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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fantasy football: The rising value of Knowshon Moreno

Oh, that crafty John Fox.

First, the then-Panthers coach got some productive years out of Jake Delhomme.

Next, he completely revamped his Broncos offense on the fly in 2011, switched to Tim Tebow at quarterback and won a playoff game -- on an 80-yard Tebow pass ... in overtime ... against the Steelers.

For his next act, Fox, after an injury landed running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve, led all of us to believe Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball would get the bulk of the carries for his playoff-bound team.

In the hours leading up to kickoff Sunday, however, Twitter was nice enough to inform us fantasy freaks that it would be Knowshon Moreno -- who had been inactive for every game since Week 2 -- as Denver's starting back against the Chiefs.

Moreno responded by rushing for 85 yards on 20 carries and catching four passes for 26 yards.

It was a rare case in which you could have acquired a starting running on the waiver wire -- on Sunday afternoon just before kickoff.

Moreno, likely because many owners weren't aware of the news until it was too late, is still available in more than 95 percent of the leagues on

If he can be had in your league and you're still in the playoff chase as the final week of the regular season in most leagues commences this week, make a claim for the player the Broncos drafted 12th overall in 2009.

Prior to Sunday, Moreno had eight carries for 15 yards this season. In the last two seasons, he has played in a combined 10 games.

All of which might make us forget he was decent in 2009 and '10, when he rushed for a combined 1,726 yards and 12 touchdowns in 29 games. In that span, he also caught 65 passes for 585 yards and five scores.

That's a 16-game pace of 1,275 total yards, 36 receptions and nine total TDs.

Moreno likely won't wow you the rest of the way, but he should be a decent flex play or a low-level No. 2 running back, especially in Weeks 14, 15 and 16.

This week, Denver will play Tampa Bay, the league's leading run defense at 81.5 yards per game. The Bucs are allowing 3.4 yards per carry.

In the following three weeks, Moreno will face defenses ranked 28th (Oakland in Week 14), 26th (Baltimore in Week 15) and 19th (the Browns in Week 16) against the run. The Raiders have given up the second-most rushing TDs (15), and the Ravens and Browns have allowed a combined 19 rushing TDs in 22 games.

Unless Fox decides to fool us again, you should expect Moreno to get the bulk of the carries the rest of the season (Hillman had three rushing attempts on Sunday), which automatically makes him a flex-play candidate in any league.

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