[Editors Note: This dynasty team capsule was written prior to the announcement of the trade involving Joe Flacco. For more information on how the trade affects the Broncos skill position players, check out “Case Closed: The Dynasty Impact of the Joe Flacco Trade to Denver” by writer Bobby Koch.]
Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
Case Keenum (JAN ADP: N/A)
The Broncos signed Keenum to a two-year, $36m deal last off-season. His first season with the team was forgettable, as he finished with 3,890 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing just 62.3 percent of his passes. The offensive line didn’t do their part since they allowed him to get sacked 34 times. He also was pressured on 9.8 percent of his drop-backs. His efficiency experienced a drastic drop compared to his previous season with the Vikings. In 2017, he finished the season with a 74.3 QBR – his 2018 number was 47.9. The funny thing about this is that he was pressured on 10.6 percent of his drop-backs in 2017 which is .8 percent more than he was pressured in 2018.
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The main difference between Denver and Minnesota is the offensive weapons. While with the Vikings, Keenum had Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to lean on. Denver was a different story. Their ambiguous wide receiver corps presented some optimism but at the time wasn’t enough to elevate Keenum’s floor in fantasy. Demaryius Thomas got traded, Emmanuel Sanders battled injuries and that left the rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton to eat up the scraps.
The one thing Keenum owners can look forward too is the departure of Vance Joseph who mismanaged the offense and was unable to get the right personnel to help improve the offensive line. Keenum will now be playing for defensive-minded head coach Vic Fangio and young, up-and-coming offensive coordinator, Rich Scangarello. It’s going to be interesting to see how the offense transitions with the new coaching staff. We don’t fully know what their offensive philosophy is going to be, but we do know Scangarello is dedicated to helping Keenum develop in the new offense.
The 2020 NFL Draft is expected to be loaded with quarterback talent. If Keenum has another bad year, then the Broncos will more than likely draft their next signal-caller. There are reports that Ryan Tannehill might hit the open market which could tempt the front office into making a move.
Keenum went undrafted in DLF’s January mock drafts. Dynasty owners are aware of his bleak future and are not willing to invest. I’m also in that camp, it’s not a smart move to draft a player who is highly likely not going to be starting the following season. If you need a quarterback to fill in a hole on your roster for bye weeks or even injuries, then it’s okay to trade for him as long as you don’t overpay.
Kevin Hogan (JAN ADP: N/A)
Hogan was an interesting prospect coming out of Stanford. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to get his career off the ground. If things go array with Keenum this year, then he might get an opportunity to start a few games. Right now, unless you are in a deep superflex league, leave him on waivers and pick him up mid-season if it looks like he’s going to get his shot.
Phillip Lindsay (JAN ADP: 45.67, RB18)
The undrafted free agent came out of nowhere to rush for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 35 balls for 241 yards and one touchdown. With an RB13 finish, Lindsay averaged 15.05 fantasy points per game and had eight games with 15 fantasy points or more. If you remove week 17, he’s actually RB7 in PPR scoring. No matter how you tally his production, you can’t discount the impact of his rookie season.
With a dynasty ADP of 45.67, Lindsay is usually the 18th running back off the board. That’s an interesting price tag. He’s cheap for a young and productive running back, but the price is also steep if he experiences a sophomore slump. Not to mention he’s an outlier when you consider his size and draft status. There are certainly other running backs that you could take a stab at if you pass on him. Derrick Henry, Tarik Cohen, and Marlon Mack are in his range in startup drafts but all of those running back also have their risks. At this point in the draft, we are playing with fire. We are either going to get burnt or we are going to be able to heat our home and cook our next meal if everything pans out.
Royce Freeman (JAN ADP: 90.00, RB33)
Many pegged Freeman as a breakout candidate going into his rookie season. Obviously, Lindsay ruined his coming out party, but there’s still a chance he could develop into an RB1 next season. At 6’0’’ and 229 pounds, he definitely has the size to be a workhorse back. His production profile from his tenure at Oregon also provides the notion that he has the potential to be a three-down back in the NFL.
Denver’s new coaching regime might help Freeman reach his potential. Like I previously stated, Fangio is a defensive-minded coach who is more than likely going to want to play strong defense and control the clock by running the football. With that philosophy, Freeman should be a very intriguing chess piece to their arsenal. It’s going to be hard for them to not want to use their 229-pound-back who can pound the ball between the tackles.
Freeman seems like a screaming buy in dynasty right now. He currently has an ADP of 90, making him the 33rd running back off the board in most startup drafts. Even though he’s not a lock to become a serious RB1 in fantasy, neither are the players being drafted around him. The wide receiver and running backs in his range lack certainty, making it easier for you to pull the trigger in the middle of the eighth round of startup drafts. His trade value is also very palatable. Once we get closer to rookie draft season, we are going to see him being traded for second-round rookie picks more often. There’s little-to-no risk at that price point and it’s hard to object if you get the chance to buy him for a second-round pick.
