The NFL Draft is a great time for fantasy football enthusiasts. It is a time when managers get to see the new crop of players coming into the NFL, where those players will play in the upcoming season, and what players will be traded to another team. In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected a running back in the second round and he will be the focus of this article and our No. 7 player to breakout, Mr. Montee Ball.
When Ball was drafted by the Broncos, he was slated to become the replacement for Knowshon Moreno. Moreno, even though he had a great 2012, was still an unsure starter for the Broncos because of his inexperience as a starter and his injury at the end of the 2012 season.
When the early preview books came out for fantasy football in June, many experts felt that taking Ball in the 4th-6th rounds would be a great pick and that he would have a better season than the other players drafted that year at the same position like Le’Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard and Eddie Lacy. Many experts felt that Moreno had such a great season with Peyton Manning in Denver that Ball would be a sure thing, but that did not go as planned.
Ball struggled right out of the gate. He showed that he had a problem holding onto the football and that is a big “no-no” for any running back, especially one in Manning’s offense.
However, Ball had a resurgence in the second half of the season. From Week 10 until the end of the regular season (even into the playoffs), Ball has gained more of the coaching staff’s trust and therefore saw more playing time. Since Week 10, Ball is averaging 20 touches through the air and on the ground combined. He also scored three of his four touchdowns from Week 10 on. Ball is showing the Broncos, as well as fantasy owners, that he is going to be a nice piece of the Broncos’ offense moving forward.
If you are a serious fantasy football player, this is a guy you really need to keep an eye on. Everyone in Manning’s offense has a huge fantasy ceiling. Ball is going to have a year under him and an entire offseason to work on his skills and learn the playbook even more. I can see Ball becoming a player like Joique Bell or Danny Woodhead for the Broncos as soon as next season.
I would not waste a 4th-6th round pick on Ball next fantasy season, however don’t be surprised if you grab him in the 8th-11th rounds and he becomes a flex start and eventually an RB2 player for your team.