The Denver Broncos offense got a heavy dose of bad news the past two days. Starting quarterback Drew Lock left Sunday's game with a sprained AC joint, per ESPN's Jeff Legwold and Adam Schefter, an injury that could keep him sidelined two to six weeks.
These are tough injuries for a promising young team like the Broncos to endure. And it leaves fantasy players wondering how it will affect the team's other skill position players like running back Melvin Gordon, wideout Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant.
Gordon shouldn't be too affected, though his workload might increase. He's clearly the top option in the run game after rushing 19 times for 70 yards against a tough Pittsburgh defense on Sunday, adding two receptions for 14 yards and a score.
Granted, Phillip Lindsay hasn't played much this season with a toe injury. He's out another two to four weeks though. Even when he returns, Gordon will see plenty of snaps and carries. He'll stay locked in as an RB2.
Jeudy is a more interesting case to consider. He's second on the team in receptions (eight) and receiving yards (118) and first in targets (15). Lock's injury hurts his fantasy forecast because Jeff Driskel isn't necessarily a strong backup. His career 58.7 completion percentage is not ideal, nor is 12 career touchdowns to seven interceptions or being sacked 33 times in 13 games.
But with Sutton not in the lineup commanding more targets, Jeudy will be the top man outside. KJ Hamler could see some of the target share, but he seems best suited as a field-stretching deep threat and not a high-usage option. His snap percentage from Sunday is a bit concerning:
Still, his target share suggests Jeudy is the WR1 in Denver. That holds value, even if Driskel limits Jeudy's upside. Consider him a flex option best utilized in strong matchups.
Fant, on the other hand, is locked in as a TE1. Solid tight ends are a bad quarterback's best friend, and Fant has been excellent to start the season, leading the team in receptions (nine), receiving yards (138) and receiving touchdowns (two) while currently second in targets (11). He's put up nice numbers against stout Tennessee and Pittsburgh defenses, too.
Sigmund Bloom @SigmundBloom
More than who gets the vacated targets I think we need to see this as a "the whole passing pie gets smaller" situation. Jeudy/Fant get small bumps, Hamler has a little WW intrigue now, but remember Lock is out for weeks and Shurmur hasn't done offense any favors with playcalling https://t.co/4WwmQ81shq
Keep him locked in as your starting tight end.