|By Shawn Childs, Tuesday, August 20, 2019|
(Editor's note: This is the free preview of the Denver Broncos team outlook. If you already are a premium subscriber to FullTime Fantasy, click here for our premium expanded Denver Broncos Team Outlook. The expanded team outlook also includes sections covering the coaching staff, offensive line, schedule, free agency, 2019 draft picks, defense & more.)
Broncos Offense Outlook
The Broncos have talent on defense, which points to them running a ball controlled offense. Even with success running the ball last year (4.9 yards per rush), the Broncos only managed 24.6 rushes per game due to game score. They finished with a 40/60 run/pass split, which may become more fun favoring in 20189 based on their coaching chances and Joe Flacco starting at QB.
QB Joe Flacco - Bust (overvalued)
Update 10/12/19After five games, Flacco only has six TDs while averaging 252 passing yards per game. His only game of value came in Week 4 (303/3) while averaging a career-high 7.5 yards per pass attempt. The Titans allowed about 20.0 Fantasy points to QBs in each of the previous four games (19.80, 20.00, 20.65, and 20.65), pushing them to 12th in QB defense. Tennessee has 17 sacks with QBs gaining 6.9 yards per pass attempt. A poor matchup with minimal upside in a grinder game.
QB Drew Lock - Dynasty Only
Update 12/29/19Over the last two games, Lock turned into a dink and dunk QB (5.5 yards per pass attempt), which led to 400 passing yards with one TD and one Int. His best showing came in Week 14 (309/3). Oakland inched up to 28th in QB defense (24.39) with better play vs. QBs in the previous two games (20.75 and 13.95 Fantasy points). Before those games, the Raiders gave up 30-plus Fantasy points to five of their previous eight contests. Oakland needs a win, but their pass defense will be challenged in this matchup. Possible dark horse.
RB Phillip Lindsay - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 12/29/19Lindsay played well last week, which led to a 4 X game (118 combined yards with a TD and two catches on 21 touches). He is the 18th ranked RB in PPR leagues (12.85 FPPG) with two other games of value (29.00 and 24.70 Fantasy points), with the latter coming in Week 5. Lindsay averages 16.1 touches per game while needing 42 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season straight year. In Week 1, he gained 66 combined yards with four catches on 15 touches against the Raiders. Oakland is 21st in RB defense (25.90 FPG) with six teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (39.90, 37.90, 33.20, 32.70, 34.70, and 34.60 Fantasy points). The Raiders allow 4.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring 19 TDs. A home game bodes well, but his higher salary does hurt his chance at success in a split role.
RB Royce Freeman - Quality Backup
Update 11/16/19Freeman regressed in his last game (14 combined yards with one catch on six touches) after scoring a TD in the previous two contests. Over nine games, he gained 555 combined yards with two TDs and 27 catches while averaging 13.3 touches per game. A decent floor in the season-long games, but Freeman lacks the desired explosiveness to be a factor in the daily games.
RB Devontae Booker - Deep-league Only
Over 23 games at Utah, Booker gained 3,395 yards with 23 TDs and 80 catches. His missed the end of 2015 due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. Devontae has upside in vision and quickness with questionable top end speed. Booker has some ability in the open field while owning an edge in strength. Over 45 games and six starts in his three years in the NFL, Booker has 1,909 combined yards with seven TDs and 99 catches on 386 touches. Devontae gained only 3.8 yards per rush in his NFL career with improved success in 2018 (5.4 yards per rush). At this point in his career, Booker will only offer complementary value while offering pass-catching upside. Only a third wheel in a cog that runs much better with a two-back rotation.
