2012 Team Outlook: Denver
RB Jeremiah Johnson, DEN - Deep-league Only
Moreno, McGahee and Ball seem to fit the running back bill in Denver. Johnson sits at the number four position on the depth chart and will likely stay there unless we see one of the top three go down to injury or become completely unproductive. Johnson might be drafted in very deep leagues, but otherwise go undrafted.
RB Willis McGahee, --- - Quality Backup
McGahee will find himself at the top of a heap of Denver running backs this season - as long as the veteran remains healthy. If not, McGahee might be surpassed by some youger backs this season. Ronnie Hillman was drafted as pass-catching option and to provide McGahee relief. Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball, Jerimiah Johnson, Mario Fannin and a few others are also in this mix. I would pick-up McGahee this season as the passing game will provide ample opportunity for timed rushing attacks and other backs can be used to bash against the defense.
RB Knowshon Moreno, --- - Over the Hill (decreased production)
Update 8/26/12: Moreno is on the roster bubble at this point. He has failed to impress during preseason and the number of backs in Denver could push him out. We will see soon.
Moreno might have seen more work than anticipated in pre-season thus far. I was hopeful that we would see him spark something and gain some fantasy interest. I am not sold yet as to his cemented role in the offense, but I do like that he is seeing action and given the chance to prove himself. If Moreno can challenge McGahee, Ball and Hillman then I think he will get more chances then expected and provide some interesting fantasy value.
Moreno might find himself without much work this season. Willis McGahee will be coming back to start and Denver drafted Ronnie Hillman. Lance Ball and Jerimiah Johnson also exist on the Mile-Higher roster. Moreno has not been what Denver hoped for when they drafted him to take the lead rushing role and Hillman is projected to replace him. We will have to sit back and watch how this RBBC unfold.
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN - Solid/Safe Pick
Thomas had a solid second part of last season under Tim Tebow. He will now have to get used to Peyton Manning, and fast. For Thomas to be effective he will need to elevate his level of play and constantly work to improve. Thomas has great natural ability and will be a solid wide out this season if he can work with Manning's systems and get to where he needs to be on the field. Route running will be a key element for Thomas this season.
Thomas appears to be getting into sync with Manning and his timing is becoming better by the week if not day. Watch for this duo to light things up.
WR Eric Decker, NYJ - Solid/Safe Pick
Decker is one of the biggest targets for Peyton Manning. Decker played well last season under Kyle Orton. For Decker to be successful this season he needs to really learn Denver's new playbook and be ready to learn from Manning. Decker will play opposite Thomas and this combination could prove to be highly effective. Decker must be up for the challenge and produce day in and day out. If he does all will pay out nicely.
Decker has a minor groin strain, but it did not keep him down during pre-season against Chicago.
Update 8/26/12: Decker and Manning seem to be putting the pieces together. Two TD receptions is not bad for the big wide out. I am beginning to expect more from Decker and would consider him in my wide out fantasy rotation.
WR Andre Caldwell, DET - Deep-league Only
Caldwell looks to factor into the Denver wide out squad as a slot receiver. He will compete with Brandon Stokely for this job and that might be difficult given Stokely's history with Manning. However, Stokely is aging and Caldwell could fit nicely if needed.
WR Brandon Stokley, --- - Deep-league Only
Come on, you have to love the Stokley - Peyton Manning comeback story. When healthy, Stokley is one of the best slot receivers in the league, or he was anyway, but now he's poised to flash that form now the reunion with his former Indy QB is taking place. Of course, Stokley's slot in the Broncos passing game hierarchy is sketchy and regardless will be behind the two starting receivers plus Jacob Tamme. Upside is iffy, but if Peyton starts looking his way early and often, we could have a bye-week fill-in on our hands, especially in PPR.