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2023 Fantasy Forecast: Denver Broncos

The @Broncos look to rebound in 2023 - here's how their offense looks going into the season for fantasy!

The 2022 Denver Broncos were a fantasy disappointment. With the 2023 season fast approaching, we must begin to figure out what the fantasy season may look like for multiple teams. This team has had many changes, from coaching to personnel and even play calling. Are there fantasy values to be found, or will we all mock Russel Wilson again? This is the 2023 Fantasy Forecast for the Denver Broncos, ‘Broncos Country, Let’s Ride.’

2022 Season Review

The preseason hype for the 2022 Broncos was some of the most intense in recent memory. Denver made a splash trade and finally got a quarterback they have been searching for since Peyton Manning’s retirement. With a duo threat at running back and one of the deepest wide receiver rooms in the league, everything was shaping up for the Broncos to challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West title. There were even talks of Super Bowl aspirations. That all came crashing to a halt as early as Week One in Seattle.

A one-point loss to the Seahawks overshadowed that the offense could have looked more organized. Multiple delays of game penalties and mental mistakes hinted at a lack of preparation, but the problems would run deeper. After two separate losing streaks of four and five games, teammates fought on the sidelines. All the while, Russell Wilson played the role of corny commander with his ‘Let’s Ride’ mantra. Meanwhile, fans exclaimed, ‘Broncos Country, Let’s Die.’ The team eventually finished with a 5-12 record and the firing of head coach Nathaniel Hackett just 15 weeks into the season. 

Sean Payton Offense

We must mention Sean Payton before discussing the fantasy football expectations for the 2023 Denver Broncos. The Broncos were convinced enough that he was the answer to their problems to send a first-round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints for the right to hire Payton. Payton worked with All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees. Can he do the same to revive Wilson?

In Payton’s time in New Orleans, the Saints finished middle of the pack as far as pass attempts go per season. The 2022 Broncos finished dead center in the league in pass attempts, so I would not expect much of a gain in that category. The trick for Payton will be getting more efficiency out of Wilson in those pass attempts. If we are to see the pass catchers become fantasy relevant, then this must happen.  

QB: Russell Wilson

In his first season with the Denver Broncos, he with a 4-11 record while throwing a career-high 11 interceptions and taking a career-high 55 sacks. For fantasy purposes, he finished as QB16 and, at 34 years old, has many in the dynasty community questioning if this is the beginning of the end. However, there are many changes in place for 2023.

It seems like Payton was brought in solely to ‘fix’ Wilson. He would be a good man for the job; Wilson and Brees are similar in lacking height for the quarterback position. The 2022 Broncos were also destroyed by injuries before and during the season. They finished the year with the most “lost” snaps due to injuries in the league. And they far outpaced the Rams, who finished in second.

RBs: Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Tyler Badie, Tony Jones Jr.

The conversation revolving around the Broncos’ running back room must begin with Javonte Williams and his recovery from his leg injury. In Week Four of the 2022 season, he simultaneously tore his ACL, LCL, and even his PCL. This is a significant injury to stay up to date on. As of this writing, Williams reports that he will be ready for the start of the season. However, we all know that players like to embellish how healthy they are. 

In response to the hole left in the running back room with the departures of Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray, the Denver Broncos brought in veteran running back Perine. He is a capable running back and will plug in as the Week One starter if Williams isn’t ready. However, even if Williams is back, Perine isn’t useless for fantasy purposes. We have seen many running-back duos thrive simultaneously in a Payton offense. Most notable was the 2018 season when Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram finished as RB1s. Perine represents a great buy for any dynasty squad looking to make a title push this season. Here are a few Perine trades made recently according to the DynastyGM tool.

Badie and Jones currently represent deep pieces on this roster and can be classified as ‘dynasty stashes.’ Perine is only under contract until 2024, but the Broncos have an easy out as early as next offseason. I fully expect Denver to draft a running mate for Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

WRs: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, Marvin Mims, KJ Hamler

As Wilson struggled, so did his wide receiver group in 2022. The struggles began in the preseason as Patrick was lost for the year due to an ACL tear. It was mostly downhill from there for the Denver Broncos passing attack. Jeudy finished the year at WR22, and Sutton finished at WR43. Based on redraft ADPs from last summer, expectations for this group were much higher.

As we enter the 2023 season, crowded is the theme with this wide receiver group. Patrick is back from his injury, and early reports are that he looks like the best receiver in training camp. That is good for Denver, as he is under contract through the 2024 season. With an Underdog ADP of WR77, he represents the best value on the team. Here are a few trade examples from the DynastyGM tool.

Jeudy and Sutton have been linked to trade rumors all off-season. This could be a sign that the front office realizes the room is crowded and is trying to recoup some value in these contracts. The Broncos exercised the fifth-year option on Jeudy and have him on his rookie deal through the end of 2024. Sutton signed an extension in 2021 but can be moved on as early as next offseason. There is another addition to the roster that might make this a reality.

That addition would be Mims, the Oklahoma Sooner drafted in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft. It is important to note that despite being extremely limited on draft capital and already heavily invested in this position, Denver saw fit to spend their first draft pick on a wide receiver. They must have extreme confidence in Mims and his abilities. It would not surprise me if they move on from Sutton next offseason and Mims takes over that role. 

TEs: Greg Dulcich, Albert Okwuegbunam, Adam Trautman

The tight end room in Denver is a tough one to get a read on. Trautman used to play under Sean Payton in New Orleans, which would lead you to believe that he was brought in specifically because he already knows the offense. This could give him the early edge on playing time and targets from Wilson. However, the fact that he was traded for only a sixth and seventh-round draft pick doesn’t inspire any confidence that New Orleans believed in what they saw when he was in-house. 

Okwuegbunam has been with the Broncos since 2020 and can be considered the ‘veteran’ in the locker room despite being only 25. Okwuegbunam has seen minimal production during his time in Denver. He has amassed only 73 targets through three seasons, and the team could be looking for an upgrade beyond 2023. It is also important to note that he and Trautman will be free agents after the season.

That leaves one man, and my pick for the TE1 on this team went. Dulcich was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft and is ready to take a step forward this year. He was able to command 55 targets his first year alone and will look to build on that number. Dulcich represents a great dynasty buy right now with a decent chance of finishing as a top-twelve option at the position this year.

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I hope you enjoyed this fantasy forecast. Be sure to check back often, as I will cover all fantasy-relevant positions. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!

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