Can Kyle Orton have another solid season, or even improve? What will life be like in Denver without stud wide receiver Brandon Marshall?
Read on for the top five fantasy football predictions in Denver for 2010:
1. Eddie Royal Is The Top Dog
With the departure of Brandon Marshall, Royal steps in as the incumbent No. 1 receiver. Royal had a very productive rookie season, catching over 90 passes in 2008, even with Marshall starting 15 games.
A different quarterback seemed to have changed things, and Royal wasn’t targeted as often in 2009, only getting 1/3 of the catches.
The thing that makes Royal more exciting is the fact that he gets the returning duties as well, which makes him a bit more valuable in leagues that give points for yardage and special teams touchdowns.
As of now, I’d proceed with caution with Eddie Royal. He’s not your ideal #1 receiver, which is one reason the Broncos took Demaryius Thomas, but he should get a significant boost in targets in 2010.
With a player as dangerous after the catch, it could lead to good things. Target him as a RB/WR, WR/TE, or WR3 for now, and a potential matchups player.
2. Kyle Orton Is No Guarantee
And has never been since coming into the NFL in 2005. Orton, coincidentally enough, had career numbers in his first season in Denver, but that still wasn’t that flashy. Losing his stud wide receiver in Brandon Marshall won’t help his cause, either.
Orton is always streaky, which is something you want to avoid in fantasy football. You never want to go into a matchup having huge doubts even if the guy is playing a bad defense.
After Week Eight, Orton threw an interception in seven of his last nine games, including two games with three interceptions. This is when the Broncos made their huge skid after such a great start.
I’m personally not targeting Orton at all, but if you want to grab him in a later round just as a back-up, he may not be a bad addition. Just don’t go in expecting much.
3. Is Knowshon Moreno A Top-10 RB?
As of now, the answer is easily no, and it’s simply because he is not consistent enough getting in the end-zone.
However, Moreno is talented, and really had a very solid season overall last year, not really playing poorly until the last four games of the season, in which he still had two touchdowns, but averaged barely over two yards a carry.
What worries some people is the fact that his longest run of the season was just 36 yards, while he also failed to top 100 yards rushing in a game all season.
That being said, Moreno still is a solid option for your RB2 slot or RB/WR if he falls a round. He catches well out of the backfield, and with the loss of Marshall, he’ll probably see himself involved a bit more in the passing game.
Target him no higher than the third round, depending on your fantasy league setup.
4. Demaryius Thomas is Worth A Look Late
Thomas was drafted with the 22nd pick of the NFL Draft because the Broncos needed quite a bit of help at wide receiver with Brandon Marshall departing. Thomas is a speedy wide receiver who can really stretch the field and has dependable hands.
The problem with him is that his offense at Georgia Tech didn’t help him any, as he didn’t have many routes to run, so he’s going to have to adapt to a real passing tree and show Coach McDaniels that he can run crisp routes.
Brandon Lloyd is currently slotted as Denver’s No. 2 receiver, but Lloyd has been disappointing after showing a bit of a spark a few years back with the San Francisco 49ers.
It’s Lloyd’s job to lose, but I don’t see him holding that spot for the entire season, and Thomas could at least provide a few receptions later in the season and maybe help you out if your trying to make that playoff run.
If you have an extra bench spot, look for Thomas to fill it.
5. Temper Your Expectations For Tim Tebow
Perhaps the most talked about and “exciting” player in the 2010 NFL Draft was Tim Tebow. However, he’s still a big project who many still consider to be a reach in the first round.
Tebow still has to show that he can perfect that throwing motion, and not get happy feet in the pocket while making smart passes, something that’s hard to do for any rookie quarterback in the NFL.
Remember, Orton is still the incumbent, and is coming off of a career year. While Orton may not be the greatest option, you have to believe that the Broncos feel that he gives them the best shot at winning.
You may see Tebow in a form of Wildcat or get a few carries almost like his freshman year at Florida, but he still is quite far away from making a fantasy impact.