The 2021 Denver Broncos knew they had a roster ready to win now except at quarterback. It just so happens that the quarterback position is the most important in the NFL. Oops. They went 7-10 under then-head coach Vic Fangio. That was good for last place in the AFC West Division. Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t get the job done. Shocker there. Due to that, the Broncos’ GM George Paton fired the coaching staff. In came former Packers’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and his coaching staff. Then, the Broncos made a shocking trade near the NFL Draft when they traded for superstar quarterback Russell Wilson for a package of picks and players, including Drew Lock and tight end Noah Fant. Finally, the Broncos got a quarterback, but does that mean they will experience success in 2022?
The Broncos had an elite defense in 2021, ranking third in the fewest points allowed per game. The offense was 23rd in points per game. That number for the offense will change. The defense returns most everyone, but can their new defensive coordinator keep the defense performing for the offense? Regardless, in the jam-packed AFC West, Russell and company will need to score a bunch for the Denver Broncos. Let’s zero in on their fantasy projections.
The Denver Broncos have three quarterbacks on the roster, Josh Johnson, Russell Wilson, and Brett Rypien. Only one name of those three ultimately matters a ton. If either of the other two plays many snaps this year, it means the Denver Broncos’ season has gone terribly wrong. This team will only go as far as its quarterback takes it regardless of how great the defense is.
If you couldn’t tell, this was the quarterback being referenced above. His first season in the Mile High Air of Denver will be an important one. The Broncos are looking to him to take them back to the playoffs and beyond. Despite the record, anything short of a playoff victory will likely feel like a losing season. Mr. Unlimited is now entering his age-34 season, which is still in a quarterback’s prime. Russ is seeking to get his sixth Pro Bowl nomination in a row. Aside from the injured season last year, Wilson hasn’t thrown for fewer than 3,448 yards, 20 touchdowns, or lower than a 61.3% completion rate. He will have zero trouble surpassing those benchmarks this year.
One could argue that Wilson has the most weapons of his entire career, despite losing talented wide receiver Tim Patrick to a torn ACL. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, Montrell Washington, and more have the makings to be the best wide receiver group for Wilson’s career. The same goes in the running back room, where Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon are the best duos he’s played with. Two talented tight ends in Albert O and Greg Dulcich round this impressive list of players Wilson can throw the ball to. That’s why Russell will return to being a QB1 this season. I wouldn’t put it out of the realm to say he could finish top 5. In a 6-pt touchdown league, my projections for Russell are that he throws for 4,468 yards, 36 touchdowns, ten interceptions, 63 rushing attempts, 315 yards, a touchdown, and fumbles six times. This amounts to a 23.7 ppg average. He’s a quarterback to own in dynasty; make no mistake about it.
I hope you bought the dip on Williams in dynasty when they re-signed MG3. He is a stud running back and can do anything a coach wants on the field. He’s a strong receiver, insane rusher, and knows how to find the gaps for extra yardage. Even on a snap count, Javonte still put up over 1,200 yards of offense with seven touchdowns. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry, which will grow this year. It’s going to grow as defenses can’t stack the box this year. There are rumors that Javonte will be on a snap count once again, but that doesn’t matter.
If he gets more than 203 rushes (last year’s total) this year, he will be a strong fantasy running back. I expect Javonte to put up some big numbers in his age-22 season. Oh, by the way, the fewer snaps he takes this year make his career much longer. He’ll have plenty of treads come his age-25/26 seasons. His dynasty arrow is only pointing up. My projections for Williams this year are that he gets 222 rushes, 1,037 yards, nine touchdowns, 53 targets, 44 receptions, 325 yards, four touchdowns, and fumbles twice. This equals a 15.1 PPR ppg average, an RB1 number for sure.
Melvin Gordon III
MG3 is the most valuable handcuff in fantasy football. If Williams were to get hurt, MG3 would be walking into a massive workload. He is already a flex-caliber player as a backup with his penchant for touchdowns. MG3 averaged a robust 4.5 ypc despite being 28. He had ten touchdowns last year. I’d expect the Broncos to keep Gordon involved in the offense quite a bit, although maybe not to Williams’ shares. Gordon has finished as a top-24 running back in each of the last six years. That might change this year, depending on how much he plays.
He’s still valuable in dynasty this year as a top-shelf handcuff. Buy him if you need a backup running back or if you have Javonte. You must. My projections for Gordon are that he gets 183 rushes for 810 yards, seven touchdowns, 42 targets, 32 receptions, 250 yards, and two touchdowns. This amounts to an 11.7 average in PPR leagues, a strong flex number.
For the first time in his career, Sutton has a verifiable stud at quarterback. He’s completely healed from his ACL tear in 2020 and played in all 17 games in 2021. It was a brutal campaign for him with the lackluster quarterbacks and other wide receiver injuries. He only had 58 receptions for 776 yards and two touchdowns. This is going to change. The 6’4” wide receiver is entering his age-27 season in which he will be the WR1 for Russell Wilson. Wilson loves his tall wide receivers like DK Metcalf. I expect Courtland to serve as the intermediate to deep threat for the Broncos’ offense.
