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Fantasy Football Crystal Ball: Stay Away from Brandon Marshall

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IJune 17, 2009

DENVER - DECEMBER 7: Wide reiver Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos was all smiles after catching the game winning touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter of week 14 NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 7, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. Denver beat Kansas City 24-17.(Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Brandon Marshall, the Denver Broncos' top wide receiver, is again in the news.

No, he didn’t get arrested again. Rather, Marshall's name was linked to a rumor stating that he had asked to be traded by the Broncos. 

This was according to his agent, Kennard McGuire, who confirmed the story on Tuesday with ESPN’s Michael Smith.

McGuire informed Smith that "There was a meeting with Mr. Bowlen and Brandon did ask to be traded. He was told by ownership that the team would do everything in its power to accommodate those wishes. We [Marshall and McGuire] do feel that a change of scenery is not only important but necessary."

Marshall was suspended for three games in 2008 for seven police-related incidents involving an ex-girlfriend. That number was eventually reduced so that Marshall missed just the season opener.

He was then arrested in early March for an incident involving his current fiancée. However, the charges were dropped when both decided not to testify—as a result, the league has decided it will not punish Marshall for the 2009 arrest.

Currently, Marshall, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, has been a no-show at both the Broncos' voluntary workouts and mandatory mini camp as he seeks a contract extension.

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However, with Marshall's history and Denver's inability to keep their star players happy (see Jay Cutler), the stalling contract talks and Marshall's demand should not come as a surprise.

Now that we've got everyone out in Bruno Boys Nation caught up on the world of Brandon Marshall, the question that needs to be answered is: What is his fantasy impact for 2009? 

Since no team has reportedly shown any interest in acquiring the wide receiver's services, we must project him as a Bronco.

As such, the plain and simple outlook is that Marshall will not touch the numbers he amassed a year ago (104 receptions, 1,265 yards, 6 TDs). 

For one, Denver was in a lot of shootouts last season, which led to Marshall seeing a great deal of targets. While Denver will likely struggle again defensively in 2009, the numerous additions made to the backfield this offseason by the Broncos has the team appearing more committed to the run than it was last season.

That will translate into fewer pass attempts and fewer targets for Marshall.

Furthermore, those targets will be coming from a new quarterback in Kyle Orton. Were Marshall participating in the team's offseason workouts, the switch from Cutler to Orton would not be a huge deal.

But since Marshall is sitting out, he hasn’t built up any kind of repertoire with his new quarterback.  

Throw in Marshall's return from offseason surgery, his August court date for his incident with the ex-girlfriend, and his apparent desire to leave Denver, and it's only natural to assume his numbers decline.

Marshall is a heck of a talent and played at a No. 1 wider receiver-level in 2008. This year, though, he needs to be downgraded to a No. 2 receiver. 

However, if he gets traded to a team in need of a solid receiver with a strong quarterback under center, all of the above goes out the door and Marshall becomes a No. 1 option yet again.

For more fantasy football insight and advice at Bruno Boys Fantasy Football.

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