The Broncos tried to jump-start their rebuild by trading for Russell Wilson, and they somehow dropped from 23rd to 32nd in scoring in his first season. Now they're hoping Sean Payton can revive Wilson's career and the Broncos offense after a year off from coaching.
Record: 5-12 (27)
PPG: 16.9 (32)
YPG: 325.1 (21)
Pass YPG: 211.3 (19)
Rush YPG: 113.8 (21)
PAPG: 33.6 (16)
RAPG: 26.1 (18)
2022 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 84.8
That is Russell Wilson's passer rating in the red zone over the past few seasons, the two worst of his career when it comes to red-zone performance. Which is to say, maybe we missed a sign of his coming regression last season. Wilson was still very solid outside of the red zone in 2021, with a 96.4 passer rating, so it was, perhaps, easy to write off those red-zone struggles, especially since he still had a solid touchdown rate in the red zone. But those red-zone issues persisted in 2022, and the rest of his game regressed along with them.
If the Broncos are going to turn this offense around, Wilson needs to dramatically improve in those all-important red-zone opportunities. His 15.5% touchdown rate in the RZ was by far the lowest of his career, with the previous low coming in 2016, when he had a 21.7% touchdown rate. Wilson wasn't great outside of the RZ last season, ranking 21st in passer rating, but the real issue with this offense was the way it bogged down near the end zone. If Sean Payton is looking anywhere for a way to turn this thing around, I bet the focus will be there.
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292 RB carries, 93 RB targets, 13 WR targets, 27 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Russell Wilson||PA: 571, YD: 3994, TD: 25, INT: 11; RUSH -- ATT: 44, YD: 200, TD: 1|
|RB||Javonte Williams||CAR: 222, YD: 890, TD: 7; TAR: 69, REC: 55, YD: 383, TD: 2|
|RB||Samaje Perine||CAR: 156, YD: 623, TD: 5; TAR: 46, REC: 37, YD: 274, TD: 1|
|WR||Jerry Jeudy||TAR: 120, REC: 74, YD: 963, TD: 6|
|WR||Courtland Sutton||TAR: 114, REC: 67, YD: 800, TD: 6|
|WR||Marvin MIms||TAR: 23, REC: 13, YD: 151, TD: 1|
|TE||Greg Dulcich||TAR: 80, REC: 50, YD: 547, TD: 3|
Can Russell Wilson bounce back?
During his time in Seattle, Wilson established himself as arguably the most efficient quarterback in the NFL, but he sported a career-low touchdown rate of just 3.3% in his first season in Denver, with his 7.3 yards per attempt the second-worst mark of his career. Wilson struggled to avoid sacks and was one of the worst red-zone passers in the league. Payton's track record suggests this offense should be better, but it's fair to wonder if Wilson just can't play at that level anymore now that he's in his mid-30s. If he can't, little else matters for this offense.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
Williams says he's planning on being ready for Week 1, but until we see him cleared in training camp, we can't really know. Perine has an opportunity to be the lead back for at least a few weeks to open the season, and, as we saw with J.K. Dobbins' recovery from a similar injury last season, there's no guarantee Williams' return will be for good. Perine figures to have a decent role either way as Williams works his way back, but if Williams is delayed at all, Perine should be viewed as a solid RB2.
There wasn't much about this offense that worked last season, but Jeudy was a rare exception. Over his final eight games, not counting one where he played just one snap, Jeudy put up 682 yards on 50 catches with four touchdowns – a 94-1,288-8 pace. At this point, it seems safe to declare Jeudy the team's No. 1 option in the passing game, and if Wilson does bounce back, there's going to be plenty of room for Jeudy to turn a profit as a low-end WR2 in drafts.
We got some excited headlines the other day when Williams declared himself "ready to go" in his recovery from knee surgery, but the rest of the quotes weren't quite as optimistic as the headlines. Williams also had this to say: "It's just all about the evaluation, how the Broncos feel about it. Just seeing how I feel, moving, just trying to get my speed back to normal, things like that.''
If Williams is cleared for training camp and then Week 1, his price is going to shoot up in drafts, but I think there will still be plenty to be wary about. He's coming back from both a torn ACL and LCL, which adds some complications to the typical timeline. And, of course, there's always a difference between "being cleared" and being yourself, and it might be a while before the latter is true for Williams. I've never been quite as enamored with Williams' skill set as many in the Fantasy industry, mostly because of his lack of breakaway speed, and that could be an even bigger issue coming back from a serious injury. Williams thrives at breaking tackles and gaining tough yards after contact, but he doesn't necessarily have the long speed to break off those 50-plus yard touchdowns. If he's limited even a little bit physically, I think things could get pretty ugly for him, especially early on.