His dynasty value is growing by the day. It’s not out of the realm that he finishes as a WR1 this year. He’s going for WR2 prices right now, so if you need a reliable wide receiver this year, go out and get Sutton. With Patrick hurt, some of those targets will go to Sutton. My projections for Sutton in 2022 are 141 targets, 87 receptions, 1,361 yards, and ten touchdowns. He has the potential for rushes, but doubtful. These numbers are WR1 numbers and equal 16.7 ppg in PPR. Buy Sutton now.
Another beneficiary of Wilson’s presence is Jeudy. The refined route runner can now get accurate targets. The former first-round pick has struggled with drops due to untimed or poor throws. He endured an injury-plagued 2021, which caused him to play in only ten games, five starts. He had 56 targets, 38 receptions, and 467 yards with zero touchdowns. Jeudy has a potential star written all over him. He’s a prolific route runner that knows how to shake defenders. I’d expect a career year from the 23-year-old wide receiver with a great quarterback in tow.
Jerry will benefit from Patrick’s absence with increased targets and playing time. He won’t be pushed off his starting job. Jeudy has all the skills, speed, and talent in the world. Now he has to put them together. Buy him now before the price rises. He can be had for a late-first-round pick. That won’t be the case in a month or two. I expect a high-end WR2 season out of Jeudy. At the very least, it should be a WR2 season. My projections for Jeudy are 131 targets, 90 receptions, 1,209 yards, and eight touchdowns with a fumble. These numbers equate to a WR2-caliber 15.1 ppg in PPR. Don’t be surprised if the Broncos have two WR1s.
KJ Hamler and Montrell Washington
Hamler is the new WR3 for the Denver Broncos following Patrick’s injury. Washington is the WR4. Hamler is returning from his torn ACL that he suffered in Week 1 of last year. Hamler’s a former second-round pick with good speed. He has proven a capable wide receiver after catching 30 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns in 2020. I’d expect WR3/4 numbers out of Hamler. He will be the fifth option or so for the offense but will have big weeks. He’s a solid bet to be a top wide receiver handcuff if Jeudy or Sutton get hurt. Add him in dynasty since he’s only 23; the best is yet to come. My projections for Hamler are 50 targets, 30 receptions, 440 yards, and five touchdowns. This is a 7.0 PPR average over 15 games.
Washington is a rookie player that was taken in the fifth round of the 2022 Draft. He wasn’t expected to contribute much this year but has impressed in training camp. With Patrick out, it appears that Washington is set to be the WR4 and kick/punt returner. Add him off waivers as he could break out this year or next. He has speed, route running, and strong hands. In leagues with return yardage scoring, he will be a flex-caliber player. My projections for Washington are 20 targets, 14 receptions, 181 yards, and a touchdown. These could rise significantly; just too soon to tell. Do add him, though.
The Broncos traded Noah Fant since they knew Albert O was ready for the TE1 job. He’s a strong receiver at tight end with the skills to take any catch to the house. Wilson doesn’t target tight ends a lot which caps the upside on Albert O or Greg Dulcich. Yet, in the tight-end starved world of fantasy football, he’s still a solid play for upside and touchdowns. Okwuegbunam recovered from a torn ACL in 2020 to play 14 games in 2021. He started six and had 40 targets, 33 receptions, 330 yards, and two touchdowns. He’s got intense speed for a tight end. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him break out this year as he has to hold off rising rookie Dulcich. Buy some Albert O while you can.
My projections for Okwuegbunam are 63 targets, 51 receptions, 528 yards, and four touchdowns. These equate to an 8.0 ppg in PPR scoring. In TEP leagues, he would be worth a lot more, so he’s worth buying to be your TE2.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Denver Broncos selected Dulcich in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft despite having Albert O on their team. It was an excellent selection as Dulcich is one of the top rookie tight ends. He’s 6’3” and plays like a wide receiver yet plays at tight end. Dulcich has smooth hands and crisp routes that will get him on the field early in his career. He could benefit a lot from Patrick’s injury and see more targets. It just remains to be seen how coach Hackett uses him.
Dulcich has a lot of potential in the NFL and for the Broncos. He could become a stud tight end receiver. He has been lighting up training camp so far, though an injury has slowed him of late. Dulcich should be ready for the regular season. As he matures and grows, he could be another steal for the Denver Broncos, especially in Year 2. I project that he gets 31 targets, 22 receptions, 220 yards, and two touchdowns. This equals a 3.5 ppg PPR average. That’s not great, but if Albert O gets hurt, Dulcich flies up the rankings. He’s a taxi stash right now in dynasty. Buy him cheap now, so you have him when he explodes later. Make intelligent decisions in Dynasty.
The Denver Broncos will have an elite offense this year in the NFL and fantasy football. As many as four or more of their players could finish among the top 12 at their respective positions. Wilson is set to dominate this year in his first year in the Mile High Air. Williams should explode, even if he’s splitting touches with Gordon. Sutton and Jeudy are set to break out this year, especially with Patrick out for the year. Their target shares will increase. Hamler and Washington are names to have on your radar or dynasty team. They could blow up this year if they get enough playing time.
Albert O and Dulcich are good dynasty tight ends on your squad. Albert O might break out and become a TE1 this year. If you’re playing dynasty, you better get some Broncos players on your team. These Denver Broncos are ready to push all-in for the playoffs.
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