The Broncos finished 2019 with a (7-9) record. The team finished as the 28th ranked in points scored which led to the hiring of new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The thing that Scangarello failed at last year as offensive coordinator was affectively spreading the offense out. Scangarello routinely drew up plays that would have the receivers end up bunched up around the same area of the field, which the defense would quickly fill. Pat Shurmur will change this problem quickly as he is particularly good at spacing the offense via an effective spread concept. Shurmur will achieve this spread offense by running a lot of 11 personnel, 3WR 1 TE sets. This plan to run more spread became very evident during the draft when they loaded up on receivers; because to run an effective spread concept your receivers must be complementary to each other through different skill sets. In a spread offense you need a receiver who can take the top off the defense, Hamler, and a receiver who is dynamic after the catch, Jeudy. Shurmur’s offenses are usually defined, and it is pretty apparent the Broncos entering 2020 have one of the most defined in the league. They are going to play Sutton as their big X receiver, Jeudy will be there Z as he will be moved around the formation, and Hamler will be the teams pure slot receiver. Noah Fant will be their tight end and the backfield will feature a heavy dose of Melvin Gordon. This team on paper looks very deadly as it has a lot of speed and quickness.
Drew Lock (QB) – looked good down the stretch in 2019 when he finally got the starting nod. Drew Lock has been equipped with skilled players that should help him succeed in his first full year as the starting quarterback. Pat Shurmur, the quarterback whisperer, being brought in will help further develop Lock into a great quarterback. Last season the coaching staff did a great job of not overwhelming the rookie Lock, which in turn made him mentally stronger as he adjusted to the pro level. Now that Lock appears mentally tough, Shurmur will be able to ask more out of Lock in year two of being a pro. Shurmur’s spread offense will help Lock develop further as it will give him more places to go with the ball while minimizing risk. Lock has a very solid offensive line in front of him as well which is another positive. Lock also has two strong backs behind him to take the pressure off when needed.
Fantasy Spin: Lock enters the season with arguably the most hype of any quarterback entering 2020. The off season additions have really set Lock up for a drastic jump in production if everything comes together like is planned. Entering 2020 Lock can be viewed as a backend QB2 in redraft as; we have him ranked as our 23rd quarterback. In dynasty leagues Lock can be viewed as a middle of the road QB2, as he is our 21st ranked quarterback currently.
Melvin Gordon/ Phillip Lindsay (RB) – the one aspect of the Broncos that will be like last year is the run scheme. Pat Shurmur likes to utilize an outside zone run scheme. The Broncos offensive line is schemed for zone blocking and looks to remain the same despite talks of them going to a power/gap blocking scheme. Pat Shurmur historically uses one back in his offenses signaling that Gordon will likely be the teams bell cow, since the team paid 8 million this offseason to acquire him. Elway has been looking for this style of back for a while and really only views Lindsay as that change of pace, pass catching back. When Lindsay burst onto the scene in 2018 nobody saw it coming. The team knew however that the production wasn’t sustainable as Lindsay isn’t built for that feature role. It will be interesting to see who gets more passing down work because Gordon is a great pass catcher as well. Since Gordon left Wisconsin he has been a top 5 pass catching back in the league which could limit Lindsay’s work even more in 2020. The concern of both of these backs is injury history, as both have suffered injuries that have cost each back extended time throughout various seasons.
Fantasy Spin: Gordon is being drafted in the third round which is kind of a steal because we envision a minimum of 220 carries and 60 targets out of Gordon in 2020. Gordon is a high to mid-range RB2 with upside in redraft leagues. We have Gordon as our 15th ranked running back for redrafts entering 2020. Lindsay will have less of roll then he has had the two previous seasons and will be more of a high end RB5 in redrafts, as we have him ranked as our 53rd running back entering 2020.
Courtland Sutton/Jerry Jeudy/KJ Hamler (WR) – the Bronco’s wide receivers all are hard workers which translate well onto the field. This trio has the makings of developing into the leagues very best trio. Hamler is very quick and will be utilized mainly in the slot. The team wanted an upgrade at that position because they viewed DaeSean Hamilton as a bust. However looking at Hamler there are concerns as well, as he is a small receiver who may not hold up well against the big bodies inside. Another concern with Hamler is the kid lacks natural hands, as we saw last year with his 14 dropped passes at Penn State. The thing with Hamler is the Broncos like the fact that they can change up he and Jeudy’s position on the field when needed. Jerry Jeudy is that Joker who can be lined up inside or outside. Jeudy has been touted as the best route running receiver to come out of college in years. He is explosive with the ball in his hands and has drawn comparisons to not only OBJ, but Antonio Brown as well. Then you have Sutton who is a big bodied receiver who screams dominant outside receiver. At the end of 2019 Sutton emerged as Lock’s go to receiver on his way to his best year as a pro.
Fantasy Spin: Sutton comes out as our top ranked Bronco out of this trio as a back end WR2 to high end WR3. We have Sutton as our 25th ranked wide receiver. Jeudy comes out as a WR4 with upside in redraft his rookie season, as we have him ranked as our 42nd wide receiver. Hamler offers us little value in his rookie season for redraft purposes. Hamler makes for more a late round best ball pick. In Dynasty Sutton is a High end WR2 and Jeudy is a solid WR2 as they rank 13 and 17 in that format. Hamler checks in as our 69th wide out in dynasty formats.
Noah Fant/ Albert Okwuegbunam (TE) – Fant will be their detached movement tight end in 2020. The team will then rely on Nick Vannett to be their inline blocking tight end. Albert O was drafted in the 4th round as he is a big athletic red zone threat. He also played with Lock in college so they liked that familiarity when they drafted him. Fant showed promise in year one despite being riddled a bit with injury. As a whole this tight end group should provide Lock with youth and athleticism for years to come at the position.
Fantasy Spin: Fant is the only tight end likely to be worth anything in 2020 redrafts as we have him slotted as our 16th tight end making him a mid rangeTE2. In dynasty he is our 11th ranked tight end making him a back end TE1. Albert O is a high end TE4 in dynasty leagues as our 37th ranked tight end.
Defense – this defense finished 2019 ranked 10th in points allowed. The unit also finished 2019 as the number 12 total defense. The defense was particularly good in the red zone as they finished number one in that category allowing only 39.1% opponents trips to turn into touchdowns. The Fangio defensive scheme is extraordinarily complex and takes time to learn. The defense also needs the right personnel to run affectively. This defense appears ready to take another giant leap in 2020, as Von Miller looks to rebound from his worst season as a pro. Bradley Chubb will return from injury, as well as young stand outs such as Justin Simmons will likely take a big step in production in year two. On top of the above mentioned the team traded for former Titan Jurrell Casey and replaced star corner back Chris Harris with a solid player In AJ Bouye who fits well in this Fangio Defense.
Fantasy Spin: The defense appears as though they are positioned to do some damage in Fangio’s second year. The defense in terms of NFL value will be top 15. In fantasy we have them ranked as our 11th defense entering 2020. The defense has a few tough matchups as they will face the Super Bowl Champs twice as well as Drew Brees and the Saints. However, the upside is there and Fangio’s successful history for creating valuable fantasy defenses have us high on Denver in 2020.
Strength of Schedule
The Broncos wide receiver corps will face the 9th toughest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 12th toughest during weeks 14-16. Gordon and Lindsay will be looking at the 3rd toughest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The backs will then have the 6th easiest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Lock will face the 8th toughest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the 17th easiest during weeks 14-16. Fant will face the13th toughest fantasy regular season schedule, and will face the 12th easiest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.