Montee Ball has been one hell of a fantasy heart break. In 2013 many fantasy football players, including myself, expected him take over the starting role in Denver. He was drafted by many with this thought and boy did it sink plenty of teams. No one realistically saw Knowshon Moreno coming (don't let them tell you differently). In fact, Knowshown didn't only steal the job and hold onto it, he finished as the fifth best fantasy running back in 2013. That's simply remarkable.
With Moreno running off to the Sunshine State I believe you can proceed with drafting Monte Ball highly. I mean lets face it, he's the guy and he'll pickup right where Knowshon left off. In fact, he might even be a value depending on where you get him in 2014 fantasy drafts.
The Peyton Manning Impact
I don't need to drill you with stats about Peyton Manning, about how well his running backs typically do or the fact that the Broncos scored the most points in one season in the history of the NFL (606 points). Instead I'll just point out that Peyton simply knows how to win and what he says usually goes. So far in 2014 Peyton has been saying all the right things about Montee Ball and it appears his coaches and GM are finally listening. They didn't address the position in the 2014 NFL Draft which means that it's Montee Ball's job to lose.
Chris Harris reported that 192 of Knowshon's 242 carries in 2013 occurred with six or fewer men in the box. That means that everyone is still really worried about Peyton beating them through the air, and they rightfully should be. They guy is a beast. Expect Montee Ball to get those opportunities in 2014 as defenses aren't going to start stacking the box. They'd rather be beaten on the ground then being assaulted through the air. That means big fantasy points for Montee as the ball keeps rolling.
Did I mention that from 2006-2009 Joseph Addai averaged 8.5 rushing touchdowns while alongside Manning? Well keep that in mind, and the fact that Montee Ball is way better than Addai was.
Montee Ball does bring some risk with him. If you take him early you take the chance that he could lose the starting job. You also ignore the fact that he's still unproven. The guy demonstrates a ton of upside, but you need to be sure you're willing to take the risk.
If he fails in pass protection early in 2014 theres a chance the team looks elsewhere for running back help.
Drafting Montee Ball
I personally don't think I'll be in a position to draft Montee Ball in 2014. However if he was sitting there for me in the middle of the 2nd round I'd be loving life. I wouldn't take him over stud players like Calvin Johnson or some other running backs because of his risk. However his potential upside means you could get a top 5 running back for way less than the cost of a to 5 back on draft day.
It all comes down to how much of a risk taker you are. Are you ready to take a leap of faith?