Team by Team Fantasy Analysis:
So everyday for the next month and 2 days I’ll profile each NFL team. We're going to start in the AFC West and eventually make our way east so without further adieu...
Update: Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter have both gone down with injuries. Moreno is out 3-4 weeks with a hamstring and Buckhalter hurt his back. Read more here.
First up: DENVER BRONCOS
2008 record: 8-8
2009 record: 8-8
2010 prediction: 8-8
Week 1: at Jacksonville
Week 2: Seattle
Week 3: Indianapolis
Week 4: at Tennessee
Week 5: at Baltimore
Week 6: New York Jets
Week 7: Oakland
Week 8: at San Francisco
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Kansas City
Week 11: at San Diego
Week 12: St. Louis
Week 13: at Kansas City
Week 14: at Arizona
Week 15: at Oakland
Week 16: Houston
Week 17: San Diego
Denver has a tough first 6 weeks to open the season. They could easily be 1-5 at worst, 3-3 at best. I’m going for a middle of the road and putting them at 2-4 with wins against Seattle and the Jets. The good news is that after week 6, they get some relief playing the bay area teams-although, Oakland and San Francisco will be better teams this year-especially Oakland-these are games that are must wins and Denver will squeak by w/a pair of W’s and then face KC at home after the BYE week, which should give them the edge against a divisional rival. Playing St. Louis and Houston at home in late December was a gift from the scheduling gods that killed them in September and October. But after all is said and all of Tebow’s scriptures for his rookie season are analyzed the Broncos will still be a bubble team of mediocrity at 8-8.
Quarterbacks: Simply put No. Do not enter, Do not pass go-go straight to fantasy jail if you pick up one of them up. Danger. Think radiation signs.
Kyle Orton will be the starter in September and it will be his unfortunate luck that the schedule could not be worse facing Baltimore, NY Jets, Tennessee and Indy. If only he’d be starting in December could he get some W’s. At best, in a 14-16 team fantasy league he is a back up, but definitely not worth picking up in the draft. Wire guy only.
Brady Quinn: Before McDaniels goes to Timmy as the starter, he’ll give Brady a shot. Since Quinn’s been in the league he’s never been able to play a snap without looking over his shoulder. This makes him well suited for playing for the Broncos, but unfortunately for Broncos fans-he’s usually too busy looking over his shoulder (or maybe in the mirror) to be an effective fantasy pick up.
Tim Tebow: Josh McDaniels will go out of his way to justify his idiotic decision to waste a first round pick on Tebow so with that in mind…he’ll get some playing time early in the season. They’ll design some short yardage plays to keep the drive alive, a wildcat-esque set and goal line settings to work Timmy in the game. Think: part decoy, part demigod. He won’t be in enough to warrant a draft pick, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he reaps the benefit of the schedule gods and finishes the season taking his team to another early (but by J. McDaniels standards) promising exit.
Running Backs: All you need to know is Knowshon Moreno (thank you cheese). Last year Moreno led rookies with rushing yards and TDs. He only averaged 3.8ypc, but he’ll be a bigger part of the offense this year and should break 1000 yards and 10 TDs. He’s good enough to start in most fantasy leagues.
Correll Buckhalter: He’ll be Moreno’s back up, but not worth handcuffing him. He’s in his 10th year in the league and will be used sparingly.
J.J. Arrington: Drafted by the Cardinals in 2005, Arrington has struggled to get his NFL career off the ground. He signed last year with Denver and blew out his knee. He’ll make the team, but has little fantasy value…ok, zero fantasy value.
Wide Receivers: Losing Brandon Marshall will hurt, not only the QBs, but also a guy like Eddie Royal who really benefitted from all the double coverage. But, there are a few guys, Royal included, who could be worth spots on your roster.
Eddie Royal: The 3rd year player will look to step up and go from sidekick to star. He’ll look to return to 2008 form when he had 91 receptions and almost 1000 yards. Last year he was a fantasy bust-only 37 receptions, 345 yards, and a bagel for TDs. A few reasons for the lower numbers last year: no Brandon Marshall for part of the season and no Jay Cutler, no Mike Shanahan. New QB, new coach, all led to a down year. Royal is worth a late round pick. He can provide some depth on your roster and you could walk away with a steal.
Brandon Stokley: The veteran receiver had his best years playing for another horse themed team. He’s not worth a spot on the roster.
Jabbar Gaffney: Gaffney was the best WR last year for Denver. He teamed up with Orton for 54 receptions and over 700 yards. Hardly the type of numbers that make you want to draft someone, but he’s worth a look on the wire if you need help in certain weeks
Demaryius Thomas: Rookie, Georgia Tech. I like Thomas. He was an acrobatic, big play receiver in college and could be the real deal. He’s someone to follow during the preseason as he could easily be a starter and impact player in Week 1.
Eric Decker: Rookie, Minnesota Another promising rookie to keep your eye on this season. He has great hands and had a reputation for never missing a targeted throw. A slot receiver with size?
Tight Ends: Daniel Graham-the veteran or Richard Quinn-the 2nd round pick last year. Go with Graham as a backup in 14-16 team leagues. If you’re playing a 10 or 12 team league you can do much better.
Defense: I never put too much weight on drafting Defenses or Kickers early and there is nothing about this team that says pick before the 16th round, but the Broncos traditionally have one of the better Defenses in the league. This year is no different. They’ll be a starting D in most leagues.
Kicker: Matt Praeter-see note on when to draft, but Praeter is worth drafting with your last (or if you jump the gun, 2nd to last pick). It’s painful to lose a game because you’re K shanks one wide right, but Praeter plays in Denver (thin air alert) with an offense that sputters inside the red zone so he gets lots of opportunities to put up points.