Denver Broncos Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
QB Peyton Manning got his 2nd Super Bowl ring, and the football world got what they were clamoring for. The “Sheriff” now has the green light to go out on top….if he wants to. It was the Broncos 3rd Super Bowl victory since 1998. I have to think Manning would have liked to win with a historic Manning-esque showing, rather than 141 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. The Denver #1 defense was ferocious all season, and was a nightmare for Carolina QB Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50.
2016 Team Outlook – Denver has won the AFC West five years in a row now, and a Super Bowl as the cherry on top. The rest of the AFC West, the Chiefs, the Chargers and the Raiders may be happy about Super Bowl 50 and hope Manning does in fact retire. Th Chargers had the worst record in the division last year, 4-12, so they have the most work to do to be competitive in 2016.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-
QB– Peyton Manning still hasn’t declared retirement ( as of Feb 18, 2016 ) but the Broncos’ organization really needs to move in a different direction. Additionally, the Broncos have not opened contract negotiations with impending free agent Brock Osweiler either, and the clock is ticking. Osweiler could get plenty of interest if he hits free agency. Brock Osweiler- drafted 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, started for Denver Weeks 10-17 of the regular season while Manning (foot) recovered from injuries. Osweiler finished the season completing 170 completions out of 275 attempts (61.8%) for 1,967 yards for 10 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while having a 86.4 quarterback rating. UPDATE: QB Brock Osweiler signs with Houston
RBs– Fantasy football owners of C J Anderson had to be a bit nervous through the first 7 weeks of the 2015 regular NFL season. RB Ronnie Hillman already had 2 100+ yard rushing games and 2 touchdowns. RB Anderson did not. Anderson didn’t get going until Week 8, with 101 rushing yards ( thanks to a 28 yard TD run) By the end of the season, both backs had 7 rushing TDs and both over 1000+ total yards from scrimmage. Hillma is a free agent this year and CJ Anderson has said that “he believes he can be a bell-cow back….25 times, 27 times, 28 times, either way!”
WRs– Few wide receivers would call 1304 receiving yards/ 6 touchdowns an “off year”, but it was for WR Demaryius Thomas. He was the #13 wide receiver for 2015….not quite the #4 WR that he was in 2014, the #2 in 2013, or the #5 in 2012. Thomas will return as the Broncos’ No. 1 receiver in 2016. His base salary will be $13 million. -WR Emmanuel Sanders ended 2015 as the #18 wide receiver with numbers very close to those of Demaryius Thomas….1135 receiving yards and also 6 touchdowns. Sanders signed a three-year, $15 million contract- the deal contains $6 million guaranteed. Another $3 million is available through incentives. $5 million in 2016. He’ll be a free Agent in 2017. 6’2″ Cody Latimer continues to be a disappointing 2014 2nd-round pick , and was even stuck behind WRs Fowler and Norwood.. The consistent production by Thomas and Sanders makes it almost impossible for another wide receiver to shine in Denver.
TEs– Where Gary Kubiak goes, so goes TE Owen Daniels. Both were in Baltimore and on March 10th, 2015, the Broncos signed TE Owen Daniels to three-year, $12 million contract. 46 receptions in 2015, 517 yards with 3 TDs, and he came up huge in the Conference post-season game vs New England- 2 catches, 33 yards and 2 TDs. On Nov. 2, 2015 the Broncos acquired TE Vernon Davis and a 2016 seventh-round pick from the 49ers. Fantasy football owners hot to waiver wire the new acquisition were painfully disappointed- only 2 games over 25 yards receiving and zero TDs in Denver.
K– Former Colts K Brandon McManus, ended 2015 as the #10 place kicker in the NFL. 30 of 35 field goals and 35 of 36 extra points, McManus the season kicking 3 field goals for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
DEF– The Denver defense went from a respectable in 2014, to revered in 2016. #1 vs the pass and #4 vs the run…..Denver’s #1 defense in the NFL ran over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Not bad for DC Wade Phillips, who was out of football in 2014, and who had 22 defensive coordinators hired to NFL teams before Denver snagged him on January 28th, 2015. Super Bowl 50 MVP OLB Von Miller is a free agent.
2015 Denver Fantasy Surprises– It was written that QB Brock Osweiler regressed from Week 10 to Week 17, when he took over for rehabbing QB Peyton Manning. When we look at Week 16 however, who could complain with a 27/39-299 yards passing with 1 TD- 0 INTs in a game in which Denver won? He was yanked in Week 17, but was it for 2 INTs ( after throwing a 72 yard TD bomb to WR D Thomas) or because QB P Manning was ready? Denver would be wise to sign this guy.
2016 Free Agents that Denver Needs to Address– QB Brock Osweiler (signed w/ HOU) , RB Ronnie Hillman, TE Vernon Davis, WR Jordan Norwood, OLB Von Miller, DE Malik Jackson, ILB Danny Trevathan (signed w/ CHI) , ILB Brandon Marshall (RFA), OG Evan Mathis, DE Antonio Smith, SS David Bruton, FS Shiloh Keo, FS Omar Bolden, LT Ryan Harris, OT Tyler Polumbus (RB C.J. Anderson, RFA)
2016 NFL Draft– A lot will depend on what happens to free agents QB Brock Osweiler, as well RBs Anderson and Hillman Denver would rather concentrate on shoring up one of the weaker O-Lines in the NFL. The Broncos could also key components from their defense. Denver’s 2015 NFL Draft.
Did You Know– Hall-of-Fame Quarterback John Elway played his entire career with the Broncos, although he was drafted by the Colts and forced a trade to Denver by threatening to play Professional Baseball with the New York Yankees.
All team reports can be seen here- TEAM REPORTS
Team home page: www.denverbroncos.com