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Denver Broncos Fantasy Football Preview

Drew Lock
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is one of the bright young quarterbacks in the NFL. Can he lead the Broncos deep into the playoffs?

By Craig Forrestal

There are a lot of questions in Denver. Will Drew Lock take the next step? Is Courtland Sutton potentially an All-Pro WR? Can Noah Fant be a big-time TE in the NFL? Will Justin Simmons stay long-term in Denver? How will Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay coexist? Can Bradley Chubb return from injury and return to his prior level? The Broncos look to improve on their 7-9 season which will be no easy task in a tough AFC West. However, Drew Lock was 4-1 as a starter for the Broncos leaving hope for the future.

Schedule:

  • Week 1: Titans
  • Week 2: @ Steelers
  • Week 3: Buccaneers
  • Week 4: @ Jets
  • Week 5: @ Patriots
  • Week 6: Dolphins
  • Week 7: Chiefs
  • Week 8: Bye
  • Week 9:@ Falcons
  • Week 10: @ Raiders
  • Week 11: Chargers
  • Week 12: Saints
  • Week 13:@ Chiefs
  • Week 14: @ Panthers
  • Week 15: Bills
  • Week 16: @ Chargers
  • Week 17: @ Raiders

Players To Know:

  • Drew Lock-QB: Say whatever you want about Pat Shurmur the Head Coach but he gets respectable fantasy seasons from his QBs. Case Keenum was QB14 in 2017, Eli Manning was QB17 in 2018 and if you combine Daniel Jones and Manning from last season it would be QB9. Now, I feel that Lock is the most talented of the QBs mentioned. I have always like Drew Lock and was surprised when he didn’t go in Round 1. The Broncos went out got weapons for Lock because Emmanuel Sanders was the #2 leading receiver for Denver last season and he got traded to the 49ers. Sanders only played 7 games for Denver. Denver added KJ Hamler and Jerry Jeudy through the draft to bolster the pass-catching options. Additionally, they added Melvin Gordon as well to the RB room. Everything is in place for Lock to take a huge step forward this season from his 1,020 passing yards, 7 TD and 3 INT in 2019.
  • Melvin Gordon-RB: The Melvin Gordon Contract Holdout situation didn’t go as planned. Gordon saw Austin Ekeler run away with the lead back role for the Chargers and the blockbuster deal he hoped for never came. Gordon eventually agreed to a 2-year-deal worth $16 million and $13.5 million guaranteed. Even though there are other talented backs in Denver expect Gordon to account for roughly 60% of carries. Gordon, I believe, fits nicely into the running offense of Pat Shurmur. Gordon is a one-cut and go type of back. Gordon will also work as a 3-down type of back for Denver. You just don’t pay that much money for a backup. I’m a little less worried about Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman than others.
  • Phillip Lindsay-RB: Lindsay figures to be the #2 back behind Gordon. While he has rushed for over 1000 yards in both of his seasons in the NFL there is no denying that the addition of Gordon wasn’t good for Lindsay. Lindsay will still factor but barely. Shurmur is notorious for heavy a one-back heavy system and giving that guy a lot of work. History is not on the side of Lindsay and for that reason, I’m out on him.
  • Courtland Sutton-WR: This is the season that Courtland Sutton breaks out. He will have Lock for the whole season and will not have to deal with the game of musical chairs at QB like he did last season. Sutton has always had remarkable size for the WR and position and his route running continues to develop and become more refined. I feel this is the season that Sutton will post 75-80 catches for 1200-1300 yards. Sutton will probably be drafted in the Adam Thielen range but I am more excited for Sutton than most this upcoming season.
  • Jerry Jeudy-WR: The Broncos got their guy at 15 overall in the draft. While Jeudy oozes talent he did not land in the best offense as they want to establish a run game. While there are still balls to be caught int he Denver offense don’t consider Jeudy anything more than a WR4 or WR5. He will catch balls and be the #2 WR not as good as Emmanuel Sanders but better than DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick.
  • KJ Hamler-WR: Hamler is explosive but the same rules apply to Hamler that apply for Jeudy. Hamler will find himself in the slot almost exclusively which will limit his snaps to 3 WR sets. Hamler will have a few nice games as a rookie but not enough to chase him.
  • Noah Fant-TE: Fant is worthy of a late-round draft pick as he showed good flashes last season. While the Broncos added a whole cast of new toys Fant has a chance to finish as a Top 10 TE. Think of it like this he is a lotto ticket. He will start for Denver and is a low-end fantasy starting option early in the season. Nobody thought much of Darren Waller at this time last season either.
  • Albert Okwuegbunam-TE: Albert isn’t as much of a player of impact but someone to know. He played college ball with Drew Lock and the two had a nice connection as they combined for 881 yards and 17 TDs in that time. The Broncos may decide to go to 2 TE sets to get Albert O out on the field with Noah Fant to exploit the athleticism they have at the position, but it is mere speculation. Just remember Albert O should anything happen to Fant.

Defense:

The Broncos defense posted respectable numbers in just about every fantasy category last season, but they are not a unit that can be counted on every week. Once the offense proves to be more consistent do not consider Denver to be more than a match-up based option in the early season. The defense has been stellar in the past and it seems as if they reached a deal with Justin Simmons; one of the best safeties in the NFL. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will continue to provide the pass rush presence and it will be seen how Chubb will rebound after having his 2019 season cut short. In the secondary, I mentioned Simmons earlier and he paired well with Kareem Jackson forming one of the better safety tandems in the NFL last season. However, the CB position is going to be a position of interest during training camp. Upfront there is Jurrell Casey and a bunch of bodies to battle out the rest. It isn’t a bad cast upfront it is just a bunch of guys of roughly equal talent.

Potential Breakout Players:

  • Drew Lock-QB
  • Courtland Sutton-WR

Rookie To Know:

  • Jerry Jeudy-WR
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