Devontae Booker (JAN ADP: N/A)
Booker is signed with the team through 2019. His deal is cheap and even though he hasn’t panned out, he does serve some value as the third running back on the depth chart. If anything, he does a good job at catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s worth a flier in super-deep leagues, but more often than not, he serves more value on the waiver wire.
Emmanuel Sanders (JAN ADP: 120.17, WR50)
A torn Achilles prematurely ended his 2018 season. Before the injury, he was on pace for over 1,000 receiving yards. This is a big blow to his dynasty value considering he will be 32 years old when the season starts. There’s a good chance that he will start the season on injured reserve or the PUP. With 2019 being his last year as a Bronco, Sanders could be looking for a new home next off-season.
It’s a tough market for middle-aged wide receivers and his days of playing in the NFL are close to being done. If we’re lucky, we will get a few more years out of him, but there’s also the chance he flames out and never posts a fantasy relevant season again. With that being said, it’s not a smart move drafting him at his ADP right now, because his value will drop even more when he’s on the PUP or injured reserve come week one. If I wanted to obtain him, that’s when I would make my move.
Courtland Sutton (JAN ADP: 48.67, WR23)
The Broncos drafted Sutton in the second round of last year’s draft. He finished his rookie season catching 42 passes for 704 yards and four touchdowns. His fantasy value increased after Demaryius Thomas was traded to the Houston Texans for a fourth-round pick. He delivered five games with ten fantasy points or more. Considering he was a rookie and played in an inefficient offense, his production was very encouraging for his long-term player value.
Sutton will open the season as the team’s WR1 and he should have a vice grip on his role for the foreseeable future. His game should develop as he gets more seasoned. The stability of the offense is the major question. Eventually, the Broncos will need to bring in a new quarterback and the transition could potentially impact Sutton’s output for the better or worse. Right now, his ADP is at 48.67, making him a late fourth-round pick in startup drafts. This seems like a fair price for a 23-year-old receiver who forecasts to be the main target hog on his own team. There’s also risk associated with his stock because there’s a chance that he never develops and becomes a fantasy relevant commodity.
DaeSean Hamilton (JAN ADP: 121.50, WR51)
Denver selected him in the fourth round of last year’s draft. Coming out of college, Hamilton was pegged as one of the top route runners in his class. He will start the season as the team’s WR2 and should receive plenty of opportunity for targets. The possibilities will be endless if he takes a step forward in his development. At his current ADP, he’s worth taking a flier on to see if he hits. Hamilton is a solid end-of-bench stash.
Tim Patrick (JAN ADP: 226.83, WR99)
Patrick signed a reserve-futures deal with the Broncos. With that being said, he’s a player I would probably try to avoid in startup drafts. It’s not even guaranteed that he will be on a roster in 2019. If the Broncos draft or sign another wide receiver, then Patrick will become valueless.
River Cracraft (JAN ADP: N/A)
Cracraft is an undrafted free agent from Washington State. He is signed with the team through 2019 on a cheap deal. His play during training camp will be very important to whether he makes the team. As of right now, he should not be on anyone’s radar in dynasty.
Jeff Heuerman (JAN ADP: N/A)
His season abruptly ended after Denver’s week 12 contest against the Pittsburg Steelers when he suffered broken ribs and a bruised lung. In 11 games, he caught career-high 31 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. He will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season. Injuries have prevented Heuerman from suiting up during the majority of his career. He missed his entire rookie season due to an ACL tear and he has been working through injuries ever since. New scenery might be best for him.
Jake Butt (JAN ADP: N/A)
Butt finally got the opportunity to log some snaps last year. He played in three games, logging eight catches for 85 yards. Unfortunately, his season ended after he tore his ACL for the third time in his career. He tore his ACL in 2014, then he re-tore it in 2016 while playing in the Orange Bowl. Since then, Broncos fans have been waiting for Butt to take the field and showcase what he can do. Coming out of college, he was considered a very talented tight end prospect, but the ACL injury caused him to fall in the draft.
Troy Fumagalli (JAN ADP: N/A)
The Broncos placed him on IR after he missed the entire preseason with a sports-hernia injury. He had to undergo surgery to fix the issue. Fumagalli is expected to be able play by week one next season and with there being a lot of questions marks at tight end for the Broncos, he might sneak his way into the starting lineup.
Matt LaCosse (JAN ADP: N/A)
It was a war of attrition at the tight end position for Denver. The injuries sustained by the other tight ends on the depth chart allowed LaCosse to step in and log some snaps during the final weeks of the season. He should get the opportunity to fight for a spot on the roster in training camp.