Broncos 2018 denver broncos Fantasy Preview

The Broncos continued to struggle to find their post-Peyton Manning quarterback in 2017. Trevor Siemian began the year as the starter for the second straight season, but injuries and poor play (12 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions) limited him to just 11 games. Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch earned four and two starts, respectively, and both were extremely unimpressive. It was almost like in "The Office" when Michael Scott starts his own paper company and as it's going bankrupt he just says he’ll keep starting new ones. The Broncos kept starting new quarterbacks, but none of them were very good. Running back C.J. Anderson was a bright spot for Denver, finishing with 1,228 all-purpose yards and four total touchdowns (overall RB17). Backup Devontae Booker was poised to see an increase in snaps out of the backfield, but offseason wrist surgery limited him in camp and hampered his progress (299 rushing yards, one touchdown for the year). The Broncos also signed former Chiefs standout Jamaal Charles with hopes he could recapture his Kansas City magic, but he was a shell of himself throughout the year, finishing with 296 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Broncos' wideout tandem of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both posted five-year lows in receptions and receiving yards. Some of that can be chalked up to the quarterback mess discussed above, but don't forget that both players are now over 30. Thomas was still a good flex play -- finishing as the overall WR23 -- with 949 yards and five touchdowns, but a recurring ankle injury limited Sanders to just 555 yards in 12 games. Denver's three tight ends -- Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman and Austin Traylor -- combined for 433 receiving yards and three touchdowns. No bueno.



WR - Broncos

FACT: All five of Thomas' receiving touchdowns in 2017 came from the shotgun despite the fact that his yards per reception under center (15.3) was noticeably higher than his yards per reception from the gun (10.3).
Offseason Moves

The Broncos answered their biggest question mark from last season when they signed 2017 surprise breakout quarterback Case Keenum. The former Viking, playing for his third franchise since going undrafted in 2012, threw for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. Keenum had never started more than nine games in a season or thrown for more than nine touchdowns in a season before last year. He should at least stabilize the Broncos' quarterback situation, even if he isn't able to repeat his 2017 renaissance. Lead back C.J. Anderson signed with the Panthers and the Broncos drafted Royce Freeman in the third round to fill the void. Freeman and Devontae Booker will head into camp competing for carries, but the team reportedly liked what they saw from Freeman in OTAs. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders return as the top two wideouts, looking to rebound from last year with a more dependable quarterback. The Broncos also drafted Courtland Sutton in the second round and he should be the WR3 in Denver. The tight end group is the thinnest on the offense. Virgil Green signed with the Chargers and the Broncos are now left with Jeff Heuerman, Austin Traylor and Jake Butt, of a combined 17 catches in 2017, as their lead tight ends. We'll see how that works out.

Sleepers & Busts

When the Broncos released C.J. Anderson in April, it left an enormous hole in the backfield. Denver running backs amassed 400 carries in 2017 and Anderson possessed 245 (61.3 percent) of those attempts. There are a ton of touches available. Enter Royce Freeman. The Oregon product totaled at least 15 rushing touchdowns and over 1,300 yards in three of his four college seasons. He never dipped below 5.4 yards per attempt in a season. Rookie running backs' recent fantasy dominance has been well-documented, but Freeman fits the mold. Freeman can be a steal in Denver if he’s able to separate from Devontae Booker in training camp. Keep an eye on him this summer.

To understand Denver's wideout problems last season, you have to look at the quarterback position. This unit didn't really have a chance to shine. But for Emmanuel Sanders, it's different -- even if he doesn't think so. Sanders emerged in 2014 with Peyton Manning under center -- going off for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns -- and was a great No. 2 option for the two years after that (at least 1,000 yards each year). But at age 31, Sanders' best days are behind him. Also behind him are rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, picked in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Tread lightly if you think Sanders is going to regain his 2014-16 form again this season.

Fantasy Depth Chart
QB Case Keenum Paxton Lynch
RB Royce Freeman Devontae Booker De’Angelo Henderson
WR Demaryius Thomas Emmanuel Sanders Courtland Sutton DaeSean Hamilton
TE Jeff Heuerman Jake Butt
K Brandon McManus