Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Denver Broncos

A fantasy football perspective on the team

What can the Denver Broncos do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.

Inside the Locker Room
with Jim Armstrong, Freelance Writer

Is Peyton Manning still Peyton Manning?
Enter at your own risk when it comes to the injury factor, but the fact is, he was Favre-esque from a durability standpoint before his neck issues. Manning began working with his new receivers from his earliest moments in Denver, and he, like everyone else in the organization, believes there is major talent there that went untapped with Tim Tebow under center. The bottom line: Look for 30-plus TD passes.

Can both Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas be week-in, week-out fantasy producers, or is one clearly the top Manning target?
Unfortunately, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas share a common bond: Both have had injury issues that have kept them from becoming major impact players. Add in Tim Tebow’s throwing issues and it was no surprise that neither put up impressive numbers in 2011. Now for the flip side: Both are big, fast and hungry to make their marks in the NFL. Jot down each as a major sleeper in fantasy drafts. Thomas is the bigger home run threat, and Decker will work the middle of the field.

After coming to Denver with Manning with his first chance as a starter, what do you expect from Jacob Tamme?
It was no coincidence that Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen were signed within hours of each other. The plan is for them to provide a package, with Dreessen doing most of the blocking and Tamme expected to put up significant receiving numbers. Given his history with Manning, there’s no reason to think he won’t catch a ton of TD passes.

Athlon's Best Bets

Sleeper: Eric Decker, WR
Deep-Sleeper: Gerell Robinson, WR
Overvalued: None
Top Rookie: Ronnie Hillman, RB
Bounce-Back: Peyton Manning, QB
Top IDP: D.J. Williams, LB

2012 Draft Class

2. Derek Wolfe DT 6-5 295 Cincinnati
2. Brock Osweiler QB 6-7 242 Arizona State
3. Ronnie Hillman RB 5-10 192 San Diego State
4. Omar Bolden CB 5-10 195 Arizona State
4. Philip Blake C 6-2 311 Baylor
5. Malik Jackson DE 6-6 290 Tennessee
6. Danny Trevathan LB 6-1 232 Kentucky

Fantasy Impact: The Broncos made their biggest acquisition through free agency, signing Peyton Manning to be the team’s starting quarterback. Although Manning will likely start for the next two or three years, Denver selected Brock Osweiler to learn under the future Hall of Famer. Osweiler holds value in long-term keeper leagues and is unlikely to play in 2012. