RB Knowshon Moreno, Free agent
HT: 5-11, WT: 217, Born: 7-16-1987, College: Georgia, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 12
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: B Pierce (100), Z Ertz (101), Knowshon Moreno (102), A Dalton (104)
Position: D Woodhead (97-RB36), B Pierce (100-RB37), Knowshon Moreno (102 - RB38), D Williams (108-RB39), C Hyde (110-RB40)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: B Pierce (102), D Bowe (103), Knowshon Moreno (104), M Evans (105), D Freeman (106)
Position: S Jackson (97-RB36), B Pierce (102-RB37), Knowshon Moreno (104 - RB38), D Freeman (106-RB39), T West (107-RB40)
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Head coach Joe Philbin was recently lauding Knowshon Moreno's "versatility" and "skill-set" (per the Miami Herald), which should give you an indication of how much they want him on the field. Neither Lamar Miller nor Daniel Thomas was consistent for the Dolphins last season, although you can pin some of the blame on the poor blocking. He'll get plenty of opportunity to build on last year's great season. That's the good news. The bad news is, he doesn't have All-World quarterback Peyton Manning clearing defenses out. Moreno also showed up to OTAs a bit overweight according to some reports. Moreno was lackluster at best for the better part of four years in Denver, only to turn it around last season. Can he keep it up? We are a tad dubious, but believe he can be productive in Miami. Pick him up as a shaky RB2 or a solid RB3 and you should be happy.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Knowshon Moreno was a surprise starter for the Denver Broncos despite being listed 3rd on the depth chart. Knowshon Moreno was the back on the field to begin each of Denver's first six drives, Moreno was on the field for 40 of Denver's 74 offensive snaps, or 54%, and that percentage was much higher while the game was still in question as Moreno was on the field to begin each of Denver's first six drives. When Moreno was on the field, the Broncos clearly preferred a pass-heavy game-plan, calling runs on just 23% of their offensive plays. Moreno showed a nice hesitation move on back-to-back carries in the second quarter, and was consistently lowering his shoulder and finishing his runs with power, but was largely mediocre with the ball in his hands. Moreno was mostly utilized for his work in the passing game, where his 16 routes run and 12 snaps in pass protection were both more than Ball and Hillman combined. Moreno did have a badly blown block in the 3rd quarter which forced a holding penalty, but was otherwise very solid in the passing game.
Week 2 - The coaching staff seemed to enter the game against New York determined to rotate Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, but some phenomenal play by Moreno quickly sent that plan to the dustbin. Moreno had perhaps his best rushing performance as a pro, posting the 6th highest rushing total of his career and his best YPC in a game with more than 5 carries. Moreno kicked off Denver's scoring for the day on a 20-yard touchdown, and later added another 25 yard touchdown. Moreno consistently finished his runs with a power he has lacked in previous seasons and frequently ran through contact. In between carries, he showcased why he remains the best blocking back on Denver's roster. He finally returned to the bench midway through the 4th quarter, as Montee Ball came on for mop-up duty.
Week 3 - Once again, Knowshon Moreno led all Denver backs in snaps played, seeing the field for 37 of Denver's 79 offensive plays. Moreno also led the Denver backs in carries, and ran more routes than Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball combined. Unfortunately, coming off of perhaps the best game of his career, Moreno was unable to maintain his stellar play from week 2 and struggled in all phases of the game. In a game where Denver's offensive line was finally opening large holes and competitors Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman combined for 127 yards on 20 carries, Moreno struggled to top three yards per carry. Moreno also had a costly drop, one of the few Denver miscues in the passing game on the night. While Moreno's blocking was solid as usual, he had very few chances to show it off, as Denver opted to spend much of the night in 2- (and even a few 3-) tight end sets.
Week 4 - After a rough game against Oakland, Knowshon Moreno once again demonstrated why he's the back of choice for the Broncos when they're building a lead. Moreno didn't make many plays that will make the highlight reel, but with the exception of a dumb unnecessary roughness penalty, Moreno played his usual brand of mistake-free football. Taking advantage of the defense's respect for Manning and its troubles with tackling, Moreno was able to run all day long against soft defensive fronts, getting positive yardage on every carry and finishing the game with an impressive six first downs. Most importantly, Moreno's usage remained constant from previous games- Knowshon was Denver's primary tailback while Denver was still building its lead, giving way to Ronnie Hillman whenever he needed a breather and Montee Ball once the game was finally out of reach. Moreno's playing time was limited by a pair of special teams TDs and a large early lead, as Moreno was on the field for just 31 of Denver's 76 offensive snaps, but he made the most of his limited opportunities with 91 yards and a score.
