Fantasy Football: Breaking Down The Denver Offense

Featured, Sports and Bets — July 28, 2014 at 8:58 pm by

by Babes

We were all privileged enough last year to witness the most prolific and high-powered offense in NFL history in the Denver Broncos.  The Peyton Manning led offense broke countless records, including total points scored, most touchdown passes, and most points scored in the second half.  Most impressively, the Broncos shattered the record for most players with ten plus touchdowns The record had previously  been three, the Broncos had five.  All three starting receivers, the tight end, and Denver’s lead running back all had ten plus TD’s.

Obviously, when you start to think fantasy friendly offenses, Denver will be the first thought in your mind.  Peyton, running back Montee Ball, and number one wide-out Demaryius Thomas are all sure-fire, first-round picks.  Tight end Julius Thomas is going to go mid-third round in most fantasy drafts, Wes Welker is going around the fifth round, and Denver newcomer Emmanuel Sanders is going anywhere from rounds six to eight in most mock drafts.

Virtually every fantasy expert is predicting Manning and his offense to take a small step back this season.  That’s to be expected, considering how unlikely it would be for anybody to repeat such a historical season.  When Manning threw 49 touchdowns in 2004, he followed that up with a “meager” 28 the next year.  Of course, there was a perfectly logical explanation for that, as defenses played back to defend the passing game, which Peyton took advantage of by running the ball more.  Much of the same will happen this year, and benefactor number one is Montee Ball.   Right now, Ball is going off the board in the back half of the first round, but by the start of the season I think he will be a top five pick.  He is a virtual lock for digit touchdowns and well over 1000 yards.  Sure, C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman will see some action, but Denver has nobody else even close to the talent level of Ball.

The interesting debate in regards to this offense is where Julius Thomas should be drafted.  Last year Thomas scored 12 times on 65 catches, and that was with missing two games.  He should have no problem eclipsing that 65 catch mark, but I just don’t see him scoring twelve times again.  We all know that in the fantasy world touchdowns, for the most part, are flukey.  Julius Thomas came out of nowhere last year, but this year he will be a focus of opposing defenses.  But he is a serious mismatch for whoever covers him with his size/speed combination, and he is a very dangerous red zone threat.  That’s why it’s so hard to handicap where Thomas will be drafted.  I put him at the bottom of the tier with Graham and Gronk.  He will be third on my board, but I just don’t trust him like I do the other two who have a more established track record.  If Thomas slips to mid fourth, I will think about taking him, but I just don’t see the value in spending a third round pick on him at this point. There are too many good tight ends that can be had a few rounds later, and that is where the value lies.

As far as the receivers go, I’m going to avoid Wes Welker.  He is one big hit away from a career ending concussion, and his numbers steadily declined as the year progressed.  He is a popular name that will be called well before I would feel comfortable calling it.  Demaryius Thomas will be worth every penny of your first round investment.  Despite the fact that he will constantly draw the opposing team’s best cover man, Thomas will get his.  I would not be the least bit surprised if Thomas notches 90/1800/16 this year.  I legitimately could take Thomas over Calvin Johnson.  The toughest call for receivers is Sanders.  He is the new guy in this offense, and it’s assumed he will take over the role of the departed Eric Decker.  But there are huge differences in their games, first and foremost being the size difference.  Decker, who consistently saw the opposing teams second best corner, would use his size advantage to win a lot of one on one matchups.  Sanders is a good five inches shorter than Decker, and although he is much faster and quicker, he can’t win the one on one battles for contested balls the way Decker did.  That makes him much less of a red zone threat for Peyton Manning.  Sanders does, however, have the versatility to play the slot, as well as outside if something were to happen to Welker.

So all draft day, I will avoid reaching for Welker, Julius Thomas, and Sanders.  But Ball, D. Thomas, and Manning are all worth their pricey first round investment.


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