It’s a lock.
Quarterback Peyton Manning is going to win the MVP award in the National Football League this season, and quite frankly, it shouldn’t be all that close. I mean, the dude is flirting with the regular season touchdown record and is putting together arguably the greatest season a quarterback has ever produced.
However, from a fantasy perspective, is he even the MVP of his own team?
During the summer, running back Knowshon Moreno was selected with the 125th overall pick in fantasy football leagues. 40 running backs were drafted ahead of him. In ESPN standard scoring leagues, only four running backs have been better from a fantasy perspective. We all thought rookie Montee Ball was the running back to own in Denver, and we were wrong. However, we did know that whoever it was, they would be fantasy relevant, strictly because of the offense. Guys like Joseph Addai would score double-digit rushing touchdowns, and finished as a top-20 fantasy back. He’s been awesomely awesome, and I’m going to make the case for Knowshon Moreno, fantasy MVP.
Put that on his card.
Knowshon in 2013
Moreno has not only just been good because of the offense (which obviously helped), but he’s looked much improved since his rookie year, which I think too many people are overlooking. The fifth-year running back is one of three running backs who have totaled 1,300 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns, joining the likes of Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson. Pretty elite company, no? He’s been especially dominant in PPR leagues, hauling in 53 balls on the season, which is inside the top-ten among running backs. Moreno is averaging almost four catches per game, seeing a healthy 4.5 targets per game. In PPR leagues, he’s actually the number four overall running back, rather than third. Let’s take a look at his game-by-game log, shall we?
So, in PPR leagues, that’s eight top-12 finishes, including five rankings inside the top-five. He’s been an absolute stud, averaging about 17 PPR fantasy points per contest. He’s been an absolute star, enjoying the best season of his young career. Of course, I’m not denying that the high-octane Denver offense has played a major factor. How much, you ask?
The Broncos are averaging the most yards (453.4), points per game (38.2) and total yards (6,348). They are pretty darn good, and because of that, Moreno has seen plenty of opportunity this season. Currently, Denver is seeing a league-leading 4.3 red zone scoring attempts per game, and Moreno has certainly benefited from Denver’s tendency to set themselves up inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. In fact, Moreno has carried the ball 37 times when inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Only Charles, Marshawn Lynch and Matt Forte have carried the ball more in certain situations. When inside the 10-yard line, Moreno has touched the ball a healthy 19 times. Only Charles and Lynch have carried the ball more. And inside the five, he’s seen a solid 12 carries, which is nothing to scoff at either. This opportunity has resulted in 10 rushing scores, which is third-most in the league.
When you selected Moreno in fantasy drafts, you drafted him as a late-round flier, hoping that he would separate himself in that Denver backfield. Well, he certainly did that … and then some. You certainly weren’t expecting to receive RB1 volume out of it. Sure, Manning and Charles are posting by far the best numbers at their respective positions. But you knew coming in that they were top tier guys, so their production doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Moreno has been one of the most valuable fantasy assets all season long, simply because he was the biggest draft day bargain you can think of.
Don’t worry, Knowshon. I cry with you. Your 2013 fantasy campaign has been a thing of beauty.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.