Finally! Peyton Manning is a part of the Broncos organization. In what was a week, for Peyton Manning to decide what NFL team to play for in 2012, it felt like an eternity. And then, Manning chose the Denver Broncos, a team that was not even a part of the conversation of the teams that Manning would choose from to play for until a week ago. That’s in the past now. With a healthy Peyton Manning taking the field in 2012, there should be an immediate impact on the fantasy football value of Manning and the Broncos playmakers which we will discuss below. Keep in mind, much also depends on the style of offense the Broncos run. We would expect it to be similar the offense Manning ran for the Colts, but you never know.
You can compare how we see the fantasy football relevant Broncos now, compared to how we saw them about a month ago in our first fantasy football pre-season ranking by position. Please, don’t forget to post your comments and questions in the chat box below. They are very much appreciated.
Peyton Manning, QB
Since his second NFL season, and excluding 2005, Manning has consistently passed for 4,100-plus yards per season, tossing 4,700 yards in his last full season in 2012. Manning has largely been a top-five quarterback most of his career. Manning has thrown no less than 26 touchdowns, and more than 30 touchdowns in four of the last five seasons he has played in. No question Manning carries with him an injury concern. But, there is no denying Manning is the real deal, and has been a fantasy football dynamo during his career. Manning makes the players around him better, and we should expect more of the same. For fantasy football purposes, we can rank Manning as the seventh or eighth ranked quarterback for now.
Demaryius Thomas, WR
Eric Decker, WR
With Peyton Manning under center, Reggie Wayne was an 1,100-plus yard receiver, seven of the past eight years. Wayne posted fifty-eight touchdowns during this time-span.
Demaryius Thomas broke on the scene in Week 7, after missing the first six weeks of the season due to injury. While Thomas was certainly inconsistent, he was able to show flashes of being an elite wide receiver. Had Thomas played an entire season, he would have been close to finishing in the top-30 of all wide receivers in the league. If Thomas is truly the Broncos No. 1 option (Thomas looks like he is), the sky could be the limit for Thomas in terms of his fantasy football production. Thomas is ranked pretty high right now (No. 27), but his rank could increase as the regular season approaches.
Eric Decker broke on the scene in Week 1, but his production was erratic too, falling off in Week 13. Had Decker been as successful as he was in the first part of the season all season long, he would have been flirting with a top-15 finish among all wide receivers. Based on this, don’t count Decker out as the team’s No. 1 WR just yet. All we know is, based on history, even the No. 2 wide receiver for Peyton Manning tends to have a successful season too, but more so as a No. 3 wide receiver option, with upside.
Thomas looks is a borderline No. 2 fantasy football wide receiver with upside, and Decker a solid No. 3 fantasy football wide receiver with upside.
Willis McGahee, RB
Knowshon Moreno, RB
The Broncos had the No. 1 rushing offense in 2011. We don’t expect a repeat in 2012 with Peyton Manning under center. Willis McGahee posted 1,250 all-purpose yards and 5 TDs in 2012. These numbers would have been higher, but for a spate of injuries, and but for ceding some carries to Knowshon Moreno. It’s hard to compare McGahee to Joseph Addai. Addai’s best seasons were in the first two years of his career in 2006 and in 2007, where he totaled 2,150-plus yards rushing and 23 TDs. Addai also had a decent season in 2009 (828 yards rushing, 13 TDs). So, if McGahee stays healthy, and is still the team’s lead back, McGahee is primed for a decent year. For now, McGahee is best drafted as a low-end No. 2 RB, or high-end No. 3 RB for fantasy football purposes. Unless the circumstances change, Knowshon Moreno will likely be a fantasy football reserve.
Virgil Green, TE
Dallas Clark, FA-TE
Jacob Tamme, FA-TE
Tight-end Virgil Green is atop the Broncos depth chart, but we hardly think the door is closed as to who will be the Broncos starting tight-end in 2012. Both of Manning’s former Colts tight-ends, Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, are free agents. In his best years, 2007 to 2009, Dallas Clark posted 2,600-plus yards receiving, and 27 touchdowns. Clark was a fantasy football monster. In 2010, when Clark went down to injury, Tamme totaled 631 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns in only eight games. Tamme saved the fantasy football seasons of many fantasy footballers who took a flier on him just two season ago. One thing is for certain. Should Clark or Tamme join the Broncos, either would likely move into the top-twelve of all fantasy football tight-ends for fantasy football draft purposes.
To be continued . . .