Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Kyle Orton may have the arm strength of a 12-year-old girl, but he did post some solid fantasy numbers in 2009 (3,802 yards, 21 TDs, 12 INTs). However, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler are gone, and Brady Quinn and eventually Tim Tebow will offer some competition for the starting job. If Orton struggles - we all saw what happened in that Week 17 game when he didn't have Marshall at his disposal - he'll be quickly benched in favor of Quinn. I'd recommend staying away from this ugly situation. I'll be shocked if Orton plays all 16 contests.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Knowshon Moreno's knee injury limited him early in the season. A rookie wall, acknowledged by both he and his coaching staff, limited him late in the year. Josh McDaniels' obsession with changing Denver's blocking scheme limited Moreno throughout his entire rookie campaign.
Ryan Clady will miss the first few games of the season, but all isn't lost because Denver drafted two interior linemen, Zane Beadles and J.D. Walton. With Moreno in better shape, he'll have an improved season. Unfortunately, his production won't be maximized because opposing defenses won't have any respect for Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 1,050 rushing yards. 35 catches. 375 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Points: 190. Projected 2010 PPR Fantasy Points: 225.
Correll Buckhalter, RB, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Correll Buckhalter will receive about a third of Denver's carries early on, but who knows how long he'll last at 32 years old? The Broncos' offense just isn't good enough to warrant drafting a handcuff running back unless you're in a league with more than 12 teams.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 500 rushing yards. 24 catches. 250 receiving yards. 2 total TDs.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Points: 87. Projected 2010 PPR Fantasy Points: 111.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Demaryius Thomas can't run routes or catch the ball consistently, but does that really matter in Josh McDaniels' offense? McDaniels will utilize Thomas like he used Brandon Marshall in Weeks 1-16 and Jabar Gaffney in the final game of the season - and Gaffney caught 14 balls for 213 yards in the finale. Assuming McDaniels doesn't sour on Thomas - and with Josh "I'm Josh f***ing McDaniels" McDaniels there are no guarantees - Thomas could have a prolific rookie year.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 70 catches. 900 yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Points: 120.
Projected 2010 PPR Fantasy Points: 190.
Jabar Gaffney, WR, Broncos. Bye: 9.
What a shame - had the Broncos not drafted Demaryius Thomas, Jabar Gaffney could have been a 2010 fantasy star. In the final two weeks of the 2009 season, Gaffney registered 21 receptions, 282 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Thomas will be utilized in the Brandon Marshall role instead of Gaffney - or at least that's what I think Josh McDaniels will do. McDaniels is far from conventional, so there's no telling what he's planning.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 46 catches. 575 yards. 2 total TDs.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Points: 69.
Projected 2010 PPR Fantasy Points: 115.
Eddie Royal, WR, Broncos. Bye: 9.
After an incredible rookie campaign, Eddie Royal was a non-factor in his first season with Josh McDaniels. McDaniels, in his infinite wisdom, used Royal exclusively as a deep-threat decoy, even though Kyle Orton didn't have the arm to get Royal the ball consistently. Thus, Royal rotted away, catching just 37 receptions for 345 yards and no touchdowns.
Royal would be best utilized in the slot, but putting him there would be a bit too logical for McDaniels. I'm anxiously looking forward to watching some Denver preseason games so I can figure out what McDaniels plans on doing with Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Jabar Gaffney.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 47 catches. 450 yards. 2 total TDs.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Points: 57.
Projected 2010 PPR Fantasy Points: 104.
Marquez Branson, TE, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Daniel Graham's an outstanding blocker, but he's worthless in fantasy football. Dick Quinn is also a block-first tight end. That leaves Marquez Branson, a second-year player out of Central Arkansas, as Denver's pass-catching tight end.
"Yoy didn't see him last year, but we have very high expectations," McDaniels said of Branson. Well, if McDaniels likes Branson, then Branson must be a damn good player.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 35 catches. 425 yards. 2 total TDs.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Points: 54.
Projected 2010 PPR Fantasy Points: 89.
Matt Prater, K, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Following a rocky 2008 campaign, Matt Prater bounced back in 2009, nailing 30-of-35 attempts, including 2-of-3 from 50-plus and 8-of-10 from 40-49. Unfortunately, Denver's offense is just way too mediocre to consider Prater as your fantasy kicker.
Projected 2009 Fantasy Stats: 24-29 FG (2-3 from 50+; 7-9 from 40-49). 26 XP.
Projected 2009 Fantasy Points: 107.
Denver Broncos. Bye: 9.
Elvis Dumervil is one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL. Because of him, Denver had a solid amount of sacks (39) and interceptions (17) last year. Eddie Royal is also a threat to take a kickoff or punt back for six. The Broncos have a solid fantasy defense.