Bullish thoughts about rookie Montee Ball's arrival in Denver were rampant across the fantasy community in the early summer months, as it was assumed he'd take the lead roll in a Denver Broncos backfield that was No. 11 in fantasy production last season. But throughout training camp and preseason action, Ball failed to maintain a firm grip on a lead role and, as we head into Week 1 of the regular season, the word on the street is that the Broncos will employ a three-pronged attack, with Ball splitting time with Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman.
For Ball owners, all hope is not lost, though. Denver has one of the elite offenses in the league, ranking fourth last season in plays from scrimmage. With the addition of chain-mover Wes Welker, the Broncos have good odds to snap the ball more times this season than any other team. That could mean a slight bump in what was already a healthy rush attempt average for Denver in '12 – 30 carries per game. And Ball should at least be the chairman of this committee. Remember, Denver has used high draft picks in recent years on Moreno and Hillman, and the fact that they felt the need to use another one on Ball this season tells us that it wasn't satisfied with the status quo. Ball has good instincts, strong ball security and is adept around the goal line – he's the NCAA's all-time TD leader.
Moreno, currently the best of the group at protecting franchise QB Peyton Manning, will likely have a prominent role early on in the season, at least until Ball proves capable in pass pro. And he's worthy for fantasy Flex consideration out of the gates. But fantasy owners should take a watch-and-see approach with Hillman, who has had fumbling issues in the preseason and seems ill-suited to a lead role.