Week 5 - Against the Cowboys, Knowshon Moreno eliminated any shadow of doubt that might have existed about whether he was the workhorse in the backfield. As Denver finally found itself mired in its first close game of the season, Knowshon Moreno dominated the snap counts and was on the field for 64% of Denver's offensive plays and getting 67% of the RBs' total touches. With the outcome in question until the very end, Knowshon Moreno saw his first extended action in the fourth quarter, and he came through in a big way, scoring the game-tying touchdown on the Broncos penultimate drive, and then converting the 3rd-and-1 from the two yard line that allowed Denver to kneel out the clock and kick the winning field goal as time expired. On his final conversion, Moreno fought impressively to get the one yard required for the first down without getting the second yard for a touchdown, (which would have given the ball back to Dallas with time to tie the game again). In addition to his key late-game heroics, Moreno made plenty of plays to impact the game early on. On a first quarter carry, he went down but wisely got up and continued running for a 16-yard gain that was upheld after replays could not conclusively prove that he was ever touched. He was bailed out by the officials who missed a fumble on 2nd and 10, but then promptly went out and made a terrific catch to convert the ensuing 3rd and 6. Knowshon Moreno continues to look better than he ever has before in his career as he compensates for his lack of athletic ability with consistency, determination, and veteran savvy.
Week 6 - Moreno found little room to run on the ground against Jacksonville, although his low yard per carry total was partly a result of all of the runs Moreno received at the goal line, as Moreno had 9 carries for 33 yards (and one touchdown) outside of the the 5 yard line and 6 carries for 9 yards (and two touchdowns) when within five yards of the end zone. For the season, Moreno now leads the league with 10 attempts inside the 5, and his 4 touchdowns in that situation tie Jamaal Charles and Marshawn Lynch for most in the NFL. Coming into the game, coach Gus Bradley of Jacksonville said his plan was to force Peyton Manning to check down and see if Manning would remain patient. Moreno was the beneficiary of that patience, as Denver did not keep him in to pass protect a single time, instead opting to send him out into pass patterns to give Peyton Manning a safety valve. Moreno finished with 10 targets in the passing game which he converted into 7 receptions, including catching a screen and running for 28 yards to convert an early 3rd-and-20. On a day when the entire Denver Broncos offense was a little bit out of sorts, though, the ever-reliable Knowshon Moreno was no exception. Moreno had a pair of egregious drops, and once ran to the wrong side on a running play, leaving Peyton Manning all alone on the left side of the formation with no choice but to take a sack.
Week 7 - ontinuing his trend of alternating strong games with poor ones, Knowshon Moreno was largely ineffective against the Indianapolis Colts. Moreno had several strong runs on first down early, but for most of the game was ineffectual in short yardage as his line couldn't get any push and Moreno couldn't make anything happen on his own. Denver called Moreno's number six times on 3rd down, and Moreno failed to convert a single time, getting stuffed on a trio of 3rd-and-short runs, getting four yards on a screen on 3rd and 6, and getting slightly overthrown on a target on 3rd and 5 for five of the failed conversions. On Moreno's 6th third down attempt, he caught a screen and rumbled for 15 yards on 3rd and 5, but the play was called back after Moreno was called for offensive pass interference. Running the ball, Moreno largely just plunged up the middle and hoped something was there. Catching the ball, Moreno converted six targets into just three receptions for nine yards. Really, the only positives to Moreno's day were the fact that he dominated the snaps in Denver's backfield, that he finally managed to score on a one-yard plunge to pull Denver within a touchdown, and that he was one of the few pieces of Denver's pass protection that managed to hold up against the Colts.
Week 8 - While he had an average day on the ground, Knowshon Moreno did some serious work through the air for the Denver Broncos, most notably on his 35-yard touchdown reception to give Denver the lead for good. On the play, Moreno took a quick dump-off and received some stellar early blocks from his teammates as he converted the first down, but Moreno used some very subtle moves to set up defenders in the second level, evading tacklers and weaving his way all the way to the end zone. Moreno was targeted 6 times on the day, and all 6 resulted in receptions. With the exception of a 2-yard gain on 1st-and-10, each of Moreno’s receptions went for at least 10 yards and converted a new set of downs. In an offense that features a glut of weapons in the passing game, Moreno stood out as by far the most dangerous against Washington.
