While Peyton Manning was yucking it up with the best in sports at the ESPY Awards last night, many eager fantasy football fans were grinding over their rankings, projections and value picks. Especially those considering Denver fantasy options.
Yes, it’s almost fantasy football’s best season: draft season. Many, like me, will spend much more time than your average bear looking into fantasy strategy. But as we close in on training camp, lets take a look at the fantasy football options in Denver.
Although Peyton Manning was having the time of his life, while not getting hit, Broncos fantasy options haven’t been the same since his departure.
Demaryius Thomas was downright unguardable with Manning under center up until 2015. Now, Thomas is a player many are considering in the early fourth round of a 12-team standard league draft.
Think about that for a second, pick #39. Fantasyfootballcalculator.com has DT as the 15th wide receiver off the board. If he hangs this long in your drafts, jump on him there. With Mike McCoy and his patented bubble screen back, Thomas could easily sneak into the top seven even with an uncertain quarterback situation.
Sanders is being valued even further down at the #32 wide receiver spot. Sanders situation is a little trickier for me. He’s a point per reception (PPR) value. But in standard, he’s a receiver that you’re going to want to package with a heavily targeted red zone receiver ala Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Jordy Nelson and A.J. Green among others.
Sanders is going to have those big games where he goes off for 100 yards and two touchdowns but predicting them is terrible. So if you just set him in your lineup and forget him, you won’t miss on the boom weeks.
With C.J. Anderson it’s about two things: health and offensive line play. C.J. and the Broncos came out of the gates flying until the schedule revealed the Denver’s blocking inadequacies.
Anderson was in the top 10 rushing in the first four games, but then dropped off heavily before being lost for the season.
Currently Anderson is going as pick #55 overall and running back #24. He’s being taken behind part timers and rookies with uncertain playing time.
C.J. is a great value much like Demaryius Thomas, and paired with a #1 back, Anderson could provide a solid floor and some great touchdown upside.
Last season, the Denver defense was drafted like the top defense overall and they played top five. The offensive deficiencies put the veteran unit in bad situations all year long.
But with a top five unit back, grabbing this defense a few rounds earlier than the typical round 14/15 defensive and kicker neighborhoods could yield elite points at an underrated fantasy spot.
Others receiving votes
Devontae Booker left much to be desired after taking over for C.J. Anderson. Much has been made of the departure of Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme to a more running back friends scheme under McCoy. Booker is little more than a backup or handcuff to Anderson. Although I wouldn’t advocate handcuffing running backs.
Jamaal Charles has a unique opportunity to leap frog Booker on the depth chart if he can prove during training camp and the preseason that he’s healthy. Long gone are his days of starting and carrying the load, despite what he told reporters in June. Charles could be the change of pace back to C.J. Anderson and be a fun bye week fill in if healthy.