DENVER BRONCOS

by @fantasyfootball.therapist

Russell Wilson: Last year was the first time in Wilson’s career that he finished outside the top 12 in terms of overall scoring. Even further, it was only the 2nd time in his career he finished outside the top 10 (2016). His rushing production was a big reason for that. Wilson saw career lows in rush attempts as well as rushing yards per game; over half of what his career averages normally are. Despite the career lows, Russ  still averaged 18.4 points per game, which would have been 13th best in the league last season. So why do we think he’ll improve? The wide receivers? The running backs? The scheme? None of that really matters. Wilson has been able to produce top-end fantasy numbers for one of the most run-heavy teams in the league. Adding to this, the Seahawks have always been middle of the road in total plays per game, bottoming out last year as the 32nd ranked team in total plays per game. Denver has typically been inside the top 15 in terms of plays per game. More opportunities means more fantasy points. The rushing production should regress back to the mean. The Broncos added  Nathanial Hackett, who spearheaded the 2017 Jaguars and made it to the AFC Championship. If he can get the 5th most points and 6th most total yards out of Bortles, imagine what he can get out of Russ. 

Javonte Williams: In 2021, Javonte WIlliams finished as the RB17 in PPR formats and was ready to have a BOOM season with Melvin Gordon set to hit free agency…Well that lasted a good 3 months. Gordon is back in Denver, which halts Javonte’s top-5 potential. The concern here is that Javonte finished 26th overall in terms of points per game, which is high-end RB3 numbers. He finished so high because of his durability. He was one of 4 players inside the top 30 points per game leaders to play in all 17 games. Unfortunately, we can’t assume players will get injured. On a positive note though, Javonte should break from the 50/50 split with Gordon this year. Javonte was used more as a pass-catcher compared to Gordon, so we should expect mid RB2 numbers next season.


Melvin Gordon: Gordon re-signing with the Broncos is great for his value. People are all over the Javonte hype train, so Gordon will drop in rankings. That’s where we need to take advantage of his average draft position (ADP). Last year, Gordon actually averaged more ppg than Javonte (12.2 to 12.1). It’s likely that Javonte will take on a larger role in 2022, but don’t count out Gordon just yet. Even in that “okay” offense last season in a 50/50 split, Gordon still finished 11th in total rushing yards and 8th in total touchdowns. WIth a major upgrade at QB to former college teammate, Russell Wilson. That initial chemistry could pay dividends for Gordon. Off-field chemistry has a good way of finding itself on the field. Remember when Kupp and Stafford went out of their way to have breakfast every morning together? It obviously won’t be at that level, but Gordon has great flex value with a weekly ceiling of high-RB2 numbers

Jerry Jeudy: The hype around Jerry Jeudy this season is real and it’s very warranted. Russell Wilson has historically loved targeting his slot receivers. When Wilson was healthy, his slot receivers have finished in the top 12 all but 2 times in his career. For a team that ran almost the majority of their offense in 3-WR sets, this heavily favors Jeudy’s potential output. A lot of people could be turned off of Jeudy because of his 3 lower body injuries (low ankle sprain and achilles strain in 2020, high ankle sprain in 2021), but given his younger age and the ability for ligaments and muscles to heal well when given time, I have no concerns about his durability for 2022 and beyond. 

Courtland Sutton: 2019 could have been considered Sutton’s breakout season when he finished as the WR19 overall. But when you look further into it, he finished as the WR27 on a points per game basis. That could be due to him playing Joe Flacco and Drew Lock though. In 2020, unfortunately Sutton tore his ACL, so we didn’t get to see if that potential would continue. Now in 2021 Sutton played a full season, but finished behind Tim Patrick in terms of points per game. Jeudy missed a good chunk of the season, but he finished 0.3 points per game behind Sutton (8.8 to 8.5). Given the Broncos like to use 3-WR sets, this doesn’t favor the outside receivers as much as it does for the slot receiver. Sutton could be fighting for target share with Patrick all season long.

Albert Okwuegbunam: For the past two seasons Albert O has been sitting behind Noah Fant on the depth chart. Fant is now a Seahawk and Okwuegbunam now has his opportunity to shine. Unfortunately, Albert O’s stats for 2021 don’t jump off the page because of his backup role, but when Russell Wilson had a competent TE to throw to, they put up TE1 numbers. Even last year when Russ came back from his hand injury, Gerald Everett was the TE8 overall from weeks 10 through 18. The time before that when Russ had a decent TE in Jacob Hollister, he was the TE12 overall after coming back from injury during weeks 7-17. If players like them can put up TE1 numbers, imagine the potential Albert O has. WIth that, we can compare him to another tight end with almost the exact build, speed and overall metrics: Jimmy Graham. During Graham’s healthy seasons with Russ, he finished as the TE4 and TE6. The potential is there, so all we need to do is draft him and capitalize on that potential.

Fantasy Football Therapist is an Instagram account (@fantasyfootball.therapist) covering all aspects of fantasy football. Their main focus is on advanced analytics and injuries. When it comes to statistics, it can always be broken down to find the best players for you to take on draft day.

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