Do you own Ronnie Hillman, Monte Ball or Knowshon Moreno? If so, below you will find everything you need to know about the Broncos running game. Before we dive into the depth chart in Denver, let’s take a look at each player:
2013 NFL Fantasy Football - Denver Broncos' Running Back Depth Chart
Knowshon Moreno: Moreno is entering his 5th season in the NFL. Moreno has never really flourished as a feature back since being taken 12th overall in the 2009 draft. In his rookie season he led the team in rushes with 247. He racked up 947 yards and 7 TD’s. Promising as rookie! 2010 was a bit off for Moreno carrying the ball much less, only 182 rushes but emerged as a threat out of the backfield and he finished third on the team in receptions. It should be noted that Tim Tebow was his QB at the time. In 2011 Willis McGahee was brought in to handle the load and Moreno’s role diminished and he saw career lows in everything as he battled injuries too. 2012 was an injury plagued season for the speedy back who saw limited action in only 8 games, while increased emphasis was placed on new rejuvenated QB Peyton Manning.
Ronnie Hillman: Hillman is entering his 2nd season in the NFL. A scat back from San Diego State, Hillman was a third round pick and as a rookie made little impact on a Bronco team that still had Moreno and McGahee. He racked up 330 yards on 85 carries, third best on the team. Heading into the 2013 season it was thought that Hillman would be #1 on the depth chart.
Monte Ball: Heading into the 2013 draft, and Peyton Manning's second season as QB, it was predicted that offense would be addressed early in the draft for the Broncos. With only 11 offensive players taken, 8 of which were offensive lineman, with the 28th pick in the first round of the NFL draft the Denver Broncos took Sylvester Williams, DT, Clemson. With the likes of some of the skill position players available, one would have thought the Broncos would pull the trigger on their offensive player of choice. That may have happened nonetheless, actually. Toward the end of the second round, where the Broncos would choose again, two running backs were chosen, Giovani Bernard and LeVeon Bell. However when it came time for the Broncos to select they had their choice between two talented NFL ready running backs in Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball. The Broncos made Ball their man with the 26th pick in the second round. Ball should have been an easy choice as he played in good system in college and had a solid 4 years of college experience under his belt. Lacy was stuck behind former first round draft picks Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and had only 1 year of a full workload at running back.
Who do you want on your fantasy football team?
Now that you have been introduced to the running backs on the team, who is going to help you score fantasy points? The answer, unfortunately, is likely all three. At this point we can throw the depth chart out the window. Hillman was listed as the starter but we saw him only take 4 handoffs from Manning. Hillman had the most yards per carry (YPC), while Moreno, third on the depth chart, had the most carries. To make things more interesting, Ball had the day’s longest rush, 9 yards. The Colts ran 21 designed running plays in week 1, however the Broncos averaged more than 30 rushing plays last season. You never want your starting RB to split 30 rushes with two other RB, but it could very well be that way all season.
Knowshon’s only value is in PPR leagues because of his speed and pass catching ability. Ball and Hillman will likely get the bulk of rushing plays which should be monitored closely and will be tracked in the RotoBaller Running Back Depth Chart.
We fully expect the team to maintain a running game as Peyton has always committed to the run game. Peyton is not scared to run the draw play on third and 10. Hillman is fast and was tied for the second fastest 40 yard dash at the 2012 NFL combine, but Ball is very quick and a bruiser. It might take a few weeks, but our prediction is that Ball will end up being the “feature” back in Denver. Hillman will play scrap time and Moreno will play on passing downs. At this time though all three should be owned, and probably none should be started.
Don’t forget to check back at RotoBaller.com this weekend for any last minute fantasy football analysis & updates, Monday night matchups, and our suicide pool pick of the week. Good luck with your decisions in Week Two!