WR Courtland Sutton - Quality Backup
Update 12/29/19CB Darius Slay didn’t shadow Sutton last week, but the Lions still held him to a short game (5/41 on ten targets). Over four starts with Drew Lock behind center, he has 18 catches for 228 yards and two TDs on 32 targets with most of the damage coming in Week 13 (4/74/2). Sutton scored five of his six TDs at home, but he has a lot more success in yards per catch on the road (18.4) than at home (12.8). His only other playable game in the daily contests came in Week 4 (6/62/2). After 15 weeks, Sutton has 68 catches for 1,060 yards and six TDs on 117 targets. He beat the Raiders in Week 1 for seven catches for 120 yards. Oakland ranks 22nd in WR defense (35.27 FPPG – 164/2550/17 on 264 targets) with seven WRs gaining over 100 yards receiving (Courtland Sutton – 7/120, Demarcus Robinson – 6/172/2, Marquez Valdes-Scantling – 2/133/1, DeAndre Hopkins – 11/109), Kenny Golladay – 4/132/1, Marvin Jones – 8/126/1, and A.J. Brown – 5/153/2). CB Trayvon Mullin isn’t a stud in coverage, but he continues to improve after being drafted in the second round in 2019. I expect Sutton to play well in his final game in 2019.
WR Emmanuel Sanders - Quality Backup
Update 10/12/19Twice over the past three games, Sanders delivered an empty score (2/10 and 1/9) while drawing a couple of top CBs. Over his other three games, he delivered three playable games (5/86/1, 11/98/1, and 5/104). On the year, Sanders averages seven targets per game. CB Adoree Jackson will give long catches and some TDs based on his failure in 2018. So far this year, he’s played at higher level with minimal passes to defend. Sanders is a top WR with the skillset to win in this type of matchup. Both teams would like to run, which requires the Broncos to chase on the scoreboard for the Broncos’ WRs to be productive in the passing game.
WR DaeSean Hamilton - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Over four seasons at Penn State, Hamilton caught 214 passes for 2,842 yards and 18 TDs. His best season in TDs (9) came in 2017, but he played his best ball in 2014 (82/899/2) as a freshman. Hamilton has a slot WR skill set with strength in his route running and short area quickness. He projects as the insurance card for Emmanuel Sanders. In his rookie season, DaeSean caught 30 of his 45 targets for 243 yards and two TDs with his best success coming over the last four games of the season (7/47/1, 7/46, 6/40/1, and 5/49) after Sanders suffered his injury.
TE Noah Fant - Sleeper (undervalued)
Update 12/21/19Fant battled foot, hip, and shoulder issues over the past couple of weeks. He hit on a long catch and a TD vs. Houston in Week 14, setting up his best game (4/113/1) of the year. Last week he only saw three targets in a snow game in Kansas City, leading to two catches for 56 yards. Over his previous seven games, Fant has 22 catches for 389 yards and two TDs on 37 targets. He delivered an impact game as well in Week 9 (3/115/1). The Lions rank 18th in TE defense (12.26 FPPG – 64/749/5 on 92 targets) with the most damage coming in two games (KC – 9/128 and MIN – 10/118/1). Denver will run the ball a lot in this game, which limits the targets for Fant. His direction remains positive and he does have a low salary.
TE Jake Butt - Dynasty Only
Over four seasons at Michigan, Butt caught 138 passes for 1,646 yards and 11 TDs with his best success coming in his junior year in 2015 (51/654/3). He suffered a torn ACL in his bowl game in 2017 leading to him sliding in the 2018 NFL Draft (fifth round). Jake has plus hands with questionable separation skills off the line of scrimmage. He missed all of 2017 with minimal value last year (8/85). On the outside looking in while needing to prove he can stay healthy.
TE Jeff Heuerman - Not Draft Worthy
Denver was hoping third-round pick TE Jeff Heuerman would help lessen the blow for the loss of TE Julius Thomas in 2015, but he tore his ACL in practice in May after being drafted. Heuerman has plus strength with solid value as a blocker. His resume is short in college in the passing game (52/792 and seven TDs) with questions about his route running ability. Last year he caught a career-high 31 balls for 281 yards and two TDs on 48 targets.
PK Brandon McManus - Bye Week Fill-in
Over the last four seasons with Denver, Brandon made 103 of his 126 field goal chances (81.7 percent) plus 129 of 131 extra point tries. In 2018, he struggled form 50 yards or more (2-for-7) after making 11 of 19 kicks from long range over the previous three seasons. The Broncos will have success rushing in TDs in close leading to minimal upside in field goal chances. Only a backup kicker with occasional playable value.
