Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman turn-in mixed performances, Broncos backfield remains unclear

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Not much separates Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman in the Broncos backfield after three weeks of preseason action. We break down the fantasy implications.

Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman each turned-in mixed results versus the Rams on Saturday, and the Broncos backfield situation remains murky.

More: For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report

Ball carried the ball 14 times for 43 yards and a touchdown, though the majority of his work came with the second-team offense. He also dropped an easy pass in the red zone from Peyton Manning, turning his head to run before looking the ball into his hands.

Hillman, who is the current starter for the Broncos, appears to be losing his grip on the job. For the second straight week, he had a fumble returned for a touchdown, this one likely the result of Hillman expecting a whistle after halted progress. The whistle never came, and linebacker Alec Ogletree ripped the ball out from his hands and scored.

This also opens the door for Knowshon Moreno, who despite only getting chances with second and third teamers, appears to be the most proficient in pass protection among the Broncos backs. Moreno carried the ball five times for 33 yards after entering the game for the two-minute drill in the first half. Lance Ball also scored a touchdown on seven carries.

Fantasy Spin: Much to the dismay of fantasy owners everywhere, Denver's backfield has not gotten any clearer. In fact, the opposite reigns true as the summer has progressed, and now even more running backs are in the conversation. Montee Ball is still the favorite to lead the team in carries by season's end, but head coach John Fox does not have a favorable history with fantasy owners in terms of how he manages his backfield. The rookie would be a great option to have on your fantasy bench, but his fifth-round average draft position is too steep a price for a bench stash.

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