Dynasty League Football


2022 Coaching Changes: Nathaniel Hackett to the Denver Broncos

What will Nathaniel Hackett bring to Denver? We break down how their top assets may be affected.

Nathaniel Hackett

Savvy fantasy football managers focus on all positions of a football team. This includes the coaching staff. Changes in the off-season can have a huge impact on the production of skill players at certain positions. Each week we will take a look at one of the nine coaches that have found new homes and examine the potential dynasty impact on the key members of that team.

A Franchise in Flux

It is fair to wonder if Vic Fangio was ever really given a chance to succeed as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. The quarterback play has been mediocre at best since Peyton Manning hung up his cleats in 2015. There have been 11 different starters over that span and Fangio alone oversaw seven of them. To be successful in the NFL, you have to have stability at the quarterback position.

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Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Broncos organization is trying to rectify the situation by bringing in former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Regardless of the skills as a coach Hackett brings, Denver is still going to need to find an answer at the quarterback position. There are several soon-to-be veteran free agents on the roster also. How the front office does via trades, free agency, and the draft will go a long way in building their foundation for the future with a new leader.


By now you have likely caught on to the idea that they need a new signal-caller in the Mile High City. Since they lost the services of their Hall of Fame quarterback after the 2015 season, the Broncos have been over .500 just one time and that was in 2016. Their combined record over that span is 39-58, a .402 “winning” percentage. Needless to say, it is a good thing this is a franchise in flux. Things have not gone their way of late.

Drew Lock

Lock has been a little better than most in terms of win-loss record but still sits at just 8-10 for his career as a starter. The Missouri grad has posted average stats at best. Thus far, he has compiled just a completion percentage of just 59.3%, with 4,704 yards and a 25:20 touchdown to interception ratio.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Yearly Data App.

The soon-to-be fourth-year quarterback is barely startable in superflex leagues and should really not even be rostered in leagues that start just one quarterback.

The odds are against Lock being the starter in 2022. There has been plenty of smoke billowing around that three-time MVP Aaron Rodgers could be following his offensive coordinator to the Rocky Mountains. Maybe Hackett can fix Lock, but in all likelihood, Denver moved on from him when they moved on from Fangio. The quarterback position is a big question mark, or in sticking with the theme of this article, it is a position in flux under the first-time head coach.

Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater is an unrestricted free agent in 2022 and in theory could be an option to replace Lock, but the chances of that are slim. There are other free agents out there who are younger and bring more upside to the table. The Louisville grad has never quite put it all together and had what we would call a great season. Injuries and quarterback competitions have seen to that. To date, his best finish was a QB19 back in 2020.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Yearly Data App.

Joining the former Vikings quarterback on the market are Tyler Huntley and Jameis Winston. Both are in their twenties and could be nice projects for the newly hired offensive guru. Bridgewater may land somewhere as a stop-gap starter or strong backup and might be worth holding onto in deeper superflex leagues.

Brett Rypien is also technically on the roster but is an exclusive rights free agent in 2022. Having started just one game in his career, the Boise State alum is not worth considering in any format.

Running Back

Denver had a one-two punch last season in Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon that mirrored the duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon that Hackett worked with while in Green Bay last season. The Broncos combo combined for 1,821 yards on 406 attempts (4.49 per) and hauled in 71 of 91 targets for an additional 529 yards and 17 total touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Packers duo was a little behind in the rushing department with 1,602 yards on 358 attempts (4.47 per) but made up some ground in the passing game, catching 86 of 102 targets for 704 yards, and also combined for 17 total touchdowns.

Javonte Williams

Williams’ future was bright regardless of who was brought in to lead the team. The fact it was an offensive-minded coach only amplifies the upside for the Tarheel alum. Strangely enough, Williams and backfield mate Gordon each had exactly 203 carries in 2021 and almost identical yardage numbers. Gordon bested the rookie 918 to 903 in that category. The young running back got the better of the two in the passing game though, out-targeting Gordon 53 to 38 and out-catching him 43 to 28.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Percentage Fantasy Points App.

