Denver Broncos Fantasy Football Team Preview (2024) (2024)

Denver Broncos Fantasy Football Team Preview (2024) (1)

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1.Previous Entries

2.Fantasy Football Quarterback Outlook

3.Fantasy Football Running Back Outlook

4.Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Outlook

5.Fantasy Football Tight End Outlook

7.Win More With RotoBaller

8.More Fantasy Football Analysis

Welcome to my2024 fantasy football preview for the Denver Broncosas part of myteam-by-team fantasy football outlooks series. We're officially onto the AFC West. This division is starting to look more and more like the AFC East when Tom Brady dominated it with the Patriots. The Broncos released former starting quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason, ensuring they'll have a new signal-caller under center for the 2024 season. As of right now, that player looks to be rookie quarterback Bo Nix. From a talent standpoint, this looks like one of the worst rosters in the NFL.

While head coach Sean Payton is a widely respected figure, it's fair to wonder if he's the same coach he was in New Orleans. The fact is, the situation in Denver is a multiyear rebuild, even if Nix is good. If he's not good, this could take even longer. If you've been following this series, we'll break down the four fantasy-relevant positions. We'll discuss what fantasy managers should expect from these Broncos and whether or not fantasy managers should be buying these players at their current prices.

There are so many places fantasy managers can find ADP rankings, all of which differ to some extent. I used the ADP from FantasyPros, which can be found here. If you want to invest in your fantasy football leagues, consider subscribing to our premium account. Our premium tools can help you dominate your fantasy leagues. If you'd like to purchase our premium tools at RotoBaller, use promo code "BOOM" at checkout for a 10% discount.

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Fantasy Football Quarterback Outlook

Bo Nix: QB32, ADP 189

The Broncos are projected to score the third-fewest points in the NFL and have an over/under of just 5.5 wins. Their receiver group of Courtland Sutton, Marvin Mims Jr., and Troy Franklin is arguably the worst in the NFL. Their tight-end group of Greg Dulcich and Adam Trautman is among the worst in the NFL. Their running-back group of Javonte Williams, Jaleel McLaughlin, and Audric Estime is in the bottom 10.

We’ve seen very few quarterbacks overcome the odds Nix has stacked against him, especially as a rookie. The few that have done it have been elite rushing the football. Think Justin Fields in his sophom*ore season. He wasn’t a rookie, but the Bears’ offensive system was as poorly cast as Denver’s. Fields was a fantasy phenom because of what he could do with his legs. While Nix may be a capable runner, he’s not nearly to the level where his rushing stats will make up for lackluster passing production.

While Nix’s acquisition cost is cheap enough, it’s hard to envision his potential upside. Could he outplay his positional ranking? Sure, but will it be in a manner significant enough to matter? Given his lack of rushing upside and the dreadful state of Denver’s offense, it seems very unlikely. There’s likely more upside with Gardner Minshew II or Aidan O'Connell, both of whom are going after Nix. If either of those passers starts the full season with the Raiders with pass-catchers Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, and Brock Bowers, they could produce high-end QB3 numbers, likely an outcome Nix can realistically reach.

Verdict: Sell Bo Nix

Fantasy Football Running Back Outlook

Javonte Williams: RB26, ADP 85

Jaleel McLaughlin: RB55, ADP 167

Audric Estime: RB59, ADP 196

Williams was playing in his first season after that brutal knee injury in 2022 when he tore his ACL, LCL, and PCL. Quite honestly, it was an achievement for him to have played 16 games last year, but realistically, we shouldn’t have been expecting him to be anywhere close to his normal self. Fantasy managers can be more optimistic with that injury in the rearview window. If nothing else, his poor performance last year lowers the price, although maybe not low enough.

He finished with 264 touches in 16 games, averaging 16.5 touches per game, but was one of the most inefficient running backs in the league last year. While he scored 177.2 PPR points, his expected total was 219.5, giving him a differential of -42.3, the fifth worst. That shouldn’t be entirely surprising, considering the injury he was overcoming. 49 running backs had at least 100 carries last year. Williams was 36th in yards per carry, 43rd in rush success rate, 33rd in yards after contact per attempt, and 33rd in broken tackle rate.

