Knowshon Moreno has been signed to a one-year contract by the Miami Dolphins. Arguably the best free agent running back officially has a home. Now that the proverbial t’s have been crossed and the i’s dotted, it’s time to get down to serious business — what is Moreno’s Fantasy Football value in 2014?
Let’s be honest, Moreno is leaving the Denver Broncos offensive juggernaut for a team not known for offense. His value and numbers will take a shot, but just how much?
Prior to the 2013 season, few had Moreno on their fantasy radars – at all. Montee Ball was the Broncos’ second round draft selection, and one year earlier, the Broncos used a third round pick on Ronnie Hillman. Of course, still in the mix at the time was Willis McGahee. The Broncos’ backfield was crowded, and most thought Moreno was going to be the odd man out.
In theory, he should have been the odd man out. The former 2009 first round selection had done little in his career to set the Mile High City on fire. In fact, in four seasons prior to 2013, Moreno had just 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns. Few would argue the fact that Moreno’s resume was less than impressive.
Then came the 2013 season and Moreno’s break out year. Most remember the numbers, but as a point of emphasis: 1,038 yards rushing, 10 scores, 74 receptions, 548 yards and an additional three scores. By the way, this took place while Moreno split the workload down the stretch with Ball.
So presents the problem most fantasy gurus struggle with today — which Knowshon shows up in Miami? In addition, who exactly benefits most?
First, there is no argument that Moreno is an excellent pass protection running back. If you doubt that, think about this, John Elway loves seeing his guys succeed, and he has a tendency he to discard the misfit toys of Josh McDaniels‘ tenure. Yet, Elway sat by watching McDaniels’ Moreno in the starting lineup while his boys, Ball and Hillman, played second fiddle. Why is that? Elway knew Moreno was the best bet to protect the hind side of his moneymaker, Peyton Manning. Immediate benefit? Ryan Tannehill.
Moreno also provides Tannehill with something he has desperately missed in Miami, a check down option out of the backfield. In 2013, Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 41 receptions and 233 yards. Just to reiterate, Moreno caught 74-for-548.
Of course, this does little to bring clarity to the question as to which Moreno the Dolphins and most importantly, you as a fantasy GM can expect in 2014.
For that, I turn to two intangibles that were detailed in his well-documented story and proven on the field – experience and maturity. Moreno certainly hasn’t had an easy walk on or off the field. That said, with adversity comes perspective and toughness. Moreno has had the athletic prowess to be successful in the NFL from Day 1; he hasn’t always possessed the mental makeup to get the job done, but 2013 is an indicator he is well on his way.
Another thing to consider, if Moreno had remained in Denver, you would have had to spend a top pick for his services next season. His move to Miami changes that scenario entirely. He went from a high-profile pick with bust potential, to a much lower pick with incredible sleeper value.
He will get his touches, he will get his receptions, and most importantly, you can have him at a much-reduced price. It’s certainly worth a shot, but the ball’s in your court.