One of the other major free agent dominoes fell today as Knowshon Moreno signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. The signing isn’t a huge surprise as Moreno visited with Miami last week and the Dolphins seemed to be the only team outside of Denver who showed interest in the former first round pick. The signing is unique as it’s likely going to have a much bigger impact in fantasy than it will in reality. With Moreno leaving Denver for Miami, the value of several players is impacted. Let’s scour the rosters to see just what kind of changes are coming for dynasty enthusiasts.
Knowshon Moreno, RB MIA
Moreno has been a lightning rod of controversy during his five-year career in the NFL. He’s gone from a highly regarded rookie prospect in 2009, to a complete and total bust soon thereafter, then back up to a surprisingly legitimate fantasy threat last season. The question will obviously be what he can do with a quarterback not named Peyton Manning. One thing is nearly certain – there’s virtually no way he matches his 1,038 rushing yards, 60 catches, 548 receiving yards and 13 total touchdowns he posted in Denver last year.
In Miami, Moreno will be faced with an offensive line being rebuilt and an offense nowhere near as explosive as Denver’s. He’s also going to contend with the likes of Lamar Miller and possibly a future draft choice for playing time. Since he’s only on a fairly cheap one-year deal, the Dolphins won’t be married to him. That being said, it would be a surprise not to see Moreno as Miami’s starter on opening day. The only question is going to be how much of the load he has to share.
Moreno’s dynasty value was obviously highest in Denver, but he could maintain RB3/flex status in Miami if all things go to script. Just be mindful he’s only on a one-year deal and the Dolphins were ranked just 26th in rushing last season. The fact he couldn’t land anything better goes to show what teams around the league think about him and his ability. In short, he’s really not that special and pretty much just gets what’s blocked.
Lamar Miller, RB MIA
If there’s a clear loser in this deal, it’s more likely Daniel Thomas than it is Miller. After being billed as a major sleeper heading into last season, Miller was a colossal disappointment as he recorded just 709 yards on 177 carries and caught 26 passes for 170 more yards. Add in two total touchdowns and dynasty owners were scorched. The signing of Moreno isn’t good by any means, but those thinking Miller was going to be a bellcow this year were disillusioned anyway. The Dolphins were going to bring in another back one way or another. Miller is going to be part of a committee and still hold some value, especially when you consider Moreno hasn’t always been the healthiest of all running backs. Things would have likely been worse for Miller had the Dolphins used a high draft pick on someone they viewed as a three down player like Carlos Hyde.
In short, it’s time for dynasty owners to accept the fact Miller is not going to be a dynamic game breaking RB1 in reality or fantasy. Let’s just hope he can improve and put himself in position for a greater role after Moreno possibly leaves town next year. It’s certainly not the scenario his owners were hoping for at this time last season, but it’s the harsh reality in dynasty leagues.
Daniel Thomas, RB MIA
The signing of Moreno puts the roster spot of Thomas in question. In short, calling Thomas average thus far in his career is an insult to the word average. He’s only posted a total of 1,312 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in his three seasons in South Beach, on his way to a pedestrian 3.6 yards per carry and some “highlights” just plain painful to watch. With Moreno in town, there just aren’t many leagues where I can see a roster spot being used on Thomas. If and when he’s let go, it’s hard to see him being the most talented back in the free agent market and he’s quite possibly going to have a hard time latching on with another team quickly.
Montee Ball, RB DEN
There’s no doubt the winner in this deal is Montee Ball, as he now stands to be the RB1 on a Denver team that boasted the greatest offense in the history of the sport last year. Ball had an up and down season as rookie that could classify as a disappointment since many dynasty owners assumed he’d beat out Moreno in camp and be the starter in week one. Instead, John Fox’s tendency to hesitate in leaning on rookies, combined with Ball’s slow pass protection improvement and fumbling issues limited his upside. That being said, the Broncos now look to be “all in” on the former Badger.
When Ball played last year, he produced. On the year, he had 559 rushing yards on just 120 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and scored four touchdowns. Ball will be classified as a “sleeper” or “breakout candidate” on virtually every site out there going into the season as he’ll have a legitimate chance to post RB1 numbers next season. The question to me isn’t what he’ll be able to do next year with Manning, it’s going to be what he can do in the years after Manning is gone.
CJ Anderson, RB DEN
We’ve covered Anderson quite a bit in the past (and will more in the future), but his dynasty needle is squarely pointing up. While many owners may rush to the wire to pick up Ronnie Hillman, it was Anderson (not Hillman) who was higher on the depth chart at the end of last season. Anderson has sneaky talent and should be owned in most every dynasty league. Let’s just leave it at that for the moment.
Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN
Speaking of fumbles, Hillman just about coughed his way out of Denver last year. We’ve never been high on him and that won’t change with Moreno out of the way. That being said, he has moved up the depth chart one notch and needs to be monitored during the preseason as we’ll have a good idea as to how much the Broncos really want to rely on him. My guess is they bring in another back via the draft or free agency to challenge him for a roster spot.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK