As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to prepare you for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense while providing players we’re targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
>> READ: Broncos Team from Rondé Barber
Broncos Fantasy Football Preview
Head Coach: Sean Payton (first season as Broncos HC)
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Lombardi (first season as Broncos OC)
Key Offensive Additions:
Key Offensive Departures:
Key Offensive Rookies:
- WR Marvin Mims Jr. – second-round draft pick
Points Per Game: 16.9 (32nd)
Passing Yards: 211.3 (19th)
Rushing Yards: 113.8 (21st)
Vacated Targets: 146 (14th)
Pass: 63 percent Run: 37 percent
OL Rank: 12th
Russell Wilson had a disastrous 2022 campaign, leading the least effective offense in the NFL. However, there are a few reasons for optimism. First, in the two games after Nathaniel Hackett was fired, Wilson was second among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game (24.4). Second, and more importantly, is that Sean Payton is a massive coaching upgrade.
You should not count on Wilson to be your plug-and-play fantasy starter every week. You should instead treat him as a high-end streaming option in redraft and a high-upside option in tournaments.
Javonte Williams averaged 12 carries and 19 receiving yards per game during his rookie season before putting up nearly identical stats to start the 2022 season. In college, he always split work with now-Jets RB Michael Carter.
Williams is coming off the October 2022 ACL and LCL tears in his knee, so we shouldn’t expect him to handle a higher workload than he did in his first two NFL seasons. He has formerly operated as the 1A in a running back committee, and that’s his ceiling for late in the 2023 season.
Samaje Perine is most likely the primary ball carrier until Williams returns to full health. I’d estimate this shift happens around midseason. For the first two months, expect Perine to tote the ball 10-15 times per game, mixing in two to five receptions.
Perine is a fantasy RB2 early on. Williams will be a tough player to start early, and there’s always a chance he’s 2022 J.K. Dobbins, who suffered a similar knee injury the year prior and then finished last season with fewer than 100 touches.
The upside for Williams is he remains ahead of schedule and handles 60 percent of the running back touches from October onward, garnering most of the goal line carries and third down work.
Perine is 20 pounds heavier than Williams and routinely displaced Joe Mixon on third downs, so I’m skeptical Williams can wrestle that role away from Perine. Ultimately, whoever gets touches in this backfield should be startable in fantasy.
Payton has a long history of getting the most out of his offensive skill position players. Perine is the safer option earlier in the season. Williams is a bet on draft capital and on an ahead-of-schedule rehab from the knee injury.
Behind those two, no Broncos running back should be drafted with confidence. Tyler Badie is the next man up, but the Ravens’ 2022 sixth-round draft pick does not have a firm grasp on the depth chart.
He put up 1,604 rushing yards and 54 receptions in his final year at Missouri. However, he’s under 200 pounds and profiles as a player who NFL teams never give more than five to 10 touches in any game.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
Since 2018, Wilson has the second most passing touchdowns on vertical routes, accounting for 35.1 percent of his total passing touchdowns. We can reasonably expect Payton to put Wilson in a position to do what he does well: throw the ball downfield.
We expect Payton to move Jerry Jeudy around to get him in 1-on-1 situations. In the final five games of 2022, Jeudy had more than 70 receiving yards in four of them. He also had two games with more than 100 receiving yards and one game with three touchdowns. Jeudy is the best vertical route runner on the team and the top option in this passing attack.
Courtland Sutton will start the year as Denver’s WR2, but we should expect him to be a streaky player with more value in tournaments than in season long.
Rookie Marvin Mims’ skill set matches up nicely with Wilson’s desire to throw the ball deep. Mims is on our short list of rookie wide receivers you can get late enough in drafts to be an upside stash.
There are some concerns Adam Trautman will receive more playing time than initially expected. Trautman is more of a blocker than a receiving option, but this could have a negative impact on Greg Dulcich. For fantasy purposes, treat Dulcich as a volatile tight end option with considerable upside.
Ian Miller: Dulcich (TE11)
Dulcich became just the fourth rookie tight end to post at least a 15 percent target share on an average depth of target deeper than nine. He joined Vernon Davis, Kyle Pitts and Evan Engram. In what is likely an improved offense, the second-year tight end’s upside is massive.
Broncos We’re Targeting or Avoiding in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: Target Jeudy
Ryan Reynolds: Target Jeudy
Jordan Vanek: Target Jeudy, Mims
Follow our Team on Twitter
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM