Punch Drunk Wonderland

Is It Time to Worry About Montee Ball?

Second year running back Montee Ball seemed poised to breakout in 2014, and many picked him high in fantasy drafts. Ball carried a 2014 average draft position of 15 and was typically the #8 running back off the board in fantasy drafts. Now with three games under his belt many owners may be getting nervous. In terms of gameday production he’s compiled only 165 rushing yards and 1 touchdown in those three games. Even worse, he’s looked terrible in pass protection. 2013 showed us that the running back that can protect Peyton Manning the best tends to be the one that rises to the top of the depth chart.

Our friends at numberFire.com have taken a look at Ball and whether it’s time to be worried.

If you drafted second-year running back Montee Ball this year in fantasy football, chances are you’re a bit worried he may not live up to the preseason’s lofty expectations. Perhaps memories of last year’s underwhelming sophomore class keeps flashing through your mind. Remember Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, David Wilson and Lamar Miller? There were incredibly high expectations for each as second year players, yet the results were extremely disappointing.

Is Ball just another sophomore struggling to live up to the hype?

The 2014 Numbers

Through three games, Ball is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry while struggling to protect Peyton Manning in pass protection. His inconsistency has led many to question his fantasy value going forward, begging the question of whether or not his owners should be worried about his slow start.

While the opportunity to be the lead back in a Peyton Manning offense has turned even mediocre talents into valuable fantasy commodities (Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai, anyone?), through three contests, we have yet to see anything that would lead us to believe a breakthrough is on the horizon for Ball. Even more concerning has been relative success that backup CJ Anderson has seen in limited action, posting a rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) total that’s 4.32 points higher than Ball. And while the coaching staff hasn’t given us any indication that a change is likely, it’s simply another indicator that the sophomore running back may not have the season many expected.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...