There are plenty of questions facing the Broncos heading into 2017, but the most obvious is their starting quarterback. Who is it going to be? As far as the wide receivers go, it may not matter.

It's pretty remarkable that Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas both make that list with the instability they've had at quarterback the past two seasons. It also leads you to believe they're going to get their production no matter who the quarterback is. Of course, if Paxton Lynch could actually develop into an above-average NFL quarterback it wouldn't hurt anything.

The rest of the the questions revolve around the running game, and if everyone is healthy, it's going to be difficult to project. Let's give it a shot by ranking the Broncos Fantasy assets:

*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings, but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.

Denver Broncos
Player Expected FP Position Rank Expected PPR FP Position Rank
158.5 12 248.5 10
131.5 24 206.5 28
137.2 21 157.2 26
player headshot
Jamaal Charles DEN RB
101 37 141 35

Breaking down the touches

The Broncos have a lot of both uncertainty and familiarity in their coaching staff. Vance Joseph will be in his first year as a head coach, but his offensive coordinator (Mike McCoy) has been a head coach the past four years in San Diego and is the Broncos' former offensive coordinator. 

One of the first things that stuck out to me looking at McCoy's history was his use of the tight end position. The Chargers threw the ball to their tight ends 24 percent of the time, and this was not just because of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry. Going back to 2012, when McCoy was with the Broncos, the team gave the combination of Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen and Virgil Green 149 targets. If Jake Butt gets healthy before Week 1, he could be a really interesting deep sleeper.

I'm projecting 560 pass attempts for the Broncos, with 123 of them going to the tight ends. At this point I wouldn't expect a full 16 games from Butt, so he's getting about half of those. That makes him mostly irrelevant in Fantasy football, but that could change in the preseason. Here's a more detailed look at my expectations:

Broncos Touches
C.J. Anderson 50% 200 5% 30 20 7
Jamaal Charles 25% 100 10% 56 30 4
Devontae Booker 22% 90 4% 20 14 1
Demaryius Thomas 0 0 26% 148 81 8
Emmanuel Sanders 0 0 24% 132 75 6
Jake Butt 0 0 12% 65 48 4

Of note:

  • Setting an expectation for Jamaal Charles is nearly impossible. He's the most efficient running back in league history, but he may also be done. If he's a full go at the start of camp, this number will go up.
  • If Charles cannot make a difference in 2017, these numbers are too low for C.J. Anderson. I don't have any concern over Devontae Booker outplaying Anderson.
  • Rookie tight ends are almost always bad. Butt could be the best value of a disappointing bunch because he'll be free on draft day.

The Leftovers

The Broncos have a pair of rookies who could theoretically make an impact. De'Angelo Henderson is a 5-foot-7 running back the team selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft out of Coastal Carolina. If Charles can't get through camp and Booker continues to disappoint, it's possible that Henderson could find a third-down role in the passing game. 

Carlos Henderson was a third-round pick out of Louisiana Tech. He had 1,535 yards as a senior with 19 touchdowns. I'm not sure he has the size to play outside in the NFL, especially as a rookie, but he could see targets from the slot. Barring an injury to Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas it's difficult to see a role for Carlos Henderson, but if Sanders specifically misses time he could be someone we're talking about on the waiver wire.