Broncos Surprises

The Denver Broncos were fantasy poison this summer. No one wanted Kyle Orton or any of his common receivers, other than perhaps Eddie Royal. The Broncos wouldn’t hold up – no way – without first-rate receiver Brandon Marshall. So fantasy owners sat on many of Denver’s finest, and in some cases entire leagues took a pass.

Ooops.

Next to Philip Rivers, Kyle Orton has been the top-producing fantasy quarterback, in terms of yards. And Orton’s touchdown total (nine) isn’t too shabby. But the real surprise has been his top two receivers – Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney, both of whom rank among the league’s top 10 in receptions, and among the top 20 in yards. Lloyd could be the fantasy surprise pick of the season. He’s on pace for 1,768 yards – crazy considering he is 70 yards from reaching his previous season-best total of 733, and Lloyd has 10 more games to play. And, crazy because few receivers explode in year eight (isn’t it supposed to be year number three?).

What fantasy owners should take from this is to have faith in Josh McDaniels. He’s the reason for his offense’s fantasy explosion. McDaniels has recruited talent no one else in the league wanted and turned it into fantasy gold. The former Broncos coaching regime used to do the same, only with running backs instead of receivers. And McDaniels is a chip off the Bill Belichick block in New England, where they have pretty much done the same with guys like Reche Caldwell, Julian Edelman and this past weekend with Deion Branch. It’s an interchangeable parts approach to football – and it works.

By now, if you don’t have Lloyd or Gaffney on your roster you’ve lost out. Next season, though, have a little faith in Denver’s passing game, regardless of who’s on the field at quarterback or wide receiver.

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