Fantasy Football: Five Replacements for Denver Broncos Knowshon Moreno in Week 3
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
It’s a young season that has already been filled with numerous injuries, but one of the most important ones so far has happened this week with Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno.
Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels has not been specific about the injury sustained, stating simply that Moreno “sustained a little something” during Friday’s walk-through practice.
Moreno has been ruled out for Sunday’s game and will be replaced by veteran Correll Buckhalter, as well as the newly acquired former Patriots running back Laurence Maroney.
But fantasy football owners with Moreno on their rosters are now in dire straits as they search for last-minute replacements in their starting lineup.
To help you with your decision-making process, this article will break down the potential waiver wire replacements for Moreno in Week 3.
5. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo Bills (at New England Patriots)
Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch is currently available in 42.8% of ESPN.com leagues.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
It’s hard to really advocate any of the players in this backfield right now—or really any player on the Bills at all—but running back Marshawn Lynch might be the best fantasy option in this offense…for now.
After Lynch received just three carries in week one, the Bills may have begun showcasing Lynch for trade in week two when they unexpectedly gave him 17 carries.
Though he didn’t do much with those carries, contributing just 64 rushing yards, he received 7 more carries than Fred Jackson and first round pick C.J. Spiller combined.
Lynch can’t be considered a long-term option in this offense, but the Bills seem to be trying to increase his trade value before the deadline.
He’s not an excellent play against the Patriots, who should have a lead early, but he should get the most carries in this three-headed backfield.
Projected point total: 11 points
Projected stat line: 50 yards rushing, 1 touchdown
4. Fred Taylor, RB, New England Patriots (vs. Buffalo Bills)
New England Patriots running back Fred Taylor is currently available in 51.2% of ESPN.com leagues.
It may not have looked like it in week two, but the primary beneficiary of the departure of Laurence Maroney and the injury to Kevin Faulk should be veteran running back Fred Taylor.
While Taylor received only five carries in week two’s game, fantasy owners would be wise to remember the matchup.
The Jets are perhaps the best defense in the league and the Patriots had little to no chance of running the ball on them, so it’s really not surprising that the aging Taylor received so few carries.
A better assessment of his value to this offense is probably his contributions in week one when he ran the ball 14 times for 71 yards.
The Patriots face a much more forgiving Buffalo Bills defense this week and that should leave plenty of opportunities for Taylor to move the ball—maybe he can even get into the end zone for the first time this season.
Projected point total: 11.5 points
Projected stat line: 45 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 1 receptions, 5 yards
3. Mike Tolbert, RB, San Diego Chargers (at Seattle Seahawks)
San Diego Chargers RB Mike Tolbert is currently available in 64.4% of ESPN.com leagues.
Harry How/Getty Images
The injury to rookie running back Ryan Mathews has been a blessing in disguise for third-year Chargers running back Mike Tolbert.
Tolbert, who scored two touchdowns after Mathews went out with a high ankle sprain in week two, is expected to be the primary running back for the Chargers’ high-powered offense in week three.
Tolbert doesn’t have the natural talent of Mathews, but his bruising style of play is a great compliment for scat-back Darren Sproles who should also see an increased number of touches this week.
Though he seemed like primarily a goal line vulture to start the season, Tolbert could be a great play this week against a Seattle defense that has overachieved so far this season.
Projected point total: 13 points
Projected stat line: 70 yards rushing, 1 touchdown
2. Correll Buckhalter, RB, Denver Broncos (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
Denver Broncos running back Correll Buckhalter is currently available in 39.4% of ESPN.com leagues.
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
This one seems pretty obvious, with Buckhalter being the primary backup for Moreno on the Broncos, but there is a large population of people who believe that the newly acquired Laurence Maroney will end up getting the majority of the carries.
Though Maroney will likely see some carries this week, he has not had much time to practice in the Broncos’ offense since being traded from the Patriots.
No official starter has been named yet, but coach McDaniels has trusted Buckhalter in the past and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t trust him again this week.
The Indianapolis Colts’ defense was exposed by the Texans in week one, so look for the Broncos to give Buckhalter plenty of opportunities this week.
Buckhalter had 17 carries in the first two weeks while Moreno was playing, so he should be able to nearly match that number this week alone with Moreno out.
Projected point total: 15 points
Projected stat line: 65 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 15 yards receiving
1. Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland Browns (at Baltimore Ravens)
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis is currently available in 36.% of ESPN.com leagues.
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
The top replacement for Knowshon Moreno this week may be a surprising one.
He had very little fantasy value going into the season, but Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis can be a valuable fantasy addition this week.
The Baltimore Ravens have been an elite defense for years now, but if there has been a place a place to attack them so far this season, it has been on the ground.
Allowing an average of 105 yards per game rushing, the Ravens’ defense isn’t as dominant as one might think.
Despite being third on the depth chart going into the season, Peyton Hillis has been the go-to running back for head coach Eric Mangini as he has scored a touchdown in each of the first two weeks.
If the Browns do get into the red zone at all this week, look for Hillis to make it three straight weeks with a touchdown.
Projected point total: 16 points
Projected stat line: 75 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 15 yards receiving