Fantasy football is a lot like life. No, really. Bare with me here. We all have jobs to do right? Maybe you fight fires or you save lives in an ER. With these jobs there’s more than meets the eye. In order to fight fires you need to be strong and make decisions quickly. If you’re in an ER saving lives you need to be pretty darn smart and quick minded. It’s the same if your job is to run a football 20 or so times a game. You also have to be strong and quick minded. If you happen to be a running back working for the Denver Broncos you also need to pass block.
Last season Montee Ball was drafted by Denver in the second round out of Wisconsin where he carried the ball 924 times averaging 5.6 yards a carry and scoring 77 touchdowns. The hype train was rolling during the pre-season last year. Ball was averaging as a third round pick on many sites. Knowshon Moreno, the supposed back-up wasn’t being drafted until the later rounds if at all. Well, we all know what happened. Moreno was the starter in week one and Ball was the back-up getting playing time here and there.
Because Moreno knew how to pass block. He knew how to keep Peyton Manning on his feet. Ball on the other hand was still learning. He didn’t adapt to the speed of the NFL as efficiently has the Broncos coaching staff desired. Moreno is gone now. He went to Miami in the off-season. More on that here.
In five seasons with the Broncos Moreno rushed the ball more than 200 times only twice. His rookie season of 2009 and last year. He reached 1,000+ yards in only one season, 2013. His longest rush was 31 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns running the ball and three more catching it. He ended up being a top five back in many fantasy leagues. Because he was better at blocking for Manning he stayed in the game and would receive the benefits. More touches meaning more touchdowns.
The Broncos know what they’re doing. They are a passing team. Duh. They need a running back who is, more than anything else a pass blocker. This is why Ball was relegated to a back up role in his rookie season. Ball is taking all the first team reps so far in pre-season. Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson have offered little as competition to Ball’s assumed starting role.
So where should you draft him? So glad you asked.
Currently, according to the guys at fantasyfootballcalculator.com Ball is averaging as the 10th pick in mock drafts. Assuming Ball is getting better at pass blocking and is revered as a better runner than Moreno he should end up with a better season.
I’ve mentioned before I don’t work with absolutes. They don’t exist here. If I were to give this the old eye test I would be very excited to draft the Broncos starting running back.
Eddie Lacey, who currently averages as the sixth pick in mock drafts started 15 games in 2013 rushing for 1,178 yards and 11 scores. One touchdown and 100 yards better than Moreno. Ball was drafted three picks ahead of Lacey in the NFL draft. Again, giving it the ol’ eye test Montee Ball should end up as a top five back in 2014.
Keep scrolling down so you can ask questions, give comment or your concerns.