A 6-10 team last season, the Broncos are going into the season with a different look on offense. They have been rudderless at quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired, so they traded for Joe Flacco to try to bring stability to the position. Denver ranked 24th in Pass DVOA, but the offense was about average due to 5th ranked run game by DVOA. The Broncos’ defense has been solid for years and their top 5 defense by DVOA complements the run game. Despite the solid defense and run game, Denver ran the second most plays per second, trailing only the Colts. The Broncos win total is set at 6.5 wins, so the expectation is for another below-average season.

Team Preview

Key Departures:

Shaquil Barrett, OLB; Case Keenum, QB; Matt Paradis, C; Bradley Roby, CB; Darian Stewart, S; Brandon Marshall, ILB

Key Acquisitions:

Bryce Callahan, CB; Noah Fant, TE; Joe Flacco, QB; Kareem Jackson, DB; Ja’Wuan James, OT

2019 Fantasy MVP

Phillip Lindsay, RB

Lindsay won a lot of fantasy leagues last season. An afterthought during the draft, anybody who scooped him on the wire was happy with the decision. He finished the 13th ranked running back in PPR scoring, so I am a bit surprised to see him being ranked around RB 20 in pre drafts. I have seen people raise concerns about a lack of workload, but this isn’t an issue for me. He wasn’t exactly a workhorse last season with 192 carries and found success with efficiency, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. As for his small stature, it didn’t lead the Broncos to limiting his red zone touches. Lindsay saw 33 of the 60 touches in the Red Zone Denver allotted to running backs.

Even with the arrival of Joe Flacco, this should still be a run first team and Lindsay should retain his role as the lead back. When Denver does pass, Lindsay plays a role and became more involved as a pass catcher towards the end of the year. He was targeted 15 in the final three games, giving him a boost in PPR formats with a slightly more competent quarterback.

2019 Fantasy LVP

Joe Flacco, QB

There simply isn’t a reason to draft Flacco in yearly leagues or roster him in DFS. Peak Flacco wasn’t exactly a juggernaut for fantasy purposes and he’s at the tail-end of his career. He should be a more efficiency version of Keenum, who was the 19th ranked QB in standard leagues, but it’s difficult to see him with a ceiling of a top-12 QB. The run-heavy style of the Broncos should limit his upside although his situation this season is slightly better than it was in Baltimore because of the pace of play increase. Either way, Flacco isn’t and never was elite. Streaming is a preferable option to having him on as a backup.

2019 Breakout Player

Courtland Sutton, WR

Despite his old age, Flacco still has plus-arm strength. Sutton is a downfield threat and the addition of a stronger armed QB should help his production after playing with noodle-armed Keenum last season. With Emmanuel Sanders coming back from a torn Achilles and Demaryius Thomas no longer on the roster, Sutton figures to be the top dog in the passing attack. Sanders is targeting a Week 1 return, but he isn’t a lock to be healthy or cleared to play for the start of the regular season.

Sutton was the third receiver picked in last year’s draft. He was inconsistent in his rookie season, but showed promise. Sutton caught 42 passes for 704 yards, good for an average of 16.8 yards per catch. With a season under his belt, a larger target share coming and a better quarterback under center, I expect Sutton to take a leap forward. He is currently getting taken around the 10th round and his draft stock could rise as the season approaches. If Sutton performs well in the preseason then could be a popular breakout pick.

Final Thoughts

Streaming defenses is typically a good strategy in yearly leagues. With that said, the Broncos D figures to be strong again this season and their season opens with a great matchup against the Raiders. This makes Denver a strong play Week 1 and makes the defense worth reaching for a round early. It is currently getting picked around defense No. 10.

Tight end is a very thin position this season. As a late target with some upside, 2019 first-round pick Noah Fant is a reasonable target. He’s reportedly been turning heads in training camp. Sanders could have a tough time coming back from a torn Achilles at 32 years old, putting Fant in line to be the safety valve for Flacco. Last season, Denver went with a tight end by committee. As a group, they caught 68 passes for 649 yards. All of those looks should go to Fant after a first-round pick was used on him.

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