Fantasy: Have faith in Broncos' Moreno

| Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010

Patience is sometimes rewarded. And if you managed to reach your fantasy football playoffs while hanging in Knowshon Moreno limbo, those rewards could make you a championship favorite.

The former first-round pick disappointed last year as a rookie, then frustrated owners early this year by sandwiching some mediocre running around a three-game hamstring injury. The Broncos' offense saved him, though, as he scored four touchdowns in the first five games he played.

Now, he's one of the hottest running backs in football. He has 569 yards of offense (381 rushing, 188 receiving) in four games and three touchdowns. He has averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry in each of those games without the benefit of a long touchdown run.

All signs are he is just getting started.

On Monday, the Broncos fired coach Josh McDaniels, who orchestrated high-octane passing attacks in Denver and New England, and elevated running backs coach Eric Studesville to the job for the rest of the season. Want to bet a running backs coach won't give the ball to his No. 1 back?

Moreno won't have tough going the next three weeks, either. With games at Arizona (No. 32), at Oakland (No. 25) and home against Houston (No. 18), the Broncos have one of the ground-friendliest schedules left.

Even if the Broncos fall apart, Moreno will get the ball. And with how he has run lately, it's tough to bet against him.

Don't forget about

Titans receiver Kenny Britt should return from a hamstring injury this week against the Indianapolis Colts, and the timing couldn't be better for the Titans or fantasy owners.

The Titans offense is struggling with few passing threats — despite the presence of Randy Moss.

They haven't scored a touchdown on offense in 15 quarters, dating to the third quarter against Miami in Week 10. But Tennessee still has an outside shot at a playoff berth with matchups against favorable pass defenses (Indianapolis, Houston and Kansas City).

Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna might find himself in fantasy lineups during the playoffs, thanks to some big games in November and a soft remaining schedule (Philadelphia, Washington and Arizona).

Additionally, Tony Romo is highly unlikely to return to the team due to continuing pain from his broken collarbone.

Even without Dez Bryant (gone for the season with a fractured leg), Kitna has starter potential. Look for the Cowboys to throw often the rest of the way.

Stuck with Larry Fitz

Larry Fitzgerald needs help.

The Arizona Cardinals throw to him as often as anybody in the league (third in targets), and Fitzgerald's talent is obvious. But it doesn't matter.

The Cardinals have no run game, no quarterback, and fellow wideout Steve Breaston has only taken minimal attention away from the All-Pro receiver. The result is Fitzgerald ranks No. 18 among fantasy receivers in many standard formats, barely on the fringe of startable in most leagues.

But you can't bench him. Fitzgerald is such a talent — and his remaining schedule (Denver, Carolina, Dallas) is so favorable — that you have to consider playing him.

Even with John Skelton as the latest to call himself "quarterback" in Arizona.


Tashard Choice, Dal RB

James Davis, Was RB

James Starks, GB RB


Kyle Orton, Den QB

Hines Ward, Pit WR

Ronnie Brown, Mia RB


Santonio Holmes, N.Y. Jets — The lone bright spot in the Jets' 42-point whipping against the Patriots. Has 29 catches in past five games.

Roy Williams, Dallas — With Dez Bryant out, Williams moves back to No. 2. Don't expect an explosion like earlier this season, though.


Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis — Closer to a return, but Week 15 more likely.

Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota — Fantasy owners: "Good riddance!"

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans — Coaches say Thomas might return this week. Don't fall in love with Chris Ivory.

Steve Smith, WR, New York Giants — The plan is for him to play, but Smith was pessimistic about his torn pectoral late last week. Hold him out even if he plays.

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston — Not expected to practice until today. Play him with confidence, though.


The skill-position players who have scored the most touchdowns the past three weeks:

Dwayne Bowe, KC WR : 5 TDs, 279 yards

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE RB : 5, 238

Chris Ivory, NO RB : 5, 254

Greg Jennings, GB WR : 5, 393

Arian Foster, Hou RB : 4, 470

Peyton Hillis, Cle RB : 4, 416

Adrian Peterson, Min RB : 4, 266

Wes Welker, NE WR : 4, 228

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