The Denver Broncos were the kings of fantasy football in 2013. Quarterback Peyton Manning had the best single season in NFL history, and everyone on the team benefited greatly from it. Here's a player-by-player list of what you can expect from the team in 2014:
Peyton Manning: The five-time NFL MVP may be 38 years old but he's playing better than anyone. Manning is my top fantasy quarterback once again this season: with retirement looming, Manning knows this season may be his final chance to win another Super Bowl; and after last year's disappointing finish he will certainly come to play. I'm not worried about Manning's ability to perform well, my only concern is the Broncos pitiful defense. General Manager John Elway did a lot to help on the defensive side of the ball by bringing in Demarcus Ware and T.J. Ward. With these two and a healthy Von Miller, the Broncos defense may finally play well, get some stops, and get the ball back in Manning's hands. As always you can expect big numbers on a weekly basis; and all things considered, Manning is posed and ready for another 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns this season.
Demaryius Thomas: No one has benefited more from Manning's coming to Denver than Demaryius Thomas. In 2012 Thomas posted 1,434 yards and ten touchdowns, and in 2013 he added another 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. Thomas has emerged as one of the better Wide Receivers in the league because of height and break away speed. The only thing that needs some work is Thomas's ability to catch the ball down field, but with another offseason to work on that you can expect some improvements this season. Elway is trying to extend Thomas's contract to keep him in Denver for years for good reason--you can expect consistent numbers from Thomas once again this season.
Wes Welker: Although he drops the ball a lot, Welker is still one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. As long as he stays healthy, Welker will have pretty consistent yardage, and he is a huge threat in the red zone. Welker had a career-high ten touchdowns in 2013, but unless Manning throws for another 55 touchdowns don't expect that many again. Welker is a great reserve for your team, but I wouldn't recommend drafting him as a starter. Manning spreads the ball around a lot, so don't expect any one on the team except for D. Thomas to have more than 1,000 yards this season. Welker had a few concussion problems this past season, and if that happens again fantasy owners will lose him for a few weeks. Welker would be an above-average reserve for your team, just don't draft him too early while bigger receivers are still on the board.
Montee Ball: With Knowshon Moreno leaving and signing with the Miami Dolphins, it looks like Ball will be getting most of the carriers this season for the Broncos.Ball is one of my sleepers for this upcoming NFL Fantasy season
Manning isn't afraid to use the running game, and he always knows when to hand the ball off to his backs, so Ball can expect a lot of carries this season. Even last year as the second option behind Moreno, Ball managed 559 yards and four touchdowns. Ball's major problem is holding on to the ball, but with an entire offseason to work on his fumbling issue there should be some noticeable improvements. I would definitely consider Ball a sleeper for this upcoming season: Moreno put up 1,038 yards and ten touchdowns this past season, so that's about what you can expect to see from Ball this coming season. Obviously there are better running backs out there, but if you don't want to spend a first round pick to get Adrian Peterson or Matt Forte you may want to consider spending a late round draft pick on Ball. Ball will be in charge of punching the ball in on the goal line, so at the very least you can expect double digit touchdowns.
Julius Thomas: Provided he can stay healthy, Thomas is a huge benefit to the Broncos offense. The 6'5 tight end is just what the Broncos needed: he's a huge threat down the middle of the field and in the red zone. Thomas is still young and he's only going to get better. In 14 games this past season Thomas recorded 788 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Broncos. Thomas is a good tight end, but he's not a great one yet. Thomas's numbers will probably be slightly smaller than last year's, but that's still very good. Thomas would be a great reserve, but he can also be a starter if necessary. Tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski may go as early as the first or second round in many leagues, so drafting a great tight end may be too costly. If that's the case, Thomas could be a definite solution to your tight end problem. Try picking up Thomas in one of the later rounds, especially if you still need a tight end, and he'll provide you with a decent amount of yardage and a good number of touchdowns.With the addition of Demarcus Ware, the Broncos pass rush is sure to cause nightmares for quarterbacks.
Denver Broncos Defense: Denver's defense last year was great against the run, but it was one of the worst in the league against the pass. Denver gave up way too many yards and points to be worth starting last season, but Elway set out to change that this offseason. The Broncos signed three Pro Bowlers this offseason: corner back Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward, and defensive lineman Demarcus Ware. This is just what the doctor ordered: Talib and Ward will greatly improve the secondary, and Ware along with a healthy Von Miller will make Denver's pass rush a nightmare for quarterbacks. The Broncos defense won't be giving up nearly as many yards this season, and they'll finally be forcing some turnovers as well. If all the good defenses are gone and you forgot to pick one up, you may want to consider giving the Broncos defense a shot this season.