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Can Knowshon Moreno Be a Fantasy Football RB1 in 2010?

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJuly 27, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 27:  Knowshon Moreno #27 of the Denver Broncos runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 27, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Broncos 30-27.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Knowshon Moreno currently has an ADP of 32.50 according to Mock Draft Central, the 18th running back off the board.  I have him ranked significantly higher then that, at no.8 in my Top 40 Running back rankings (click here  to view).

Why do I rank him so much higher then everyone else?  Let’s take a look at my thought process.

He was certainly under whelming in his rookie campaign, rushing for 947 yards and seven TD (he averaged 3.8 yards per carry).  He also did not rush for over 100 yards in a game.  Then again, he had 20 or more carries in a game just four times.

To compare, he had three games of ten carries or less.  The former first round pick rushed for over 2,700 yards in just two seasons at Georgia, so there is little doubting his ability.  With his rookie season under his ability, the experience alone should allow him to improve his play.

While he did lead the team in carries, the Broncos passed the ball significantly more.  Kyle Orton attempted 541 passes, tied for sixth most in the league.  With their best receiver (Brandon Marshall) shipped to Miami in the offseason, there’s a good chance that Orton sees his attempts decrease, with more touches going to Moreno.

A rookie last season, there has been talk of his body wearing down towards the end of the season.  In an effort to improve his conditioning, Moreno was quoted in the Denver Post as saying, “I haven’t missed a workout yet, so I’m just going to keep that up and just keep on working hard” (click here  for the full article). 

With better conditioning should come more consistent carries not only late in the season, but late in games.

You would think that would allow him to break more big runs, increasing his numbers as a whole.

Let’s also not forget his abilities in the passing game.  Moreno had 28 catches for 213 yards and two TD last season, numbers that he is almost sure to improve upon in 2010.  In fact, seeing him reach 40-50 receptions this season would not come as a surprise.

You couple those receiving numbers with the expected improvement in the running game and there is a lot to like.  Clearly there is no reason to take him in the first round, despite my ranking, because few others value him as highly.  Come the middle of the second round and on, if I’m picking and he’s on the board, there’s little doubt that I’m selecting him.

To me, he has the upside of Brian Westbrook, meaning 1,200-1,400 yards rushing with another 500-600 on the ground.  Throw in double-digit touchdowns and what is there not to like?

As I said, I may not want him as my RB1 (despite my ranking), but after the first round there is little doubt that I’m calling his name.

What are your thoughts on Moreno?  How good could he be?  How early are you willing to draft him?

Make sure to check out our 2010 rankings:

Also, make sure to check out our recent rookie rankings:

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