2012 Team Outlook: Denver
QB Peyton Manning, DEN - Gamble (high risk)
The focus of Denver's offensive camp was pace and timing. The offensive needs to work like clockwork around the actions of Peyton Manning. Manning's play calling and audible skills will only be as good as his supporting cast. I think Manning has enough weapons that this Denver team will be one to watch. Bringing Manning to town was a great move for Denver. Manning will have his freedom and the support of ownership. The call to-date will be a hybrid offense that consists of some of what Peyton used in Indy and part of the effective Denver running game that was abadonned last season. I think Manning will be good to go.
Update 8/26/12: I am beiginning to think of Manning as less of a gamble. He looked close to the Manning of old against San Francisco and the offense seems to be coming together. We will still have to wait to see the real deal when we enter Weeks 1-3, but he might be a pleasant surprise for those of us who scored him very late in drafts.
QB Brock Osweiler, DEN - Dynasty Only
Brock Osweiler will serve as one of three back-up QBs. The thing to watch is Osweiler's ability to play Manning's schemes. If he shows that he has it, he might secure himself a starting gig down the road - two to three years. We'll get a look at Brock in pre-season. I think he will likely be better than Caleb Hanie.
QB Caleb Hanie, --- - Deep-league Only
Hanie slots in at #3 on the depth chart for QBs in Denver, but could also be forseen as the #2 option given depth reports. I think Hanie will back-up Manning, but he should only be drafted in deep leagues and used if Manning has injury issues.
QB Adam Weber, TB - Not Draft Worthy
Osweiler and Hanie better watch it. Weber looked good against Chicago. Not that Weber is ready for your fantasy roster, but just something to note if we should see Manning injured and a battle ensues for Denver QB rights.
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN - Sleeper (undervalued)
Hillman is nursing a - what is called - non-significant hamstring injury. I suspect it is just that and we will see Hillman and the pre-season progresses.
Hillman was drafted to provide the passing game a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, replace Knowshon Moreno and help spell Willis McGahee. We will have to see how these three compete this season for carries and while they all have potential, McGahee has the early edge. Peyton Manning can make a back's job easy with play calls and should be a great teacher as Hillman gets with the program. The shifty rookie will get carries this season, but I think Denver will be a big RBBC approach until things shuffle out with roles. Hillman will be drafted in leagues, just how early is a good question.
RB Lance Ball, --- - Deep-league Only
Ball tends to fall into the third down back pile in Denver. His special teams play and ability to run downhill give him some different qualities than some of the other backs. Jerimiah Johnson might steal some of Ball's third down carries this season, but these backs differ in style of play from Hillman, McGahee and Moreno. Ball has a defined role and will be used accordingly. He is also good for ta big game every once in a while.
Update 8/26/12: Ball appears to be working at the #2 RB position as Ronnie Hillman re-injured him hamstring. Watch the RBBC approach in Denver. McGahee is number one, but Ball could pick up significant work in this scenario and be worth something until Hillman returns.
RB Mario Fannin, --- - Low Potential
Fannin is an extremely fast running back out of Auburn. He has had the propensity to fumble in the past and this has been a drawback, but he might be an interesting super sleeper pick.
Fannin suffered some sort of leg injury. This is not good as he is coming back from an ACL tear from last year.