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NEWS: Ronnie Hillman scores as he fills in for Montee Ball (appendectomy).

With Montee Ball (appendectomy) resting through at least the first two preseason games, if not three, Ronnie Hillman took over as the team’s starter during the Broncos preseason opener; Hillman ran the ball six times for 15 yards and a touchdown, while pulling in one reception for five yards. CJ Anderson left the game with a concussion.

SMITTY: Ronnie Hillman just escaped a fumble on his touchdown run, as the ball came out as soon as he crossed the goal line (not a good start for Hillman even though it wasn’t ruled a fumble). Montee Ball could be back for the third preseason game, but even if he isn’t, he should have a decent shot at carrying the ball a couple times in the fourth contest. Even if he doesn’t do that, he remains locked into our top 5-10 running backs for 2014. If he suffers any kind of setback, we will surely adjust that expectation, but in that Denver attack, Ball is in for a huge, huge season. Checkout his Week 1 Power Ranking right here.

NEWS: Montee Ball recovering at home; Peyton Manning looks as sharp as ever?

According to rotoworld, Broncos RB Montee Ball (appendectomy) has been released from the hospital and is now at home recovering. And, according to ESPN, Peyton Manning has never looked sharper than he has in camp.

SMITTY: Clearly there is some risk with Montee Ball heading into Week 1, but honestly, I’m not too worried. Risk is always a part of the game, and while avoiding risk is always a smart play, the appendectomy isn’t something that worries me as far as Week 1 is concerned. Missing first-team reps and getting a touch out of shape, that’s what concerns me, but not enough to drop Ball outside of my top 12 overall (and that’s where I’d draft him, I actually rank him inside my top 5-10RBs for 2014). As for Peyton Manning, while many will knock the idea of selecting him in the first-round in 2014 fantasy football drafts, I have no issues with such a selection. He can win a league tossing for 45-50 scores. He may not repeat last year’s numbers, where he dropped an insane line of 5,477 yards, 55TDs and 10INTs, but I wouldn’t bet against him. He could easily drop 4,500-5,000 yards and 45-50TDs. There are a lot of great quarterbacks to draft in 2014, like 6th-round value grabs Tom Brady and Nick Foles (my favorite way to go) — still, there is nothing wrong with Manning in the first if you’re good at finding sleeper runners and receivers. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Montee Ball could miss entire preseason due to appendectomy; he is expected to be ready for Week 1.

According to Rotoworld, Broncos RB Montee Ball could miss the entire preseason due undergoing an appendectomy. The report suggests that ESPN’s Chris Mortensen believes the Broncos still haven’t ruled Ball out of all preseason action, though. “There’s still some hope Ball will be able to get out there for the end of preseason,” said Mortensen.

SMITTY: The good news is that Montee Ball appendectomies usually require about two weeks of recovery and 100 percent recovery is usually on par for the course in one month. It’s not exciting news if you’re a Montee Ball supporter, but it certainly isn’t going to have us adjusting his Week 1 Power Ranking or his 2014 Full-sason Projections — He remains a lock inside our top 5-10RBs heading into 2014 (with upside for more). If anything should change that projection, we will certainly let you know.

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