The NFL Draft Fantasy Preview Series : Cleveland – Chicago – San Francisco – Jacksonville – LA Rams – Tennessee – Jets – Chargers – Panthers – Bengals – Bills – Vikings – Cardinals – Saints – Eagles – Colts – Ravens –Redskins – Lions – Buccaneers
Team Needs: OT, LB, DE
Projected Top Three Picks:
First Round- Cam Robinson, OT Alabama
Second Round- Carl Lawson, DE Auburn
Third Round- Gerald Everett, TE South Alabama
With the news that the Broncos will go into 2017 with Trevor Siemian as their starting quarterback after the retirement of Tony Romo, you have to assume the focus of this team will be to strengthen the offensive line and ride the running game to victories. They’ll start off their draft by selecting perhaps the best OT in Cam Robinson, a mountain of a player to protect the blindside of the quarterback and provide holes for the running game. With the pick of Robinson and addition of Ron Leary, this offensive line has already stepped up in value from the unit they had out there in 2016. The new coaching staff behind Vance Joseph will look to employ a ground orientated attack to control the clock and allow the defense to be on the field less. This should in turn keep the Broncos defense as one of the elite in Fantasy drafts as well.
In the second-round they will add to that defense with the pick of Carl Lawson to add another pass rusher to play opposite Von Miller and Derek Wolfe. With the retirement of Demarcus Ware, adding another piece to this defensive line is a must for the team. This move will help to maintain the Broncos defense as one of the first defensive units off the board during Fantasy drafts.
Trevor Siemian was the weak link to this offense last year, and I don’t see that being any different for 2017. He is very limited in his skills as a QB, not very athletic, arm strength is limited, and accuracy down the field can be a problem. And the fact that Paxton Lynch has yet to beat him out to be the starter tells you just how far off Lynch is to be a viable option. When it comes to Fantasy draft time, Siemian will be a QB that will find a roster due to the talent around him, but he should come off the board late as low-end QB2. He may have a great game here and there, but will be too inconsistent to be trusted in your lineups.
On the outside, it’s really only Emmanuel Sanders and DeMaryius Thomas as the two options in the passing game. The limitations in Siemian’s game hurt these two in 2016, as they struggled to get passes in a timely manner or work down the field for long gains. It was a short passing game, and with CBs playing close to the line, neither guy had success getting off the ball. The same can be expected in 2017 with the new coaching staff’s emphasis on the running game. Expect both Sanders and Thomas to contend for 80 catches and 1,000 yards, but the TDs could be few and far between, which kills their value. Thomas will undoubtedly come off the board first, sometime in round three as a high-end WR2. Where Sanders will last a few rounds longer and fall into the WR3 category. Both will have limited ceilings and will be players that I will likely avoid in drafts for 2017.
The strength of this offense will center around the running attack for 2017. C.J. Anderson is back and fully healthy, and if he stays that way through the course of the season expect a big year from him. Anderson runs with authority, and although he won’t lead the league in yards per carry, his touches per game tend to give him the ability to stockpile stats. He also catches passes out of the backfield, which increases his value in PPR formats. Anderson will be drafted at some point in the third-round as a RB2, but could easily return RB1 value this year if he stays healthy.
His counterpart in the backfield is second-year back Devontae Booker. Booker, once Anderson went down with injury, was hyped by many to be the guy to get off the waiver wire and he proceeded to flounder with the opportunity. He wasn’t the every week staple in the lineup that everyone thought they were getting. He is more of a situational, change of pace type running back to Anderson. I think you’ll see quite a few owners draft Booker early as a handcuff to Anderson this year, which will put him in the RB4 discussion. Both players have a shot to contribute in Fantasy this year, but I see Anderson being given the majority of the workload and it should lead to a big year.
Passing Offense- 230.3 YPG (21st)
Running Offense- 92.8 YPG (27th)
Points Per Game- 20.8 PPG (22nd)
Top Fantasy Performers:
QB- Trevor Siemian, 185 points
RB- Devontae Booker, 98 points
WR- Demaryius Thomas, 130 points