Watch Now: 2020 NFL Schedule: Denver Broncos (1:55)

Drew Lock showed enough late last season for the Broncos to move ahead with him as the starter, but Fantasy players didn't exactly see much to get excited about. Lock may have a bright future ahead of him yet, but if he doesn't take a step forward, that could be bad news for Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay on a suddenly crowded roster. On the other hand, that group of play makers will make Lock's life a lot easier in Year Two. 

2019 Review

Record: 7-9 (17th in NFL)
PPG: 17.6 (28) 
YPG: 298.6 (28)
Pass YPG: 194.7 (28) 
Rush YPG: 103.9 (20) 
PAPG: 31.5 (27)
RAPG: 25.6 (15)

2019 Fantasy finishes

QB: Joe Flacco* QB35; Drew Lock QB37;  
RB: Phillip Lindsay RB20; Royce Freeman RB37
WR: Courtland Sutton WR20; DaeSean Hamilton WR95
TE: Noah Fant TE15
* No longer on the team

Number to know: 23.1

You can count on Shurmur to be a friend to his running backs. Even in last year's terrible, tough-luck campaign with the Giants, Shurmur found 18.8 carries and 4.3 receptions per game (23.1 total touches) for his running backs. That was a three-year low — his backs hit 27.4 touches per game (20.3 carries, 7.1 receptions) in 2018 and a whopping 33.2 touches per game (27.9 carries, 5.3 receptions) in 2017 with a successful Vikings team. 

If the carries are split 60-40 between Gordon and Lindsay, at worst we could summarize that 7.5 carries per game will go to Lindsay and most of the rest (11.3 carries and 4.3 receptions) to Gordon. That would actually be low for Gordon, who has averaged at least 13.1 carries per game every year of his career. He's also averaged at least 3.2 grabs per game in his past four seasons. 

2020 Offseason

Draft Picks 

1. (15) Jerry Jeudy, WR
2. (46) KJ Hamler, WR
3. (77) Michael Ojemudia, CB
3. (83) Lloyd Cushenberry III, C
3. (95) McTelvin Agim, DT
4. (118) Albert Okwuegbunam, TE
5. (178) Justin Strnad, LB
6. (181) Netane Muti, G
7. (252) Tyrie Cleveland, WR
7. (254) Derrek Tuszka, LB       

Additions

RB Melvin Gordon; QB Jeff Driskel; OG Graham Glashow; TE Nick Vannett; DT Jurrell Casey; CB A.J. Bouye

Key Departures

QB Joe Flacco; C Connor McGovern; OG Ronald Leary; RB Theo Riddick and Devontae Booker; FB Andy Janovich; CB Chris Harris; DL Derek Wolfe

Available Opportunity 

2 carries, 2 RB targets, 44 WR targets, 0 TE targets   

Rankings and Projections

Player
Drew LockQB22QB18QB22
Melvin GordonRB14RB14RB17
Phillip LindsayRB43RB45RB44
Courtland SuttonWR26WR21WR24
Jerry JeudyWR40WR39WR41
Noah FantTE12TE12TE13
Broncos DSTDST13DST16DST20

Heath Cummings' projections
QBDrew Lock4,123 YD, 26 TD, 14 INT; 227 Rush YD, 1 TD
RBMelvin Gordon771 YD, 7 TD; 52 REC, 392 YD, 3 TD
RBPhillip Lindsay597 YD, 5 TD; 32 REC, 199 YD, 2 TD
WRCourtland Sutton132 TAR, 72 REC, 1,101 YD, 7 TD
WRJerry Jeudy103 TAR, 62 REC, 804 YD, 6 TD
WRKJ Hamler80 TAR, 54 REC, 553 YD, 4 TD
TENoah Fant80 TAR, 49 REC, 685 YD, 4 TD

Biggest Question

How many touches will the offseason acquisitions see?  

"Expect Melvin Gordon to play on passing downs, a role Royce Freeman played in 2019. That would largely push Freeman aside, and Gordon should also cut into Lindsay's rushing work. In the passing game, first-rounder Jeudy will compete with Sutton for the long-term No. 1 role, while fellow rookie and slot option Hamler will also be involved. Fant also has tight end competition in rookie Albert Okwuegbunam and his 99th percentile speed score." - Ben Gretch 

One sleeper, one breakout, and one bust

Sleeper
DEN Denver • #3
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2019 Stats
PAYDS
1020
RUYDS
72
TD
7
INT
3
FPTS/G
16.2

The Broncos have taken a good quarterback prospect and surrounded him with a great group of explosive receivers. It should lead to positive results. Going 4-1 as a starter last year, Lock proved to be good enough to win but not always sharp enough to be a Fantasy stud. Though he had a knack for keeping plays alive, he also forced plenty of dicey throws and wasn't great when under pressure. Evolving the offense under new coordinator Pat Shurmur will help, but frankly it's the improved talent around Lock, combined with his ability to run a little bit, that gives him a chance to be at least a quality No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, if not a top-12 finisher by the time the season ends. His early schedule could help him get off to a good start.

Breakout
DEN Denver • #10
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Prospect Profile
2020 NFL Draft
15th overall (Round 1)
Height
6-1
Weight
193
40 time
4.45

Jeudy was one of two receivers who were deemed NFL-ready by most draft analysts, and he's one of three rookie wideouts who figure to be top-100 picks in drafts this summer. It's the total package of skills that makes Jeudy so attractive — he's got incredible footwork to go with a nice-sized frame and very good speed. If not for the atypical offseason, Jeudy could be on pace to be a co-No. 1 receiver in Denver with Sutton. But the lack of an offseason program could hurt Jeudy's progress a little, and even the top rookies need time to learn their craft at the pro level. By November, Jeudy could be a regular staple in Fantasy lineups. 

Bust
DEN Denver • #87
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
40
TAR
66
REYDS
562
TD
3
FPTS/G
7

The Broncos' additions this offseason included a veteran pass-catching running back, two speedy receivers and an underrated tight end who caught passes from Lock for two years. Fant's going to have to overcome all of these guys in order to be an impactful Fantasy option. He'll also have to overcome an inconsistent rookie year when he ranked dead last in deep-ball catch rate and 17th out of 39 qualifiers in yards per route run (1.52) and targets (59). Without a surge in targets, Fant's destined to be a streaming tight end. The good news? He starts Week 1 against the Titans, which was a good matchup last year. You could theoretically draft him, start him, then dump him. 

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