#Broncos HC Sean Payton on Javonte Williams yesterday: “He’s been looking good. I think historically speaking, when you talk to the experts, they say that the complete heal finishes at two years. Obviously you begin playing before then, but he’s been doing well. He’s in shape. I… pic.twitter.com/L0HfmzQXwr

— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) May 31, 2024

As a rookie, Williams was much more effective. In 2021, he finished eighth in yards after contact per rushing attempt and first in broken tackle rate. He created 3.42 yards per touch, seventh best among running backs, and 81 evaded tackles (sixth most). Williams also showed some talent in the passing game, finishing with a 1.45 yards per route run average, 17th best. He finished as the RB24 that year with a 12.3 PPR PPG average. Don't be surprised if his efficiency returns this season. If it doesn’t, McLaughlin could be a major winner.

78 running backs had at least 70 carries last year. McLaughlin was second in yards per carry, 11th in rush success rate, and eighth in yards after contact per attempt. Compare those numbers to what Williams did last season and ask yourself how confident you are that Williams maintains his hold on lead-back duties. Last year, the Williams, McLaughlin, andSamaje Perine trio combined for 150 targets, 128 receptions, and 843 receiving yards. That kind of passing volume for a team's backfield is absurd. If McLaughlin takes on a bigger role in the passing game, he could become one of the better values at running back in drafts right now.

One of the craziest stats I've found this offseason: Of the top-20 team RB target share seasons since 2011, Sean Payton's teams own 8 of them.

— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) May 21, 2024

Estime had 2,261 yards and 30 touchdowns on 366 rushing attempts the past two seasons. Among running backs with at least 150 carries, Estime was third in yards per carry, second in PFF rushing grade, and third in yards after contact per attempt. He was also 16th in most broken tackles and carries, gaining 10 or more yards despite being just 26th in rush attempts.

Sean Payton Coached Teams
+ Rank by Team Running Back (PPR) FPG

2023: 6th
2022: N/A
2021: 21st
2020: 1st
2019: 8th
2018: 2nd
2017: 1st
2016: 1st
2015: 2nd
2014: 1st
2013: 2nd
2012: 1st
2011: 1st

top-6 finishes in 10 of 12 seasons

— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) May 21, 2024

This backfield has value, evidenced by the tweet above. Payton has a long history of producing highly relevant fantasy backfields, including last season. The problem last year was that the workload was far too dispersed. Historically, almost every Sean Payton-led offense has generated a lot of PPR points. 2023 was no different. That alone makes this a backfield to target, especially since getting shares of these players is not overly expensive.

Verdict: Fair Price on Javonte Williams (slightly high due to injury and inefficiency concerns), Buy Jaleel McLaughlin, Fair Price on Audric Estime

Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Outlook

Courtland Sutton: WR47, ADP 99

Troy Franklin: WR73, ADP 170

Marvin Mims Jr.: WR75, ADP 173

Not to anyone’s surprise, but given Nix’s assessment above, there’s very little to get excited about here with Denver’s receivers. Last year, Sutton finished as the WR31 with a 10.5 half-PPR PPG. However, his expected half-PPR PPG average was just 8.9, the 48th best. Sutton scored nine touchdowns during the fantasy football season (Weeks 1-17), tied for fifth among receivers, and still only finished as the WR31. Russell Wilson finished ninth in touchdowns (26) despite missing two games and having the third-best touchdown rate, two marks Nix is almost certainly not going to come close to reaching.

If Sutton’s nine touchdowns are cut in half, his half-PPR PPG average would be significantly affected. Sutton finished with 90 targets, 59 receptions, 772 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Outside of those double-digit touchdowns, Sutton left a lot to be desired. Check out some of his efficiency stats below, according to PlayerProfiler:

  • 20.3% target share (38th among receivers)
  • 20.2% target rate (49th)
  • 1.73 yards per route run (41st)
  • 8.6 yards per target (37th)
  • 13.1 yards per reception (46th)
  • 1.61 yards per team pass attempt (35th)
  • 41.1% route win rate (89th)
  • 26.3% win rate vs. man coverage (106th)
  • 2.6 YAC/Reception (70th)
  • 6.7% drop rate (10th highest)

Sutton wasn't exactly good last season. Despite playing in 16 games, being healthy throughout the year, and operating as his team's No. 1 receiver, Sutton finished 43rd in targets, 44th in receptions, and 37th in yards. At this stage of his career, he's best viewed as a No. 2 receiver in the NFL. He's borderline undraftable for fantasy because it's hard to see a true ceiling in his outcome.

