagues, it raises his yardage floor. The yardage floor of a back is important because yardage is much more consistent from game to game than touchdowns.
Part 4: Past Success
Even though he only moved to RB about halfway through the season last year, Ty Montgomery still managed to be Pro Football Focus' Most Elusive Running Back. According to PFF, "Elusive rating is a PFF Signature Stat created to help determine a running back's success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers."
Montgomery's success independent of his blockers can also be seen by his 4.6 yards after contact per carry. This production easily led the league, beating out the next qualifying running back by an entire yard. He, possibly even more impressively, also averaged a broken tackle every 4.6 carries, the third best rate in the NFL.
In Week 1 of this season, Ty Montgomery had 19 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown and 4 receptions on 4 targets for 39 yards. While his YPC didn't look great at 2.8, it is important to consider that he faced perhaps the best front 7 in the league in the Seahawks. He was also given all of the goal-line work. Montgomery was the only Packers player to register a red zone carry.
TyMont's 19 carries are especially important because of his efficiency. When Montgomery receives 9 or more carries in a game, he averages 14.96 standard fantasy points per game. When he receives 8 or fewer, he only averages 4.33. Knowing that Mike McCarthy plans to get him this involved is very reassuring from a consistency standpoint.
Overall, we have found that Ty Montgomery has the size, confidence of the coaching staff, receiving prowess, and proven volume and success to hold water as a bell cow running back in the NFL.
Therefore, I declare the myth that Ty Montgomery can't handle a bell cow workload� BUSTED!