With the edge garnered in the receiving game, the Williams just barely outscored Gordon in PPR formats by 5.8 points. Gordon is a free agent in 2022 (more on that in a moment) and is also going to be 29 years old when the season kicks off. A repeat of an even split that we saw in 2021 is highly unlikely. Williams is the future and Hackett would be wise to build his offense around the youngster. We have beleaguered the fact about the poor quarterback play. One way to hide that is with a good running game.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

Hackett has always had solid production from his RB1, going all the way back to Fred Jackson in Buffalo back in 2013 and 2014. The 2018 season (with the Jaguars) is the one outlier, but that is the year that Leonard Fournette only played eight games and TJ Yeldon carried the load the rest of the way. Williams was a buy before the news broke of the former Green Bay assistant coming to town, and the second-year back is an even bigger buy now.

Melvin Gordon

We just mentioned that Gordon is a free agent in 2022 and will also be 29 years old. The vet showed there is still some wear left on the tires in 2021, finishing as the RB18 in PPR formats. Where he lands will determine his value. If it happens to be back in Denver, we already mentioned that we do not think it will be an even split going forward. Looking at the ADP for both players, it appears that is the consensus, which only makes sense given the player’s respective ages.

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Data Courtesy of DLF ADP Over Time App.

The former fantasy RB1 still has some value and is worthy of a roster spot, but the up-and-coming Williams should be the mainstay of this offense going forward. Mike Boone is also on the roster as is Damarea Crockett, but neither is worthy of a roster spot in any format.

Wide Receiver

Wide receiver is a position of depth for the Broncos. Denver currently has ten wideouts and only one of them is a free agent in 2022. With only one quarterback and two active running backs under contract, this roster makeup is likely due for a major overhaul. We will highlight just the four receivers that are ticking off the ADP meter, and the rest of them are going to be in “flux” before we kick off next season.

Jerry Jeudy

Perhaps no group of players from any organization is happier about a hire than the Broncos receivers have to be right now. They are yearning for some consistency and talent from the quarterback position. They are playmakers, but playmakers cannot make plays on balls that are not catchable. Jeudy has been rumored to be part of a package that would bring Aaron Rodgers to Denver. That would make some sense given the depth of the position we discussed above. It seems unlikely that the Broncos would part ways with their first-round pick from just two years ago.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Yearly Data App.

The Alabama alum only played in ten games in 2021 and took a step back from a point per game perspective. In his rookie year, the route runner extraordinaire averaged 9.85 points per game but saw that dip to just 8.5 in the injury-plagued year. It is worth noting that Jeudy is listed as the left wide receiver for Denver. This happens to be the same side of the field where Davante Adams primarily lines up (courtesy of lineups.com). The verdict is still out on whether or not Jeudy can be good at the NFL level.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Dynasty Rankings History Comparison.

Given his young age and the recent decrease in the cost to acquire, Jeudy makes an intriguing dynasty asset. The player who the front office and coach Hackett peg to be the starting quarterback will determine whether this chart continues to trend south or if it skyrockets upward. We are betting on the latter side of the trend to come to fruition.

Courtland Sutton

Suttin is a player who may not be upset with a Rodgers for Jeudy swap. The SMU star has seen his numbers drop the past two seasons since the Jeudy arrived in Denver. We are not talking about a small dip, we are talking about a double-digit drop in production when the two are on the field together.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Splits App.

We have a fairly decent sample size here. Notice that the veteran has not scored a touchdown in the 11 games played with the younger wideout. His target share is nearly cut in half as well. Looking back at Hackett’s history, there does not seem to be much room to support two successful fantasy wideouts.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

The well-traveled coach was able to pull good seasons out of both Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson while in Jacksonville back in 2016, but it was the exception, not the norm. Sutton did just sign an extension to stay in Denver through 2025 last season, so the front office clearly thinks highly of their receiver. If Jeudy is traded away, then the ADP will rise faster than gas prices in the summer.

