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You don’t Know-‘Shon – Assessing Knowshon Moreno

 

In fantasy terms, this has been a bad year for me. Two of the three teams I own are doing well, but the other is a much different story. If you’re like me, your success is based on the team in your favorite league, and that team made a mistake which I’ll never live down – trading Doug Martin for Ryan Mathews. Martin had finished a week scoring only three points, and Mathews was the buy-low of the season. As we know, Martin has risen to an elite-level dynasty talent while Mathews has come down with a horrible touchdown allergy.  I’ve sent out a search party to find an RB2 ever since.

This brings us to the final week of November; Willis McGahee is placed on IR and people rush to add the pick-up of the week, Ronnie Hillman. Many concluded that Hillman was next in-line for the starting job in Denver’s backfield. This all changed about an hour before Sunday kickoff (or you if you read our waiver advice earlier in the week) when reports surfaced that Knowshon Moreno rather than Hillman, would get the opportunity.

Anytime a team takes a running back in the first round, he’s expected to be an impact player. When he gets taken 12th, he’s expected to dominate – that’s where Moreno was drafted back in 2009. In fact, only two running backs have been taken higher than Moreno since that year – CJ Spiller and Trent Richardson. Since then, Moreno has never shown the athleticism that got him selected that highly.

His first two seasons in Denver were spectacularly average, running for barely over four yards per carry in two seasons. Once John Fox was named Head Coach heading into 2011, some thought it would project Moreno into a legit RB1. That never happened. It’s a safe bet to assume that Fox looked at Moreno and saw a player not without talent, but lacking commitment. At no point was this more evident than during this past off-season. While recovering from a torn ACL in week ten last year, Moreno was arrested for a DUI after police found his Bentley convertible with a license plate reading “SAUCED.” If that’s not bad enough, the Broncos have to get a full-body shiver when they look at the running backs that were selected after him in 2009:

Beanie Wells, 31st, Arizona

LeSean McCoy, 53rd, Philadelphia

Shonn Greene, 65th, New York Jets

Arian Foster, undrafted, Houston Texans

When a player messes up off the field, bringing his commitment into question, that’s when the team makes other plans. I was all but convinced that Moreno was closer to making a quiet exit from Denver and the NFL when they selected Hillman last April, but something happened; the light bulb went on inside Moreno’s head. After shutting his mouth, putting the work in, and being patient enough to wait for an opportunity to present itself, Moreno got his chance in Week 12 and took advantage, tallying 85 yards on 20 carries.

I decided to take a flyer on Moreno before that game, and have been reaping the benefits ever since, culminating in a 167-yard Week 14 performance in Oakland. As a former first-round pick, many figured he was embarking on a respectable opportunity, but few thought he would instantaneously receive an elite workload. In fact, no running back has received more carries than Moreno over the past three weeks:

# NAME TEAM POS CARRIES

1

Knowshon Moreno

DEN

RB

72

2

Adrian Peterson

MIN

RB

70

3

Alfred Morris

WSH

RB

69

4

Jamaal Charles

KC

RB

68

5

Doug Martin

TB

RB

67

If you remember the work of Edgerrin James or Joseph Addai in Indianapolis, you may recall being a running back for Peyton Manning is like driving a Ferrari on an empty Autobahn; endless opportunity, and room to work with. Moreno’s Week 14 performance made him a dependable RB2 option, as he lined up in the backfield on 64 of Denver’s 87 offensive plays. He hasn’t looked great, but on 36 touches, even a bad night can give you big numbers.

Going forward, pay attention to his final three games, and the off-season reports. He still needs to make a lasting impression, as his dynasty value is contingent on him returning as Denver’s starting tailback next season. Chances are he won’t be when McGahee returns, but if he gets the gig, it probably won’t hurt you to sell-high on him anyway. Moreno still lacks the elite skills of a franchise dynasty back. These last three games serve as his audition, so watch closely. At worst, he’s a solid RB2 option in your playoff weeks. Moreno’s talent level isn’t anything close to elite, but he doesn’t have to be as long as his workload stays the course. That’s more than enough to help you win-now.

What are your thoughts on the emergence of Knowshon Moreno? 

Follow Dan Hasty on Twitter @DanHasty34

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Scott
9 years ago

As somebody who drafted him 1.2 and cut bait a long time ago I’m past the point of holding a grudge and am happy for him. At the same time while I like the stats he’s accumulating I don’t see the talent and ability anymore that made me pick him 1.2… I wouldn’t mind having him on my team next year but only as a backup.

9 years ago

this maybe one of the most informative and interesting article i’ve read in sometime. i also read that next year the 32 year old mcgahee will get 2.5 mill. where as moreno will be at 1.7 and 27 years old? the math works. manning has only a limmited time left with denver at this talent level staying intact. fox also said recently that he is pleased with the way moreno has matured and handled himself thru all this process. did some of this advice, and info come to him and moreno from manning? i think so. manning wants vets surounding him and he can make them better and play at a mature level. joeseph addai and edgerian james where far better rbs with manning. moreno’s strength’s are recieving and pass protection. my guess is he is the starter next year in denver. i picked him up the week before he was named starter because i had this hunch when i heard manning say that this could be a time for a vet like moreno to come thru. manning knew already that moreno was the starter before fox made the announcement right before the gametime. some of the bigtime “experts” did’nt catch that and said it was a surprise when it happened. i was’nt surprised at all when i heard it from manning himself. so i believe manning will put his 2 cents worth in for moreno and it will be gold to fox and elway for their decision making this offseason. watching the next few games is wise advice. i’ve already made up my mind. i’m keeping him on the cheap and should have a fair #2 rb based on his current stats. he will be better in this offense next season also. nice writing Dan…great work

Scott
9 years ago

I commented before yesterdays game that I hadn’t seen the talent and ability of Knowshon from years ago… after watching the game, or parts on red zone channel, I gotta say I’m a little more impressed today then I was yesterday… he was looking good along with putting up the good numbers

sixshooter
9 years ago

This guy has gotten a bad rap from day one with all the Bronco fans who had a bad taste in their mouth with him being taken #12 overall by the over-rated Josh McDaniels when the team had more critical needs at other positions and then, not because he didn’t show “athleticism”, etc. but because he had a hard time staying healthy and when he was healthy, had a hard time hanging on to the ball!

His name was chosen part by his father’s nickname “Knowledge” and his mother’s name “Varashon”.

There is a reason why he was a first round draft pick and it’s not because he wasn’t athletic! There is a reason why he hasn’t had the chance to prove himself and it’s not because he wasn’t athletic! It was because he couldn’t stay healthy, couldn’t hang on to the ball and didn’t have a coach who could help him advance to the Pro’s! It seems he has all that today so who know’s what can happen from here!!!

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