Vic Fangio enters his third season with urgency to win. Since coming over from Chicago, Fangio has a 12-20 record. There hasn't been much success in Denver since Peyton Manning walked off to the sunset after winning Super Bowl 50.
The Broncos will lean on a strong defense that gets some key players back in 2021. Can Fangio get this defense to look like how they did in 2015? Maybe they won't be a historically good defense, but they certainly have the talent to be a top-10, maybe top-five unit in the league. Denver is looking to bring back some pride, but it might be too tough playing in one of the best divisions in football.
As I mentioned, this defense has a chance to be one of the best in the league.
It helps when you get one of the best pass rushers of all time coming back from injury. Von Miller's season ended before it started when he dislocated his peroneal tendon in his ankle. Who knows how he's going to come back from a big injury. Especially because he's on the other side of 30. On the opposite side, you have Miller's protege Bradley Chubb. In 14 games, Chubb had 7.5 sacks and 19 QB hits. If both stay healthy, they should be one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league.
The secondary added some big-time pieces this offseason. In the draft, the Broncos selected Patrick Surtain II in the first round. They also added Kyle Fuller, who is familiar with Fangio's system from their days in Chicago. Justin Simmons also returns, coming off a Pro-Bowl season. This secondary should be ranked as one of the best in the league.
If this team wants to go anywhere, it starts with this defense. This unit is explosive and has a chance to be one of those cool, scoring defenses that return strip-sacks and interceptions for touchdowns. Let's see if Fangio can put it all together.
As good as this defense is, the offense can easily bring down this team.
Teddy Bridgewater beat out Drew Lock to start the season against the Giants in week one. I was a little surprised by this move. I thought the Broncos would give Lock one more shot before moving on. Instead of going with the young gunslinger, they opted to choose the veteran game manager. I understand the move because with that defense, you certainly don't want to shoot yourself in the foot with bad turnovers on offense. Bridgewater takes over an offense that has some solid-skill players and a decent offensive line. The Lock era might be over, but Broncos fans will always remember these moments.
It's also interesting to point out that Bridgewater has never thrown for more than 15 touchdowns in a season!!! Something to keep in mind when you're drafting Broncos receivers in fantasy football.
The wide receiver group is probably the strongest part of this offense. Jerry Jeudy looks to make a second-year leap after having a solid rookie season. Joining Jeudy is Courtland Sutton who missed all of last year with a torn ACL. Sutton seemed to be poised to take that WR1 spot after a breakout season in 2019. Another receiver to look out for is KJ Hamler. The speedster from Penn State made a few flashes during his rookie season and should see a bigger role in year two.
The running back position looks to be a 1-2 punch between Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams. Many believe that Williams will end up taking over the backfield as the season goes on. I want to talk about Melvin Gordon for a second. Remember a few years ago he held out of training camp wanting to reset the running back market? He's now in trouble of losing his job midseason. Life comes at you fast.
Another player I like in this offense is Noah Fant. I think Fant has a chance to be a 1,000-yard receiver, especially with Bridgewater under center. If Fant can stay healthy, he has all the ability in the world to be one of the top tight ends in the league.
The concern I have with the offense is Bridgewater's ability to create explosive ways. It's going to be interesting to see how Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur game plans for this offense.
BEST VALUE FANTASY PLAYER
As I said, I think Noah Fant has a chance to break out this season. Although there are a decent amount of mouths to feed in this offense, I think Fant benefits from Bridgewater's short throws and check-downs. I also think KJ Hamler has a chance to create explosive plays and can be a solid waiver pickup.
TOTAL WIN PREDICTION
The line is currently set for 7.5 wins. It's tough because I can easily see this team ride the defense, while the offense does just enough to put some points on the board. With that being said, I'm going to take the under. When you have to play against explosive offenses like the Chiefs and Chargers twice, it's going to be hard for this offense to keep up.
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