With the release of running back Knowshon Moreno and Peyton Manning stating that he believes Montee Ball is ready to be the starting running back, it is time to get back on the Ball bandwagon.
Every fantasy football player will admit that they have held a grudge against at least one player at some point in their lives. Heading into the 2013 season, most of the fantasy community was gushing over Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell and Ball. Lacy was able to uphold his high expectations by finishing as the sixth-highest scoring player among running backs, and even though Bell missed the first three games of the season due to an injury, he was still able to finish as a top-15 back.
Ball, however, did not fair as well as his rookie counterparts. The No. 1 priority for the Denver Broncos was to protect Manning at all costs, and I didn’t feel that a rookie running back was ready for that type of responsibility. If you were like me and picked up Moreno off of the waiver wire before the first game of the season or drafted him in the later rounds, you got yourself an incredible bargain. In a standard 12-team league, most fantasy players drafted Ball near the start of the sixth round. That pick was the beginning of a strong grudge against the 23-year-old back.
Now with Moreno gone and a year of NFL action under his belt, Ball has a chance to be the player that people were hoping for in 2013. When you are considering drafting a second-year player, you want to be assured that he has the ability and work ethic to improve. Throughout the season, Ball improved on his ball control and quarterback protection, and the fact that the Broncos gave him solid playing time in the playoffs shows they trust him.
Don’t let a disappointing fantasy season blind you from Ball’s potential. He has proven in college that he can be an active part of the passing attack, and with his quickness and strength, he is able to plow through defenders.
While his numbers were not as impressive as some of the other rookie running backs around the league, Ball has the potential to be a top-10 back in 2014 for fantasy players who are able to look past his rocky introduction into professional football.