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Fantasy 411 – Week 2


There was a time when I could never have imagined recommending, much less urging, you to make Knowshon Moreno a part of your championship fantasy run.
That time was roughly two weeks ago. The Denver Broncos announced

would be their starter, but few experts were buying it.
Rarely, if ever, does the third running back drafted off a team become the most valuable, barring an injury, but that is exactly what has happened in



What’s changed?


To fully understand the reasons that

is a valuable fantasy running back, you have to look beyond simple box scores and understand the Broncos themselves and their coaching staff. The entire key to the Broncos making a Super Bowl run is for Peyton Manning to remain healthy. If you knew that Brock Osweiler was Manning’s backup, you are a Broncos fan.
If you think the Broncos are making a deep playoff run with Osweiler at quarterback, you are delusional. Manning has to stay upright and healthy, and the Broncos brain trust clearly trusts

more than any other back to protect him. 

After two weeks, the Broncos have run 145 offensive plays and

has been on the field for 81 of them.
Rookie Montee Ball is widely regarded as the more talented back, but he has yet to earn the trust of the coaching staff and has only seen the field on 46 plays.
Ronnie Hillman has become an after thought only seeing action on 17 offensive snaps.


The light went on for

late last season when Willis McGahee was injured and lost for the remainder of the season.
Moreno stepped in carrying the ball at least 20 times in five of the six final games for the Broncos, registering 513 rushing yards while finding the end zone three times.
Building on that success,

appears to have a strong hold on the starting running back job, at least, early in this season.


While it seems like I have been avoiding him for 10 seasons,

is still only 26 years old and head coach John Fox has a well-chronicled liking for trusted veterans.
While in

, Fox once dug up Brian St. Pierre and started him over Jimmy Clausen.
We can argue the merits of that move, but the illustration makes my point loud and clear.
Fox has routinely given preference to veterans, and, as long as

remains marginally effective and continues to protect Manning, he will likely earn the majority of the playing time.


But you aren’t confidently plugging

in on a bye week or as a flex play with hopes of him simply being marginally effective, are you?
In their next six matchups, the Broncos face four defenses that were ranked among the worst at allowing fantasy points to running backs last season.
No one is suggesting that

suddenly morphs into a top tier RB1, but from this week until their bye in Week 9, he has the matchups and role to do very well and build off his solid start.
I predict more 80-plus yard games with a handful of touchdowns mixed in.

Make no mistake, Moreno has never been the picture of durability and health, only having played in all 16 games once, in 2009, his rookie season.
Ball is still the back on the Broncos who has the most raw talent, but the “raw” aspect puts Manning in danger and will keep Ball on the sideline in favor of the steady

for the foreseeable future.


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