2012 Team Outlook: Denver
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.
RB Jeremiah Johnson, --- - 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.
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, DEN - 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.