The Broncos gave up five draft picks and three players to acquire Russell Wilson, a Super-Bowl-winning quarterback who only had one losing season in 10 years with the Seahawks. The year before Wilson was drafted, Seattle had Marshawn Lynch and the Legion of Boom and won seven games. When Wilson arrived they made the playoffs, advanced to the divisional round right away, and won it all in his second season.
Wilson is very capable of transforming the fortunes of the Broncos, who have been perennial losers since Peyton Manning retired. He arrives in Denver with a potent supporting cast around him. Wilson’s wide receivers may have been better in Seattle, but there is a lot of promise at the position.
In fantasy football, Wilson should easily remain a top 10 quarterback, with the potential to finish in the top 5. But who else from the Broncos will be more impactful with Wilson at the controls? The presence of Wilson raises the fantasy appeal of several other players in Denver this season.
Broncos’ Fantasy Fortunes Will Get a Lift This Season
Sutton or Jeudy On Draft Day?
According to Average Draft Position reports on FantasyPros.com, Courtland Sutton is the first Broncos wide receiver being taken in early 2022 fantasy football drafts in Points Per Reception formats as the 27th wide receiver off the board. Sutton is being drafted as a third fantasy WR, and that sort of ADP positioning makes him a value play. Working with Wilson could vault Sutton into fantasy WR2 territory this year.
Sutton is the most proven wideout on the Denver roster, and already has a 1,112-yard, six-TD campaign to his credit. He is also now two years removed from a major knee injury. Listed at 6-4, 216 pounds, he is a big and fluid target who could crack double figures in touchdowns for the first time in his career in 2022.
The most intriguing player to watch this year in Denver will be Jerry Jeudy. He is being picked two spots after Sutton at wide receiver in early PPR drafts. Entering his third pro season, Jeudy’s progress has been marred by mediocre quarterback play and injuries. But he still has the abilities to blossom as a sharp route runner and a legitimate downfield threat. Wilson is arguably the best deep passer in the game, and both Sutton and Jeudy can benefit with more big plays overall this season.
When he was in Seattle, Wilson elevated DK Metcalf to fantasy WR1 status and Tyler Lockett played at a high-end fantasy WR2 level very often. The Broncos’ top two wide receivers should be viewed similarly in terms of one slightly being valued over the other. Sutton is more likely to be the more frequent TD threat and preferred WR of the two, but Jeudy will have his big weeks as well. Initially, until we see things shake out, Sutton can be drafted as a low-end fantasy WR2 while Jeudy should be targeted as a high-end fantasy WR3.
If injuries become an issue, Tim Patrick should be an immediate fantasy waiver wire pickup, as he has stepped forward admirably in recent years when needed. A healthy K.J. Hamler will be a quality best ball pick and daily fantasy sports option. In best ball leagues, you only draft a team, and the players who score the most points from any of your positions get credit for the week. So you can roster a guy like Hamler and benefit from the two or three games where he may bust out. He will certainly be able to do so on occasion as a prime deep threat for Wilson.
Tight End And Running Backs
It will also be interesting to see if Albert Okwuegbunam can become more of a frequent receiver working with Wilson, but the quarterback never focused heavily on his tight ends in Seattle, other than when he had Jimmy Graham as a goal-line area scorer.
There is a lot of fantasy excitement surrounding Javonte Williams, as he is the No. 10 running back off the board in early 2022 fantasy drafts. The addition of Wilson to the Denver offense should translate into more consistent drives and opportunities to pick up rushing yardage in a balanced and healthier offense. Williams is a supreme tackle-breaker and can help Wilson set up play-action passing, which has always been one of his strengths.
But the return of Melvin Gordon does put a damper on Williams’ overall outlook. While Williams can be very efficient and will certainly deliver some impressive performances, Gordon is a highly proven goal-line runner. Since 2010, he has had five seasons of double-digit total TDs. The Broncos are going to have more scoring opportunities this year in a Wilson-run offense, but Gordon’s presence could cap Williams’ ability to register a heavy amount of TD runs. Williams may finish as more of a fantasy RB2 this season, slightly below the range where he is being drafted.
What we do know for sure, though, is that these Broncos should be significantly improved with Wilson piloting the offense and Nathaniel Hackett also having a major impact in changing the outlook. So it is possible that all the Broncos’ key performers can prove to be value plays in 2022 based on how we are projecting them in advance of the 2022 season.