Fantasy Football Week 8: Time to Handcuff Montee Ball

By Dan Freeman
Montee Ball
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Montee Ball has been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football this season. He was drafted in the middle rounds of countless fantasy leagues by owners who were operating under the assumption that he would quickly take the reins in the Denver Broncos‘ backfield. Much to their dismay, he was severely outplayed by Knowshon Moreno from the get-go and he’s been an afterthought ever since.

Ball has only rushed 43 times for 149 yards this season, good for a nauseating 3.2 YPC. He has no touchdowns and he’s fumbled twice, leading to him being removed completely from the Broncos’ game plan. With all this in mind, it probably seems crazy that I’m advising you to pick him up; you have to remember, however, that fantasy foresight is crucial if you want to stay consistently competitive.

It’s not just about who’s hot and cold at the moment, but also about who you expect to be hot or cold in the future. Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that Ball is somehow going to get back into the game and start lighting it up out of nowhere. If you have a spot on your bench, though, he’s worth stashing right now and I’ll explain why.

The Broncos inexplicably decided to call Ronnie Hillman‘s number near the goal line last week at the most important moment in the game, and the result was a brutal fumble that crushed any chances the team had of a comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

It’s not even worth bothering to try and figure out what the coaching staff could have possibly been thinking, but I digress. The point is that Hillman’s mistake was of the colossally terrible variety and to make matters worse, he had fumbled the week before as well. The Broncos have made it clear they won’t stand for that and it’s been reported that Hillman will be deactivated for Week 8.

With Hillman out of the picture, Ball now becomes the Robin to Moreno’s Batman. Still, Moreno has been outstanding and there’s no reason as to why Ball should get any significant playing time or carries. If Moreno were to go down at some point, however, that would obviously change in a big way. Ball would take over lead back duties in the most high-powered offense in the league.

Right now, Moreno isn’t hurt and there’s no reason to expect that he will be, so Ball still has roughly zero fantasy value. If you have a spot on your bench, though, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pick him up just in case. In the event of an injury to Moreno, he would go from zero to hero overnight. Again, there’s no reason to expect that will happen but if it did, wouldn’t it be nice to own the next guy up?

If you own Moreno, I strongly advise handcuffing Ball to be safe. If you don’t own Moreno, Ball is only worth a speculative add if you have an empty spot on your bench that you truly have nothing to do with.

Dan Freeman is a Fantasy football writer for Follow him on Twitter @DanFreeman88.

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