Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the next edition of the series, we head back to the AFC West and check out the Denver Broncos. The Broncos were 8-8 last year, with an offense that scored 20.4 ppg (20th among 32 teams) and a defense that yielded 20.2 ppg (12th).
The Broncos might be the most confusing team for fantasy owners to get a handle on. Who will be their quarterback this season? Who will be their No.1 receiver? About the only sure things on the Denver roster is running back Knowshon Moreno and kicker Matt Prater.
Kyle Orton - The writing is on the wall for Orton (ADP 198). He'll be displaying his talents in 2010 to get a gig with another team in 2011. Denver didn't go out and trade for Brady Quinn and spend a first-round draft choice for Tim Tebow for nothing. So Orton has a year, or less, to show his worth. Unfortunately, the team also traded away his No.1 target, leaving him with a nondescript receiving corps. Even with Brandon Marshall (now in Miami), Orton could only manage 3,802 yards and 21 touchdowns vs. 12 interceptions. This year the numbers figure to be lower than that, which makes him a fantasy non- entity. Brady Quinn had little value as a fantasy quarterback in Cleveland and even less in Denver, but if Tebow (ADP 232) progresses quickly he might become the team's starter before the year is out. And certainly down the road, Tebow should be the Broncos' quarterback so his selection in keeper leagues has long-term value.
Knowshon Moreno - Moreno finished 16th in rushing yards among running back last season in a split-back situation with Correll Buckhalter. Although he should get a few more carries in 2010, there is nothing to indicate that he will become a "feature" back this year. Unfortunately, to get Moreno on your roster, you will have to use a third-round selection (ADP 25) which is mighty pricey for a guy who didn't crack the 100-yard mark last season.
Correll Buckhalter - When healthy and getting double-digit carries, Buckhalter can produce decent numbers. Unlike Moreno, Buckhalter (ADP 165) cracked the 100-yard mark twice in 2009. The bad news, however, is that Buckhalter is rarely completely healthy and has only played a 16-game schedule once in the past six seasons. He's not a fantasy starter but should be "handcuffed" to Moreno.
Jabar Gaffney - Guessing who will get the majority of Marshall's 154 targets is a key to a big 2010 fantasy season. Gaffney finished off the 2009 season with 21 receptions for 282 yards in the final two games which could indicate he'll be the team's No.1 receiver. If true, you can get a nice bargain on Draft Day considering Gaffney has an ADP of 150, the 53rd receiver off the board.
Eddie Royal - Royal (ADP 126) was a major disappointment in 2009, following a 91-catch 2008 season with 37 receptions for 345 yards last season. He was mainly used as a decoy on long pass patterns which didn't get him many targets. In the off season the team spent a first-round selection on Demaryius Thomas. Despite having the highest ADP of any Broncos' receiver, I can't see how he will return to the "old" days of 2008 and I'd look elsewhere for receiving help.
Demaryius Thomas - Thomas (ADP 144) has a lot of talent, but it's very raw. He'll have a lot to learn before he is ready to become a No.1 receiver which means he likely won't do much in the first half of the season. Drafting him on his potential works in keeper leagues, but I'm not sure he'll produce much in 2010 for single-season leagues.
Brandon Stokley - A 1,000-yard receiver back in 2004 with Peyton Manning, Stokley managed just 19 receptions for 327 yards last season and that included an 87-yard touchdown catch on Opening Day. Barring injury, Stokley has no fantasy value in 2010.
Daniel Graham - Graham is a nice tight end, but has no fantasy value in a year where there is a multitude of talent at the position.
Matt Prater - Prater finished seventh in fantasy scoring among kickers, going 30-for-35 on field goal attempts. He's got a decent leg which in the thin air of Denver allows him to try plenty of 50+ yard field goals (nine over the past two seasons). He should be a solid fantasy starter in 2010 and is currently the ninth kicker off the board.
After not being selected among the top-15 defenses in 2009, the Broncos surprised everyone by finishing fifth in defense/special teams points with 123. A solid pass rush with 39 sacks, the team also turned the ball over to the offense 30 times (13 fumbles, 17 interceptions) and scored four times. Fantasy owners aren't believing in Denver, making them the 14th defense off the board, so a bargain can be had here. Beware of the advancing age in their secondary.