Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno just needs a proper chance to prove that he can be a valuable asset. It took a long time into the 2012 season for him to show it, but he is finally back healthy and ready to go.
That is great news for fantasy owners, who still need to make roster adjustments as we move closer toward the postseason.
Moreno's season got off to a typical start, at least by his standards. He had five carries in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, then he ran the ball three times against Atlanta in Week 2 before being scratched from the team's next eight games.
"Disappointing" has been a label that Moreno has had to bear since his rookie season in 2009. He had just 947 yards on 247 carries that season before injuries and inconsistent play robbed him of 12 games the next two seasons.
Now, with the Broncos leading the AFC West and Willis McGahee done for the rest of the regular season with a knee injury, Moreno is once again being given a chance to showcase his abilities on the field.
In his first test, Moreno ran for 85 yards on 20 carries against Kansas City in Week 12. It's not a remarkable performance, but it was exactly what the Broncos needed it to be.
As Mike Klis of the Denver Post wrote, Moreno doesn't have to be spectacular to be perfect for the Broncos offense.
If the Broncos are to reach the Super Bowl this season, they won't need Moreno to play like the second coming of Barry Sanders. The next Matt Suhey will do just fine.
While the success of the Broncos doesn't matter for Moreno's fantasy value, it does speak to the bigger picture that we are talking about.
There was a time when Moreno would have been considered a surefire starter in fantasy football just because he was a starting running back. Fantasy owners are always looking for a good No. 2 or No. 3 running back to use at flex positions and play matchups.
Given Moreno's history, starting him every week isn't a realistic option. However, for those fantasy owners starved for depth at running back, he might be the perfect option for you.
We know that Moreno is going to have the job as long as he is healthy and relatively productive, which he was last week. We know that he can catch passes out of the backfield, which only adds to his fantasy value, because Peyton Manning has no problem checking down to his backs.
The Broncos don't have an incredibly difficult schedule moving forward. The only team they play that ranks higher than 19th in run defense is Tampa Bay this week. For the record, the Buccaneers have the best run defense (81.5 yards per game) in the NFL.
After that, the Broncos play Oakland (28th), Baltimore (26th), Cleveland (19th) and Kansas City (24th). There will be yards out there for Moreno to get—it is just on him to make sure that he is attacking the hole and finding them.
Fantasy owners should not shy away from Moreno down the stretch because of his past. Instead, they should embrace this new opportunity that he has been given and give him a shot on their roster.
Who knows? Moreno could be the piece of the puzzle that puts you over the top in the postseason.