It’s natural to fear what’s unfamiliar and different. I still haven’t outgrown my fear of haircuts, for example. This is likely directly linked to the sight of numerous smooth heads at every family outing, and the everlasting anguish over cutting what may never grow back.
Knowshon Moreno is change. He is all of the change, and every reason to be scared.
You haven’t been able to trust Moreno since…well, have you ever been able to trust Moreno? For a minute forget the fact that prior to his 111 total yards yesterday on 24 touches (20 carries and four receptions) Moreno had been inactive since Week 2, and take a little gander at his totals last year. Sure, Moreno’s 2011 season ended early with an ACL tear, giving Willis McGahee the opportunity to continue running with a job that he had already taken anyway. But even prior to that Week 10 injury he only had 127 rushing yards and 224 total yards over six games. In short, he was the epitome of the plodding, backup runner who gave McGahee a blow while never topping 70 yards of offense in a game.
In shorter, he was exactly who he’s always been: an underwhelming first-round pick who’s only rushed for over 100 yards twice in 39 game appearances, yet he’s still managed to fumble nine times. Truly remarkable.
So should you trust him now? (*Looks at schedule*) Yes.
It’s more than just your hatred of the unknown and Moreno’s history of suck which could be driving your fear of him. You’re also looking at his opponent yesterday, and noting that your wiener dog would likely be a good start against the Kansas City defense. That’s probably true, since the Chiefs are allowing 126.1 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry. In addition to the warm welcome they extended to Moreno, the Chiefs also gladly handed 101 rushing yards to BenJarvus Green-Ellis last week. That sounds merely good and far from spectacular until you remember that prior to that game Green-Ellis had averaged less than four yards per carry in all but one week, with less than 60 yards in a game four times.
Yep, the Chiefs and fantasy running backs go together like beer and overflowing man guts. But look at the Broncos’ remaining schedule, and try to look past the Buccaneers next week, the best run defense in the league.
Next up? The Raiders in Week 14, and then the Ravens and Browns during the fantasy playoffs. Most leagues end in Week 16, but if your league extends to Week 17 then those weakling Chiefs are due up again, so Moreno will easily give you great waiver wire value, and fast. Normally the Ravens wouldn’t be on this list of speed bag run defenses, but without Ray Lewis they’ve plummeted quickly against the run, as they’re currently ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed after finishing second last year. Yes, Lewis could return in Week 15, but he’ll surely be a shell of himself.
A more few enjoyable facts about the Raiders, Ravens, and Browns, and their inability to defend the run:
- Combined, those three defenses have allowed 4,158 rushing yards so far this season.
- What’s that add up to on a per game basis? 126
- Do you like running backs who score touchdowns? Because combined those three teams have allowed 34 rushing scores. That’s only one touchdown short of one per game. Sweet.
- Collectively they’re allowing 4.3 yards per carry. If we could actually combine all three teams and call them the Cleveltimoak Rownders, they’d be tied for 20th in that category.
Since it’s only costing you your waiver priority, make the claim on Moreno, and do it now. That’s standard procedure for any running back who’s the unquestioned starter, and he’s available.
The only concern — and I use the word so very loosely — is whether or not Moreno can survive the crushing he’s about to take this coming week at the hands of the Bucs, and still not lose carries to Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball as those cushy matchups roll in. The worst-case scenario there, though, is still hardly horrible, especially after a bell was strapped to Moreno yesterday, and he received more carries than what McGahee was averaging this year (18.5 per game). Maybe Hillman will fight back and make his case to be on the short end of a 70-30 split — or somewhere in that neighborhood — but I doubt the damage to Moreno post-Bucs gets much worse than that.
Remember, Hillman may have more flash and upside, but Broncos head coach John Fox favored Moreno because of his far superior pass-blocking ability. That’s not about to change, so hire this man.