The Broncos shocked the world by trading a fourth round draft choice for Joe Flacco this morning. Well, shocked might be strong. I mean, it’s not like Joe Flacco fits the exact archetype of the of quarterbacks targeted during John Elway’s time as general manager of the GM in Denver. Oh, he does? So, this move was predictable? I guess we better just to the dynasty fantasy implications then. Let’s break down what this trade means for those involved.
Joe Flacco, QB DEN
Despite being “elite,” the writing was on the wall for the end of Joe Flacco’s time with the Ravens when they drafted Lamar Jackson in the 2018 NFL draft. When Flacco got hurt in week nine, we all knew he wasn’t going to get his starting job back. However, it also seemed likely that another team would take a chance on him as a bridge quarterback.
Enter the Broncos.
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The question now is really how much of an upgrade Flacco really represents over Case Keenum. This could be evidenced by the below tweet from Heath Cummings and it’s not great news for Denver:
However, for fantasy purposes, this means good things for Flacco’s value. He is going to be the starter in Denver and will now get the opportunity to throw the ball to Courtland Sutton, Philip Lindsay, DaeSean Hamilton, and a recovering Emmanuel Sanders just to name a few. I still wouldn’t want Flacco as more than my QB3/injury fill-in quarterback in a super flex league, but this should at least provide one last “sell” window if your inclination is to get out now.
Case Keenum, QB DEN
I need to offer an apology for my Case Keenum take last season. I really thought he’d be “serviceable” for fantasy purposes. He did end up a QB2 by yearly finish but was only 31st in points per game, so I’m taking the loss on this one.
Barring something crazy happening (like the Giants cutting Eli Manning and swinging a trade for Keenum to reunite him with his old buddy Pat Shurmur), this obviously hurts his value. However, unless you’re in a superflex league with shallow rosters, I’d argue you need to hold on to him at least until the end of the off-season. With so many quarterback-needy teams out there and only so many rookie quarterbacks to go around, it’s possible Keenum sees his value rise again by the end of the off-season.
The challenge lies in the fact Keenum is guaranteed $7 million for next season and has a $21 million cap hit with an $18 million base salary remaining on his contract. If the Broncos end up having to release Keenum, they’d clear $11 million in cap space but take a $10 million hit in terms of dead money. It’s doubtful a team really trades for Keenum and takes on that kind of financial commitment, so you can realistically expect the Broncos to release him after finding no takers.
Courtland Sutton, WR DEN
You might think Sutton had a terrible rookie season because of Case Keenum. You’d be wrong. He had a very respectable 42-704-4 line as a promising young rookie. Many were expecting to see Sutton improve on those numbers this year with Demaryius Thomas gone and Emmanuel Sanders injured. I don’t think this move should change that. I fully believe in Flacco’s ability to make at least one receiver on his team fantasy relevant, and I see no reason why that can’t be Sutton. If anyone sees this real-life trade by the Broncos as a reason to panic, cue the Jaws music and strike.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR DEN
I really feel for Sanders. He was on his way to a nice bounce-back season after his down 2017 campaign, then he went and tore his Achilles. It’s hard for younger players to come back from that sort of injury, let alone someone at the age of 31. There’s some minor talk about Sanders being a cap casualty, but I won’t believe it until I see it.
Assuming he can recover, I do believe Flacco offers a bit more upside than Keenum did at the position. Sanders has seen his ADP take a nose dive between December and January. If you’re a contending team, you could do a lot worse than taking a risk on his injury – don’t forget Sanders was just the WR17 in terms of PPG last season. He certainly has flex appeal if he can recover back to anything resembling his previous form.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR DEN
DaeSean Hamilton didn’t exactly impress in his rookie season. He wasn’t unspectacular, either. He just didn’t get enough volume to really flash anything.
If Sanders is unable to recover, he would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of additional targets. Since I already mentioned Flacco is a slight improvement over Keenum, this could make him someone to target as a trade throw-in to a bigger trade. However, you’ll need to act quickly as his ADP has been on the almost inversely to Sanders.
Phillip Lindsay, RB DEN
Phillip Lindsay was the biggest surprise for the Broncos this past season (and really the NFL in general), and one of the biggest surprises for fantasy owners as well. He totaled 1,278 yards from scrimmage and ten touchdowns on his way to being 12th among running backs in points per game – that should make him a darling of the fantasy community, right?
Not so fast.
Some owners continue to be worried that he was undrafted and that his backfield mate, Royce Freeman, was drafted in the third round. Additionally, the Broncos have a new head coach in Vic Fangio. Some have taken this as a sign we don’t know which player the new system will favor. Plus, Lindsay may have to worry about Devontae Booker, who actually saw more targets in the passing game than him last season.
If you couldn’t tell by my tone, I’m betting on Lindsay and think you should as well. I believe the Broncos will rely on his rushing ability to help carry Joe Flacco just like they did with Case Keenum. Additionally, over the last few seasons, Flacco hasn’t shied away from targeting his running backs. Lindsay’s ADP has been on the rise over the course of this off-season and I see this trade as having little to no bearing on that.
Royce Freeman, RB DEN
Let’s begin by saying before the season that I picked Royce Freeman as a surprise rookie breakout. Whoops. I’m not sure this trade impacts Freeman’s value at all. It still depends on who you think wins the battle between Freeman and Lindsay (if there even will be one, which is honestly pretty debatable). Freeman didn’t show much in the passing game his rookie season, so he needs to be the lead rusher for the team to have value.
Based on his ADP, it seems there are many who still think Freeman can take the job. I’m clearly not on that path with them. I would say Freeman is an easy sell.
Devontae Booker, RB DEN
Many of you are probably asking yourselves why I’m even bothering to write about Booker. Well, he did have 275 receiving yards last season. That may not seem like a lot, but it led the Broncos running backs. The only reason I’m really bothering to mention him is the fact Flacco did find a way to make Javorious Allen relevant for a season, so the same could happen with Booker. At his price, he’s nearly free, so he’s not the worst end of bench stash in case history finds itself repeating itself.
Broncos Tight Ends
I’m lumping them all together here. I don’t think the Broncos have a tight end who is going to be fantasy relevant on the roster. If you have a thing for Jake Butt, I won’t begrudge you. I just don’t see this move helping any of them be roster worthy despite Flacco’s well-known love affair with Dennis Pitta for a few seasons.
Instead of getting into what this means for the Ravens, I’ll let this great dynasty capsule by Noah Ballweg do the talking. Realistically, this doesn’t necessarily help Lamar Jackson as this move has been totally expected in some way, shape or from after Jackson took hold of the job last season. This is the first move in what could turn into a quarterback carousel this off-season. I know I’m interested to see where they all land, and you can be sure we here at DLF will continue to keep you updated about the dynasty impacts as they happen.
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