As awesome as the Denver Broncos were a year ago, there is reason to exercise caution when drafting some of their top options in fantasy football this year.
For one, their quarterback is 38 and nearing some type of inevitable ending, their running back is a first-year full-time starter and they’ve had changes at wide receiver.
But if not for any other reason, fantasy owners should be weary of Broncos options due to their troublesome 2014 schedule. Not only did Denver have a fairly cakewalk journey last year, but this year it gets insanely more difficult. They have battles against the four NFC West teams, while they also have a much more difficult slate of opponent, overall.
Fear not, faithful Broncos homers. If your crew of Denver fantasy weapons can tough it through the first half of the year and emerge unscathed, they’re in for a tasty treat.
In fact, the mighty Broncos have one of the softest schedules to close the season, giving them potentially the greatest upside when you look at the big picture. After all, isn’t that when you need Peyton Manning and co. at their best?
But it gets even better. Thanks to Denvers tough schedule to start the year and likely increased competition within the AFC West, it’s possible (if not likely) that all of their offensive studs have to play the entire season out.
That means if you’re in leagues that continue the fantasy playoffs deep into week 16 and 17, you still might be able to rely on the guys you drafted to carry you to a championship.
Let’s break those final four games of the year down so we can see just what to expect out of our favorite Broncos fantasy weapons:
Week 14 – VS. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo kicks off a hopefully successful stretch run for the Broncos, as a once promising and rising defensive unit will have to make their way through 2014 without Kiko Alonso. Alonso was a stud linebacker who was really all over the field and made their defense go. Add in uncertainty at one safety spot, and the Bills could regress a bit. This one is at home, too, where the Broncos tend to thrive.
Week 15 – @ San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have done a pretty good job against the Broncos lately, but their pass defense still has a ton to prove. Manning and co. will need to close the season strong, and that should include marching into San Diego and taking care of business in this contest.
San Diego’s defense should be better than it was a year ago, but it shouldn’t be good enough to stifle the game’s top passer and quite arguably the league’s best offense.
Week 16 – @ Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati is the only defense in these four matchups that could be a problem. Despite finishing fifth in the league against the pass last year, they still gave up 22 passing scores, though, and this is Manning’s offense we’re talking about. The Bengals also lost some pass rushing help during the offseason. Manning probably won’t go nuts on the road against the Bengals, but they’re not going to shut him down, either.
Week 17 – VS. Oakland Raiders
Most leagues end in week 16, but if yours runs through week 17 this year, you might be glad to own Broncos weapons. Denver routinely bashes Oakland, as Manning dropped seven touchdowns and over 600 passing yards on them in two big wins in 2013. Not much will change, although on paper it does look like the Raiders have gotten a bit more competitive. Still, Denver is at home and the Raiders haven’t proven anything yet. For now, it looks like smooth sailing in this one, and probably overall, for the Denver Broncos.