KJ Hamler

In 2021, Hamler was looking to improve on a solid rookie season but unfortunately tore his ACL against the New York Jets in week three. The Penn State grad caught 30 of 56 targets in 2020 for 381 yards and three touchdowns. The youngster is small in stature at 5’9” and 178 pounds and also missed three games during his rookie campaign. The durability question has to come into play. We do not mind taking a chance on him at the current WR74 ADP. A year to recover and a new offensive scheme could be just what the doctor ordered to revive the value of the 22-year-old.

Tim Patrick

Patrick led Denver both in fantasy points and points per game in PPR formats yet is the last of the starters to be drafted. The veteran is 28 years old so perhaps that is scaring folks away. But, much like his teammate Sutton, Patrick just inked a contract extension in 2021 that keeps him under team control until 2024. The former Ravens and 49ers practice squad member is the biggest of the starting wideouts and stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 208 pounds. This is a big reason why Patrick led the team in touchdown receptions with five in 2021. His current ADP of 181 almost feels like stealing. You should find a way to get him on your rosters. The cost to acquire should be next to nothing.

Tight End

Tight end is another position where the Broncos seem to be set. Noah Fant is just barely 24 years old and Albert Okwuegbunam is still just 23. Both do have contracts expiring over the next two seasons, so Denver would be wise to address the situation this off-season. If they get these two youngsters under wraps, then they can “set it, and forget it” so to speak at the position for quite some time.

Noah Fant

We are all still waiting for Fant to have that breakout season. The 2020 campaign was his best one yet and resulted in a TE8 finish in PPR formats. Given the draft capital and the hype surrounding the former Iowa Hawkeye, his first three seasons can be declared a bit of a disappointment.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Yearly Data App.

As is the case with the rest of the offense in Denver, we can blame the lackluster numbers on shoddy quarterback play and an overall ineptitude on offense. Over the past three seasons, the Broncos have averaged just 19.16 points per game and are perennially are in the bottom third of the league in points scored. There is no denying Fant has the talent. The concern here is the history of the tight end in a Hackett offense.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

Going back to the coaching history app well one last time, we see that outside of Robert Tonyan’s TE5 finish in 2020, there has never been a TE1 on a Hackett-led team. Granted, the former Bills, Jags, and Packers coordinator did not call the plays, but he did help design them. Perhaps if Denver does move Jeudy in a move to get Rodgers, the big tight end would earn a more prominent role.

Albert Okwuegbunam

A lot of fantasy managers were shocked, nervous even when Denver selected Okwuegbunam in the fourth round of the 2020 draft just one year removed from spending a first-round pick on the aforementioned Fant. ‘Albert O’ has not disappointed. After playing just four games his rookie season, the Missouri Tiger alum saw action in 14 games this season. The other three were sat out due to injury.

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Okwuegbunam actually did more with less than his tight end counterpart, averaging 1.95 points per opportunity (40 targets) to 1.77 (90 targets) for Fant. Both players need to be rostered in all formats. We noted in the position brief that the contracts are coming up for both players. Fant is a UFA in 2022 and his teammate follows him the year after in 2023. The Broncos have the sixth-highest amount of cap space in 2022. They better get these done.

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Data Courtesy of overthecap.com.


The Denver Broncos are an organization in flux. Changes have already been made at the head coaching position and with the unrest at the quarterback spot, we can expect some change there as well. Melvin Gordon is an aging free agent. Will Jerry Jeudy be dealt to acquire Aaron Rodgers and if so can Courtland Sutton and KJ Hamler fill the void? The tight end contracts need to be addressed.

All things considered, things should be looking up for Denver on offense with the hire of Nathaniel Hackett.

2022 Coaching Changes: Nathaniel Hackett to the Denver Broncos
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