1 Month Denver Broncos
Broncos re-signed restricted free agent RB Lance Ball to a one-year, $1.323 million contract.
Ball, 28 in June, rushed 42 times for 158 yards (3.76 YPC) and one score last season, also catching seven balls for 61 yards. Ball is a plodding runner, but can pick up the blitz and play some special teams. The $1.323 million salary is not guaranteed. Ball will compete for a roster spot in training camp.
2 Months Denver Broncos
Broncos tendered restricted free agent RB Lance Ball at the original-round level.
Ball, 28 in June, rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries last season. He'll return no higher than the No. 3 or 4 running back under the $1.323 million tender.
5 Months Denver Broncos
Lance Ball was a healthy scratch in the Broncos' Week 15 win over the Ravens.
Ball has fallen behind Jacob Hester, who was signed off the street three weeks ago.
A trio of running backs with varying degrees of heat are the featured players in this week's edition, each of them getting regular touches on the ball for their respective teams. We boldly list another quarterback this week, and as usual we dumpster dive into the available tight ends to list one that has some fantasy relevance. A handful of wide receivers make an appearance, something for everyone this week!
RB Knowshon Moreno, Denver
Taking a page out of former Denver coach Mike Shanahan's "I hate fantasy football" playbook, John Fox dipped down in the Denver depth chart and tapped Moreno to be the starter in place of the injured Willis McGahee. Moreno had not even put on a uniform since Week 2, but Fox had a notion that Moreno would do a better job than Ronnie Hilliman and Lance Ball would have done protecting Peyton Manning. Moreno carried the rock 20 times for 85 yards and hauled in four passes for 26 yards while Hillman and Ball combined for only three touches the entire game. Moreno will be the featured back going forward for the Broncos, and he will likely be the top selection on this week's waiver wire.
RB Shane Vereen, New England
The Patriots are scoring a ton of points on a weekly basis, with the touchdown scoring being spread among many players. Vereen has seen his share, scoring three times in the last four games. His numbers against the New York Jets are a little inflated, thanks to an 83-yard swing pass that resulted in one of the many New England scores on turkey day. Stevan Ridley is established as the starter and workhorse, but 10-plus carries in each of the last two games proves that coach Bill Belichick has no problem getting Vereen involved in the Patriots' explosive offense. Vereen is good for these dozen or so touches per game and a touchdown. That's an above-average fantasy performance for a backup running back so he should be owned in all formats.
RB Bilal Powell, New York Jets
Another "backup" that is getting a regular amount of touches at the running back position is Powell. The Jets have been splitting things right down the middle with he and Shonn Greene, with Powell getting a dozen touches in each of the last two games. Powell is also the goal line option for the Jets, hitting pay dirt three times in the past two games. In most formats, those numbers alone make him a viable flex-play, so he should be owned with consideration as a starter when necessary.
On the Radar
6 Months Denver Broncos
Lance Ball didn't touch the ball in Denver's Week 12 win over the Chiefs.
After Knowshon Moreno was surprisingly announced as the starter, the Broncos' expected three-man backfield in the absence of Willis McGahee never game to pass. Moreno was an every-down back. Although it's possible Ronnie Hillman's role will increase in Week 13, Ball can be safely ignored in all formats of fantasy.
This week's lines are from USAToday.com (as of Thursday night).
ATS - Against the Spread; SU - Straight Up; O/U - Over/Under
Denver at Kansas City (+10)
In last week's win over the San Diego Chargers, the Bronocs lost running back Willis McGahee for most of the season due to a torn MCL. There is an outside chance he may be able to return sometime in the playoffs. In the meantime, rookie Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball should be able to step up and keep the run game going. Denver has won six of their last seven games and look to feast on the Chiefs who have only one win on the season. Kansas City is going to stick with quarterback Brady Quinn who has a 52.9 QB rating on the season with zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
Denver is 4-1 ATS in their last five games while the Chiefs are 1-4.
Gimme the Broncos minus the points.
Seattle at Miami (+3)
The Seahawks were on a bye last week and are on a two game winning streak with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson leading the way with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Running back Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in the last two games and looks to keep it going against a Dolphins defense which ranks 9th in the league against the run.
The Dolphins rank 27th in the league against the pass so Wilson shouldn't have a tough time finding Golden Tate downfield for a few big plays. Tate has three receiving touchdowns in his last two games. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been awful in his last two games, throwing only one touchdown with five interceptions. Things won't get any easier against the Seahawks defense which ranks 2nd in the league in total points allowed (16.1 points per game) and 3rd in the league against the pass.
Gimme the Seahawks minus the points.
Tennessee at Jacksonville (O/U 44.5)
Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne, who has taken over for Blaine Gabbert for the rest of the season, has played well when given a chance. Henne threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns in last week's overtime loss to the Houston Texans. This week he faces the Titans defense which ranks 31st in the league in points allowed (31.1 points per game). The Jaguars are not much better, ranking 29th in the league (28.9 points per game).
Gimme the Over.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay (O/U 50)
The Falcons are averaging 27 points per game, 6th in the NFL while the Buccaneers are averaging 28.7 points per game, good for 5th in the NFL.
The Tampa Bay offense...
It's ironic that we have twelve scenarios to look at in week twelve. This week represents families coming together for a big meal, some talk about shopping, and the greatest sport in America. I'm talking about a battle in the trenches, where two teams try to impose their will on each other until one breaks. It's raw, filled with emotion, and captivating to watch. I'm calling out this week's dirty dozen scenarios that you need to know about and capitalize on. Let's get started before the lines start for black Friday's electronic fiesta.
All Jim Harbaugh wanted for Christmas last year was a quarterback. Specifically, Harbaugh wanted Peyton Manning. The 49ers were in the running for a minute and make no mistake, it would have been a defining moment. Manning was courted by a few teams, and eventually signed in Denver. Meanwhile, Alex Smith was flapping in the wind without a contract. Had Manning signed with San Francisco, Smith would have been either a starter for a doormat team, or a clipboard holder. It is today's reality that he could be that clipboard holder watching Colin Kaepernick start for the 49ers.
It took a concussion to get Kaepernick a start versus a defense that has tormented many a signal caller. Kaepernick rose to the challenge and has people talking, including Harbaugh. During the press conference, Harbaugh said that he would evaluate that later this week. It's what he didn't say that struck a chord with me. Kaepernick was not only spot on with his throws but brought something to the table that Smith lacks, elusiveness. The bottom line is that Kaepernick has won the job. Should you hear some non-sense about Smith being the starter, it will take one bad read, or turnover before Smith is benched. Smith will be on the sidelines before long. I'm betting it's this week.
When LeSean McCoy went down last Sunday, he opened a door for one of the most electric runners that folks need to get a look at. Bryce Brown will start this week if McCoy is unable to go. It is my belief that McCoy will be rested regardless of the concussion tests. Don't get too excited that he will take McCoy's job, because it won't happen. What will happen is that you will see what Brown can do with 20 carries. The answer is look out. This is unbelievable natural talent. This week versus Carolina who allows 118 yards per game on the ground (average of 4.2ypc), look for Brown to get to the second level. His game speed is faster than his 40-time indicates. Panthers rookie...