Fantasy Football 2010: Dissecting the Denver Broncos' Passing Game

Allen KimSenior Analyst ISeptember 30, 2010

Demaryius Thomas
Demaryius ThomasJustin Edmonds/Getty Images

One of the biggest enigmas through the first three weeks of the NFL season is the Denver Broncos and their passing game.

It seems as if every week there's a different player racking up all the points. It doesn't help that each player also only has one TD a piece.

Looking at the stats for Denver's four main wide receivers through the first three weeks of the season, you can see that there is no true favorite or "go-to" guy in the receiving corps.


     Week 1

     Week 2

   Week 3

Brandon Lloyd

5 Rec. | 117 yds

3 Rec. | 53 yds

6 Rec. | 169 yds | TD

Demaryius Thomas


8 Rec. | 97 yds | TD

2 Rec. | 43 yds

Jabar Gaffney

3 Rec. | 34 yds | TD

2 Rec. | 15 yds

12 Rec. | 140 yds

Eddie Royal

8 Rec. | 98 yds

5 Rec. | 65 yds | TD

4 Rec. | 23 yds


Quarterback Kyle Orton, who I touched on in my NFL Player Stock Market Watch column, is not so different from Drew Brees. While they're miles apart in the talent department, they both play without bias. Whichever WR is open is most likely going to see the football come their way. While this unselfish attitude is great for a team's offensive efficiency, it becomes an absolute headache to predict in the fantasy world.

In coach Josh McDaniel's offensive system, slot receivers tend to be the beneficiaries of short, dump-off passes. Former rookie wonder, Eddie Royal, fills that role and has had success this year—at least during the first 2 weeks of the season. This makes him especially enticing in PPR leagues if he can come at least remotely close to emulating Wes Welker's numbers under McDaniel.

Demaryius Thomas was selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was chosen as a replacement for Brandon Marshall and flashed some of his potential in Week 2. However, he followed that with a dud in which Orton threw for over 400 yards against the Colts. Granted, he did get injured in the game, so it's hard to predict how much he could have done.

Jabar Gaffney was one of my preseason sleepers for the season. After 2 middling first weeks, he broke out with a 12 catch, 140 yard game in Week 3.

Can he keep up that sort of production? Who knows.

The one receiver who has managed to stay relatively consistent up until this point is Brandon Lloyd. He appears to be Denver's big play threat and showed that with two 100+ receiving yard days in weeks one and three, but that could change at any time.

My recommendation? If you have other options, avoid this weekly headache or at least until some sort of true WR pecking order presents itself.

However, if you have no choice, this is how I would rank them for the rest of the season:

1. Brandon Lloyd

2. Demaryius Thomas

3. Eddie Royal

4. Jabar Gaffney

If you're having trouble deciding on any of these wide receivers, among others, to start or sit for Week 4 of the NFL season, check out my Week 4 Start-Sit Open Advice Thread.