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Insider

Broncos secure Marshall, lose Knowshon

8/17/2009

Although the Denver Broncos secured one of their top weapons late last week when Brandon Marshall got some good news off the field, the team lost rookie running back Knowshon Moreno to injury this past weekend.

Moreno, who's on average the 29th running back being selected in ESPN.com fantasy live drafts and the 64th player overall, suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee in Friday night's preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers. A weekend MRI showed a mild sprain, and the University of Georgia product is expected to miss two weeks. He might be back for the final preseason game, or he might not.

For now, Correll Buckhalter remains atop the team's running back depth chart, but who are we kidding? A healthy Moreno was going to zoom past Buckhalter at some point anyway, but now fantasy owners might want to pause a bit before using a sixth-round pick on Moreno. The Broncos placed pretty much all their top running back options on injured reserve a season ago, one in which Peyton Hillis led the team with 343 rushing yards. Moreno gained 18 yards on three carries Friday, while Buckhalter gained 4 yards on four rushes.

As for Marshall, the good news came in the form of a positive legal ruling, as a Fulton County, Ga., jury declared him not guilty of a misdemeanor battery charge. Marshall has had numerous off-the-field issues in the past, but this result officially puts the remaining list of criminal charges behind him. The wide receiver is being selected as one of the top 10 wide receivers in some leagues, and he is a terrific fantasy option when on the field. This favorable ruling is one less factor pulling him from that goal. Had Marshall been found guilty, it's likely the NFL would have suspended him. Now Marshall just has to deal with offseason hip surgery and a contract he allegedly is unhappy with.

&#8226 Sticking with the AFC West, former Bronco Ashley Lelie signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend, making them the latest team to believe that he can help out the receiving corps. Since catching 54 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns with Denver in 2004, Lelie hasn't been the most productive receiver. He has been with the Falcons, 49ers and Raiders and now joins a crowded crew in Kansas City that includes Amani Toomer, Bobby Engram and, oh, that Dwayne Bowe fellow, too. I happen to be a believer that Matt Cassel will put up decent numbers, but there are no guarantees any other wide receiver on the team besides Bowe will be fantasy-worthy, especially Lelie. He's more of a downfield threat than Toomer or Engram, but still, he's Ashley Lelie.

&#8226 I'm not sure in which kind of league setup Rex Grossman would be drafted -- maybe an AFC South-only league? -- but the former Chicago Bears quarterback is expected to miss a month because of a hamstring injury he suffered in Saturday's preseason game. The backup quarterback for the Houston Texans is more relevant than most, because enticing starter Matt Schaub has missed five games each of the past two seasons. But look for Dan Orlovsky to fill the role that Sage Rosenfels filled last season. We mock, but people looking for bye-week help did own Rosenfels in 2008. I saw it with my own eyes.

&#8226 Speaking of durability questions, Brandon Jacobs is a second-round pick in most leagues, but with Derrick Ward now in Tampa Bay, a coveted spot is open in the Giants' backfield for someone to get backup carries. Ward managed to rush for more than 1,000 yards last season. Everyone assumes Ahmad Bradshaw will be the next guy in, and now that interesting rookie Andre Brown has a torn Achilles tendon and will miss the season, it certainly helps Bradshaw's cause. Danny Ware has carried the ball twice in two seasons and looks like the only competition for Bradshaw.

&#8226 LaDainian Tomlinson played this past weekend. You might think that means nothing, but the great LT hadn't played in any preseason games since 2005. And you know what? He's expected to play this weekend, too, marking the first time he will play in multiple games during the same preseason. Does this matter? Well, the Chargers have been noted slow starters the past few seasons, so why not get the star running back some August reps? I still think he's in for another big season.

I've been on vacation for the past week. Good to see that the Brett Favre talk still hasn't stopped.