Mims had a completely forgettable rookie season despite getting second-round draft capital. His route participation was just 51% despite Denver’s offense begging for playmakers. Not only that, but he did very little with the opportunity. He posted a measly 13.4% target rate and averaged just 1.53 yards per route run.

Franklin's fall to the fourth round was incredibly surprising, given some of his collegiate numbers, early declare status, and strong 9.02 RAS (relative athletic score). Before the NFL Draft, Franklin was widely viewed as a second-round prospect. Fantasy managers must adjust their opinion of him because draft capital carries a lot of weight, but it’s important to remember he was the second pick in the fourth round. Denver traded up to get him, meaning it essentially used third-round draft capital to acquire him. Still, given his strong advanced metrics from college and a solid film assessment from Reception Perception, there are plenty of reasons to remain positive.

Finding this year's Tank Dell.

Highly unlikely any rookie will break out in the same way as Dell.

This is just a comp in "unexpected rookie breakout."

Criteria:
▫️Rookie QB
▫️Good play-caller
▫️Opportunity for volume
▫️Drafted RD4+
▫️Virtually free

My pick:

Troy Franklin pic.twitter.com/BHCTMxWroH

— Frank Ammirante (@FAmmiranteTFJ) May 31, 2024

Franklin posted a 30.7% college dominator (56th percentile), 24.1% target share (70th percentile), and a 19.6 breakout age (74th percentile). In his final season in college, catching passes from Nix, Franklin had 114 targets, 81 receptions, 1,383 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Out of 126 collegiate receivers with at least 75 targets, Franklin had the 14th-highest PFF receiving grade, 37th-most yards after the catch per reception, sixth-highest yards per route run average, and the second-best quarterback rating when targeted.

Verdict: Sell Courtland Sutton, Buy Troy Franklin, Dart Throws on Marvin Mims Jr.

Fantasy Football Tight End Outlook

Greg Dulcich: TE34, ADP 235

Dulcich essentially missed all of 2023 due to recurring hamstring injuries. He played in just two games and didn’t log a snap count higher than 35%. Fantasy managers will likely have forgotten how good of a prospect he was and how well he played his rookie season. Over his final two seasons at UCLA, Dulcich had 106 targets, 68 receptions, 1,242 yards, and 10 touchdowns. His senior year was his best, however.

In 2021, Dulcich finished sixth in the country in receiving yards by a tight end. His 17.3 yards per reception average ranked second among 45 tight ends with at least 40 targets. Dulcich also averaged 7.0 yards after the catch per reception (eighth highest) and 1.93 yards per route run (16th). Dulcich finished with a 27.3% college dominator, a very impressive total for a tight end. He’s an elite athlete with an 8.24 RAS, which included a 4.69 40-yard dash time. That led to excellent draft capital, being selected in the third round.

Don’t forget about Greg Dulcich & Jelani Woods at the end of your drafts.

Both were drafted relatively high (RD3, 73rd & 80th overall), flashed as rookies, but missed essentially all of YR2 to injury.

Dulcich posted the 5th highest YPG (41.1) by a rookie TE since the year 2000… pic.twitter.com/W1i8a0oL2d

— David J. Gautieri (@GuruFantasyWrld) February 10, 2024

As a rookie in 2022, Dulcich posted a 17.2% target share (13th highest among qualifying tight ends), 18.6% air yards share (seventh), 10.6 average depth of target (third), 312 unrealized air yards (seventh), 12.5 yards per reception (ninth), 1.21 yards per team pass attempt (11th), and had the third-most deep targets (12). He was TE17 as a rookie with a 7.0 half-PPR PPG. That was with Jerry Jeudy on the roster and Russell Wilson playing far, far worse than he did in 2023.

Considering his collegiate profile, strong rookie season, incredibly low cost of acquisition, and wide-open target hierarchy in Denver, Dulcich is one of the easier tight-end buys late in drafts. He checks off almost every box fantasy managers want in a tight end. He had a productive collegiate career catching the ball with a strong college dominator. He’s an elite athlete who received high draft capital. He showed target-earning potential as a rookie, is a threat after the catch, and has an easy pathway to being the No. 2 target-earner on his team. That’s a buy all day long at his price.

Verdict: Buy Greg Dulcich

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Denver Broncos Fantasy Football Team Preview (2024) (2024)

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