In 2015 Fantasy Football leagues, should you draft Montee Ball or C.J. Anderson?
— Fantasy Douche (@FantasyDouche) June 2, 2015
One was a major bust over the past two seasons. The other finished 11th in Fantasy scoring among running backs in standard leagues and 10th best in PPR leagues respectively. The answer seems pretty simple right? What if I told you it wasn’t? THE SITUATION
Unlike last year, the C.J. Anderson weight loss plan will hopefully keep him lean all season in 2015: http://t.co/tnb0bM5dLY
— The HSFF Hour (@HSFFHour) June 2, 2015
Montee Ball started out the 2014 season as the lead back for the Broncos and was honestly pretty terrible. He managed to score one touchdown through four games with a YPC average (3.1) which made Trent Richardson look like Barry Sanders. Ball had to have appendectomy surgery just weeks before the 2014 season kicked off, and it clearly had some effect on him as he was never able to show the skill set that we all are still waiting to see. He also struggled with groin problems throughout the season which ultimately led to him being outplayed and losing his job to Anderson.
Make no mistake about it, Anderson earned that spot. However, you better believe that Ball is not going away quietly. While Anderson is trimming down to regain a major role in the offense, the Broncos are currently splitting carries between the two backs.
Yes, I know that could mean nothing at all. But are there any other top-12 finishers at running back that are coming into OTAs “splitting carries” this season?
The Broncos backfield has been a tough one to figure out in recent years. Whether it is due to injuries, fumbling issues, or talent level, the running back situation in Denver never ends up quite how we pictured. Back in 2012, the Broncos RB depth chart looked like this:
Moreno, the fourth-string back, ended the final six weeks of the season as a workhorse, averaging over 21 carries per game during that span.
During Ball’s rookie season of 2013, many expected him to walk away with the starting gig and it drove his ADP way up causing him to bust when he failed to live up to the hype. The Broncos running back depth chart coming into 2013 was:
Moreno, once again the underdog, ended the season with 1,038 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns finishing in the top 10 in fantasy points for running backs.
Here was the depth chart in Week 1 of 2014:
As stated earlier, Anderson outplayed Ball and finished the season with 849 rushing yards to go along with eight touchdowns in only eight games as the lead back. But is that really enough to justify his second-round ADP? Add in the fact that 30% of his fantasy production came from just two monster three-touchdown games, and Anderson has boom or bust written all over him.
As history shows, the Broncos’ running back situation has been everything but predictable. Assuming Anderson will be the work horse through 16 games this season is very risky as is the assumption that Ball will not be involved in the offense.
Anderson’s ADP is currently 2.05 according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com as opposed to Ball’s asking price of 11.11. So to answer the question of who to draft, we have to look at the value in each pick.
Drafting Anderson in Round 2 is a very risky proposition We would have to assume that he starts the season as the feature back, holds that spot for the remainder of the season, and most importantly stays consistent in production from the small sample size we saw last season.
Now all of those things could very well end up happening. However, is it worth a second-round pick to find out? My answer, would be no. But if you do end up drafting C.J., it is imperative you handcuff him with Ball in the later rounds.
Ball on the other hand, could completely bust and it wouldn’t really hurt you because you drafted him at the end of the Round 11. With that being said, his ceiling could be as high as the top 10. If there is even a sliver of hope that Ball will be heavily involved in one of the top offenses in the NFL, his enticing ADP makes him an incredible value pick and he should be owned everywhere.