Daily Dr. Roto — July 27, 2018
Denver Broncos Team Preview
Outlook: The Broncos defense remains light years ahead of their offense, but a new starting QB and new starting RB might propel Denver back into the playoff picture.
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QB: There are no words that can describe what kind of surprise Case Keenum was last year in Minnesota. He led the Vikings to a deep run in the playoffs and showed that he is capable of being a starter in the NFL. Keenum excels in short throws (a staple in OC Bill Musgrave’s offense), and he keeps his mistakes to a minimum (only 7 INTs in 481 passing attempts last season). However, Keenum is 29 years old and far from a sure thing. He brings a sense of stability to Denver’s offense and signing him is probably a quicker way to the playoffs than investing in a first round pick. Former first-round pick, Paxton Lynch, will be Keenum’s backup and he would do well to learn as much as he can from him in team meetings. Lynch has potential, but right now needs to learn the game more thoroughly before he can be trusted.
RB: Denver drafted Devontae Booker in 2016 out of Utah hoping that he would be a potential solution at running back. Sadly, Booker has shown that he is not a special player and is at best a backup in a pro offense. With C.J. Anderson also out of town (he is now in Carolina), GM John Elway knew that he had to address the running back situation in this year’s NFL draft. The team selected Royce Freeman in the third round with the expectation that he will be their new starter. Freeman showed terrific skills while at the University of Oregon including running for 60 TDs in his career. While he is not adept just yet at catching the football, he should be the first and second down runner that the team needs for their offense.
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WR: Denver’s dreadful passing game last season wrecked the Fantasy stats of both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Thomas struggled to get open and only had one game where he had 100+yards receiving. Keenum does not have a huge arm, but he is accurate, and Thomas should be able to take advantage of opposing defenders. He is probably a fourth-round pick, but with any luck, Thomas could return third round value. Emmanuel Sanders should benefit even more from Bill Musgrave's offense. Sanders is one of the top route runners in the game, and I expect him to be a target monster for Keenum this season. Sanders is not a sexy Fantasy pick (probably because he so rarely scores TDs), but he is a great choice in PPR formats due to his consistency. The team drafted Courtland Sutton out of SMU in the second round of this year's draft to compete for playing time. Sutton presents a huge target (he's 6'3), and he is very good in small spaces. He needs to improve his straight-line speed and learn the route tree. He is one to watch in dynasty leagues, as Thomas’s window is slowly closing.
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TE: Jake Butt sat out last season after tearing his ACL in the Orange Bowl during his senior season at Michigan. Before his injury, he was one of the better tight ends in college football, and the Broncos stashed him on IR this season hoping that he would make an impact in 2018. It usually takes tight ends about two or three years to learn the position in the NFL, so it would not shock me to see Jeff Heuerman begin the season as the starter while the team works Butt into the offense.
K: Brandon McManus has a huge leg, but he is not always accurate (he made only 50% of his 50+ yard attempts last season). That said, the team often stalls in the red zone, and he gets to play in the Mile High Air of Denver, making him a reasonable Fantasy option.
D: The Broncos defense starts and ends with Von Miller who might just be the best pass rusher in the NFL. The team added Bradley Chubb in this year’s draft to work the opposite side of the field, and I expect that Denver will have one of the highest sack totals in the NFL.
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