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Instant Analysis: Willis McGahee agrees with Broncos

Willis McGahee has signed a three year deal with the Denver Broncos for a reported $7.5 million, with $3 million guaranteed.  While this signing may be under the radar in NFL circles, it has some significant ramifications in dynasty leagues.  Let’s take a look at the players who have seen their dynasty values change in the wake of this development in our latest installment of “Instant Analysis.”

Willis McGahee, RB DEN
There was a time long ago when McGahee was considered one of the best running back prospects in decades.  A devastating knee injury in the National Championship game put an end to that.  Still he’s been able to put together a productive NFL career with 6,167 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns for the Bills and Ravens over his seven year career.

McGahee comes off his worst season as a professional that featured just 380 rushing yards on a career worst 3.8 yards per carry.  The yards per carry average isn’t that concerning because of his use in so many short yardage situations, but anyone who has seen McGahee for any length of time knows he’s taken some serious shots to that 29 year old body of his.

His new lease on life comes in the form of the Denver Broncos.  McGahee badly needed to get out of the shadow of Ray Rice and move on to greener pastures.  He’ll still be playing second fiddle to another running back in the form of Knowshon Moreno, but you can figure he has a much better chance of significant playing time behind Moreno than Rice.

McGahee is an aging back, but one that finds himself in a much better situation in Denver than he had in Baltimore.  While he’s certainly going to be a complement to Moreno, it’s not unfair to expect him to get a handful of touchdowns and 500 or so rushing yards.  If Moreno continues to underwhelm, all bets are off, though.

Knowshon Moreno, RB DEN
This signing is a best case scenario for Moreno.  His story has been one of the hottest in all of fantasy all offseason as Denver beat writers speculated the Broncos were giving up on him.  With the signing of McGahee instead of DeAngelo Williams or Ahmad Bradshaw, it’s clear they haven’t.

Moreno still has a long way to go to gain the confidence of John Fox and the coaching staff, but at least he’ll have the opportunity to do that.  There’s no questioning his talent, but his inconsistency has been maddening.  Perhaps having a legitimate back breathing down his neck will give him the motivation to work hard – something that has been questioned for the past two seasons.

Moreno can be taken as a low-end RB2, but he’s more likely to produce RB3 numbers this season if the past is any indication.  Regardless, this is a big day for Moreno owners – he’s seen his value solidified.

Jeremiah Johnson and Mario Fannin, RBs DEN
Johnson and Fannin are going to find playing time a little bit tougher now with McGahee in town.  There may be room on the roster for one of them, but both have the talent to play in this league.  The third running back job in Denver should be monitored closely as one of these two could emerge later in the season if an injury occurs or if Moreno should fail to capitalize on his opportunity.

Ray Rice, RB BAL
McGahee has been a thorn in the sides of Rice owners the past two seasons as he’s vulture 17 rushing touchdowns.  Imagine how valuable Rice would be if he had even half of those.  We may just see that this season.  Rice is a legitimate RB1 and top five dynasty selection in any format.

Jalen Parmele, RB BAL
Parmele should be rostered in all leagues as a valuable handcuff to Rice owners.  With McGahee out of the mix, Parmele is the best bet for significant carries should Rice miss time.

LeRon McClain, RB FA
McGahee’s departure may make re-signing McClain more of an option for Baltimore.  Rice owners should hope they don’t, as McClain has the ability to be a goal line vulture as well.

Ken Kelly
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