Montee Ball is rising up draft boards, and the young gun out of Denver is currently getting drafted with an ADP of 30. He’s the 11th running back coming off the board after Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch, and DeMarco Murray. While Ball may not surpass Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy in fantasy points this season, it is very possible that by the end of 2014, Ball is top five among running backs by the end of the season. This is not necessarily saying that Montee Ball is more talented than some of the aforementioned players, rather, he is possibly in the best situation while playing with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
As you already know, Peyton Manning is fantasy gold. Not only does he put up plenty of fantasy points of his own, but everything he touches seems to turn to gold as well. Nothing against players like Julius Thomas, Demaryius Thomas, and Eric Decker, but playing with Peyton Manning has taken all of their careers to new levels. The best example of this “Manning effect” can best be seen with recently departed Knowshon Moreno. Last season with Manning, Moreno put up career bests in both rushing yards (1,038) and receiving yards (548). He contributed 10 rushing touchdowns along with 3 receiving touchdowns, again both career marks. The best part about having someone of Manning’s caliber on your team is that defenses are so afraid of the passing game that the running backs are given empty boxes with huge lanes to run through. Knowshon was the most recent beneficiary of this effect, and he certainly wasn’t the first (or last).
The Manning Effect
Throughout Manning’s career, his running backs have constantly flourished. Over the past 15 seasons, Manning’s lead running backs have averaged over 1,500 total yards in addition to more than 10 touchdowns per season. Not bad, huh. To be fair, Manning has played with some very good running backs such as Edgerrin James and even a season with the great Marshall Faulk. Removing these two studs and Manning’s running backs still averaged over 1,100 totals yards and 9 touchdowns. These numbers derive from Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Willis McGahee and the aforementioned Knowshown Moreno. If Joseph Addai can average 1,200 yards, there shouldn’t be any reason why Ball can’t do the same in 2014.
The Manning effect will provide Ball with plenty of opportunity, but Ball has to be the one to take advantage of them like Moreno did last season. That being said, let’s take a look at what Ball has to offer. With an up and down rookie year, Ball showed some impressive things. Even though he only earned 120 attempts, he was able to turn those into 559 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Also worth noting: his rushing average (4.7) was better than Moreno’s (4.3). With Moreno gone, it is Ball’s turn to take the lead role for the Broncos backfield.
In this situation, Ball’s college experience should be of huge help. In his final two seasons at Wisconsin, Ball averaged 332 rushing attempts for 1,877 yards and 28 touchdowns. In his junior year alone, he racked up an impressive 33 touchdowns with a 6.3 yard rushing average. It’s safe to say that he is ready to be the lead back and help win you a fantasy championship.
Assuming he can gain the trust of Peyton and his coaches, not fumble and miss blocking assignments, Montee Ball has a huge opportunity to succeed in 2014, and I believe he Montee Ball is a top 5 fantasy running back this upcoming season, easily worth a 1st round pick.
Feel free to follow me for great fantasy football advice on twitter @DE_aaron
Montee Ball – Top 5 Fantasy Running Back