Week 10 - Knowshon Moreno opened the game in his usual place in the backfield alongside Peyton Manning, and once again played about 2/3s of Denver’s snaps at running back (42 out of 61 total). Denver did very little running in the first half, with Moreno only getting 3 carries, but he more than made up for it once again in the passing game with 7 targets, all of which were complete, although Moreno fell down on one and had to make a terrific effort just to get up off the ground enough to secure it for a 1-yard gain. In the second half, the script flipped as Moreno got 12 carries and 1 reception with Denver running out a lead. Moreno didn’t have any big plays, with the longest of his 23 touches netting just 11 yards, but he consistently gained positive yardage and kept the Broncos offense ahead of schedule in terms of down and distance. For the day, Moreno was second on the team in targets, converting all 8 into receptions, albeit for just 49 yards.
Week 11 - Knowshon Moreno had a workmanlike night against the Chiefs, carrying the ball a whopping 27 times. While Moreno only gained 79 yards, averaging fewer than 3 yards per attempt, Denver kept feeding him the ball to keep Kansas City’s defensive line from cheating up against the pass and teeing off on Manning. With all of the extra work he was getting, Moreno spent more time than usual on the sidelines in the second half, as Denver attempted to limit his workload some to keep him fresh. Moreno did a better job running than his stat line would suggest, getting extra yardage when possible and critically managing to avoid negative plays, although he failed to rip off any great plays to punish a relatively weak rushing defense. As with the rest of Denver’s offense, Moreno deserves praise for his role in keeping Manning’s jersey crisp and clean all evening long. Oddly, Moreno was targeted on Denver’s second offensive play, but did not receive another target for the rest of the game after having topped six targets in each of his last four games.
Week 12 - Playing on the road in the elements, Denver’s game plan from the beginning was to put the ball in the hands of Moreno and let him win the game, and he almost did just that. Moreno played in the highest percentage of snaps he’s seen all season, but the real story was just how frequently Denver gave him the ball. A massive 68% of the time Knowshon Moreno was on the field, the ball was put in his hands, including a whopping 78% of the time before Montee Ball’s fumble, as the rookie handled most of the work on passing downs to keep Moreno fresh. Knowshon Moreno responded with far and away the best game of his career, grinding out 224 grueling rushing yards one small chunk at a time, with no carry longer than 18 yards on the day. He finished with one of the top 50 performances in NFL history in terms of rushing yards. Unfortunately, Moreno provided a glimpse of why Denver had been limiting his usage to this point of the season; the workload proved to be too much for him after all, and Moreno was clearly in pain by the time overtime rolled around. After the game, Moreno was spotted in the locker room wearing a walking boot.
Week 13 - A week removed from an epic 37-carry game that left Moreno on crutches and nursing a wicked bone bruise, his availability against the Chiefs was in question. Not only did Knowshon Moreno play, but he started and, as has been customary, received a full 2/3s of Denver’s snaps in the backfield. Whether the recent workload had left him worn down or the injury was still bothering him, Moreno struggled to get anything at all going on the ground against the Chiefs, and his rushing performance was every bit as bad as his 15 carry for 18 yard stat line would suggest. While avoiding negative plays has been Moreno’s hallmark this season, over 50% of his rushing attempts (8 out of 15) were stopped for no gain or a loss. Moreno struggled to break tackles, avoid defenders, or in some cases even get what was blocked on the play. Moreno had just one rushing first down on the day, after a 13-yard gain where he ripped straight through a large hole up the middle on 1st and 10. Moreno also committed a false start penalty, and allowed a free rusher to Peyton Manning after misdiagnosing a blitz. Moreno’s day was saved, both for fantasy and NFL purposes, by a trio of receptions. Moreno twice caught screen passes and managed to convert 2nd-and-long situations, first with a 34-yard gain on 2nd and 16 and then later with a 31-yard gain on 2nd and 20. Moreno also scored a 3-yard receiving touchdown shortly before halftime to begin Denver’s rally. Otherwise, Knowshon Moreno was ineffective
Week 14 - The Tennessee Titans have struggled defending the run in 2013, and Denver’s backfield had a strong day against a good matchup. Knowshon Moreno had a strong game on the ground after an off week rushing the football, and two of his first six carries gashed the Titans for 20+ yards. After the pair of long gainers, Moreno’s day mostly settled down into a steady stream of 2-5 yard handoffs as he kept the Broncos ahead of schedule on 2nd and 3rd down. Moreno also got more involved in the passing game, with his 7 targets standing as his best total since week 10, but Tennessee had done its homework and was prepared for Denver’s potent screen game, sniffing out most of those receptions and stuffing them for minimal gains. With the playoffs approaching, Denver continued to scale back Moreno’s workload, though; Moreno logged just 56% of Denver’s snaps at running back, his lowest figure since week 8 and his second-lowest figure since week 5.