Denver - Bust (overvalued)
The Broncos fell to 21st defending the run (1,913 yards) in 2018 with ball carriers gaining only 4.5 yards per rush. They allowed 11 TDs with 15 runs over 20 yards.
Denver ranked 20th in the NFL in passing yards allowed (3,929) while allowing 26 TDs and 17 Ints. The Broncos finished with 44 sacks. QBs gained 7.7 yards per pass attempts with 56 completions over 20 yards.
DT Shelby Harris played well as a rotational player in 2018. His best asset comes defending the run, but he can add to the pass rush if given an opportunity. Last year he had 39 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one Int, and four defended passes while being in the field for 391 plays. In 2017, Harris picked up 5.5 sacks. Rookie DT Dre'Monte Jones projects as a much upside option on the interior of the line after getting drafted in the third round in the 2019 NFL Draft.
DE Adam Gotsis showed some growth in his third year in the league after getting drafted in the second round in 2016. Gotsis doesn't offer an edge in any area at this point of his career. He projects to be an undersized (6'4" and 287 lbs.) run clogger with limited upside rushing the QB. Gotsis maintains his position well with solid athletic ability.
DE DeMarcus Walker has only been on the field for 122 plays over the last two years after Denver added him in the second round in 2017. Walker should add as a rotational pass rusher with upside moves when attacking the QB. DeMarcus has a limited range in run support, plus he needs to improve his effort on more players.
DE Derek Wolfe plays well against the run with fading value sacking the QB. Over the last two seasons, Wolfe has four sacks after posting 14 combined sacks in 2015 and 2016.
DE Bradley Chubb had 60 tackles and 12 sacks in his rookie season after getting drafted in the first round in 2018. His best asset is his first step off the snap, which leads to high upside rushing the QB and defending the run. Chubb is a fighter with a high motor. Bradley should handle himself well in pass coverage. His next step in his development is his hands with better discipline in his attack off the ball.
Von Miller is the difference maker at the second level of the defense. Last year he posted 48 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and three defended passes. In his 120 games played in the NFL, Miller has 98 sacks with high value defending the run. The Broncos drafted him in the first round in 2011.
Todd Davis worked his way into more playing time over the last three years. He'll add value to run support with risk in coverage and minimal value in sacks. Davis did set a career high in tackles (114) and defended passes (7) in 2018 while return in his only career Int for a TD.
Josey Jewell doesn't have the speed (4.82) to match his lack of size (6'1" and 234 lbs.), but he makes up for it with his anticipation and film study. Josey won't have winning value when asked to change direction. His best opportunity will come attacking the line of scrimmage. In his rookie season, Josey chipped in with 58 tackles with no sacks and risk in coverage.
CB Chris Harris has been a top player at his position in his career. He allows minimal damage in yards per catch with receivers rarely scoring TDs. Last year he had 49 tackles, one sack, three Ints, and ten defended passes.
CB Isaac Yiadom should move into the starting lineup after only seeing the field for 263 plays in his rookie season. Yiadom lacks upper body strength, but he plays with power and a willingness to hit. Isaac has press coverage skills with the hips to finish coverage over the short areas of the field. His technique off the ball needs work while lacking value in deep coverage. He had offseason shoulder surgery, which may put him behind heading into training camp.
Kareem Jackson will move to safety this season after spending most of his first nine years in the NFL at cornerback. Last year he set career highs in tackles (87) and defended passes (17). Justin Simmons developed into a top run defender in 2018, but he still has risk in coverage. Last year Simmons set career highs in tackles (97) and Ints (3) while adding four defended passes.
2019 Fantasy Defense Outlook
The Broncos lost their way on defense in 2018 after offering a stout run defense their previous season. They have two difference maker rushing the QB plus a top CB. They have serviceable talent on the defensive line to slow down the run, but questions at two linebacker spots. The change in coaching staff bolds well for their rebound. Buy the sacks while hoping the QB pressure turns into fumbles and Ints — a top ten Fantasy defense despite some risk at multiple positions in the starting lineup.
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