When asked about where he is now compared to his rookie season, Broncos running back Montee Ball sounded like he was reminiscing on a goofy childhood photo.
"So much easier the second time around," Ball said, laughing. "Now [the playbook is] just super easy, so I'm able to play a lot faster."
"Instead of being a little nervous in the backfield with Peyton, now I’m completely calm."
The second-year back credits a major part of that calmness to "kind of making my own checks" while watching film, guessing what Manning might do in that situation. He says he's now able to anticipate some of Manning's calls before they're made, speeding up his own execution.
Now that Knowshon Moreno (and the #5 fantasy RB in 2013) has signed with the Dolphins, it’s clear that Ball’s stock has taken a huge jump. Prior to the Moreno signing, Ball was being drafted in the 4th round due to the uncertainty of his situation. With Moreno out of the way, he’s starting to go in the late 1st/early 2nd. Ball had a higher YPC (4.7) than Moreno (4.3), but wasn’t quite the weapon in the passing game. Still, his catch percentage (receptions/targets = 74.1%) wasn’t bad for a running back. The only real question is whether or not his workload will suffer if his fumbling problem rears its ugly head. We currently have him ranked as our #6 RB in standard formats.