Week 15 - Knowshon Moreno’s first carry of the day featured a nifty move to dance free of an arm tackle on a 6-yard gain. He gained 5 yards on his next carry. From that point on, Knowshon Moreno couldn’t get anything at all going on the ground against a porous San Diego front seven, as a string of short runs kept Denver’s offense behind schedule and helped contribute to Peyton Manning’s 3rd down woes. The lack of a consistent running game meant Denver faced only one 3rd down of fewer than 4 yards all evening, and stranded Manning in obvious passing situations behind a leaking line. Moreno helped his cause with some solid work as an outlet receiver, but he also struggled in his few snaps in pass protection.
Week 16 - Against the Texans, Knowshon Moreno ran like a man possessed, showing tremendous burst into the second level and consistently running through and around arm tackles, and even breaking out a nasty stiff arm on occasion. Denver strayed from the running game for long stretches, but Moreno saw an increase in his usual snap count, appearing in 50 of Denver’s 78 offensive plays (64%). He made the most of his limited opportunities, topping 100 yards on just 13 touches for the day
Week 17 - Like he’s been all season, Knowshon Moreno was so-so as a runner, but did lots of other things very well for the Denver Broncos. Moreno received 6 targets in the passing game in just 17 offensive snaps, as Denver went to the screen game early and often. Moreno was deadly with his targets, consistently making Oakland pay for committing to the outside receivers and leaving the middle of the field open, or for overcommitting to the pass rush. Moreno’s touchdown was a perfect example, as Moreno just went a yard or two past the line of scrimmage, turned around, and caught the pass with no Raiders between him and the end zone.
Week 19 - Knowshon Moreno dramatically improved on his last game against the Chargers with relatively productive rushing performance that consistently left Denver in favorable down-and-distance situations. While he lacked explosive plays, Moreno reliably got what was blocked, and produced only two negative runs on the day. His biggest blemish in the running game came on 1-yard loss on 3rd and 2 before Denver’s missed field goal attempt. Uncharacteristically, Moreno’s work outside the run game was his biggest weakness, with a dropped pass and an offensive pass interference penalty in limited work in the passing game.
Week 20 - With the exception of one game-changing play, Knowshon Moreno had a pedestrian afternoon against the New England Patriots. His best play of the game came after Peyton Manning read a soft defensive front and audibled to a running play on 3rd and 10. Knowshon Moreno took the handoff and immediately had one of the largest holes a back will ever see at the NFL level; Moreno ran for 8 yards before a single defender got within a yard of him. At the end of the run, about to be tackled short of the first down, Moreno hurdled a tackle attempt and managed to add an extra 20 yards on the back end. Moreno also added an 11-yard rush on 1st and 10, and an 18-yard reception on a perfectly-executed screen pass. His other 13 touches, however, produced just 24 yards and no first downs as New England routinely kept him bottled up and several poor first-down runs left the Broncos facing longer yardage on 2nd and 3rd down. On Denver’s penultimate drive, Knowshon Moreno suffered an apparent rib injury and left the game, although early X-Rays of the injury were negative.
Week 21 - In the biggest game of the year, Denver clearly trusted and relied heavily on Knowshon Moreno. Unfortunately, that trust was not rewarded, as Moreno capped off his second-half slump with one of his worst games of the season. Moreno only received 5 rushes and 3 receptions as Denver trailed by the first 12 seconds and spent the rest of the game catching up. On one of his five carries, Knowshon Moreno had just his third fumble of the season; although Denver recovered, the lost yardage turned a 2nd-and-medium into a 3rd-and-long, and Manning’s pass was tipped and intercepted on the next play. On a later target, Manning was hit as he threw, and Moreno made no effort to come back for the ball or challenge the defender, who intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown. With no room to run and a few uncharacteristically big mistakes, Knowshon Moreno, like the rest of the Broncos offense, ended an otherwise strong season with a thud.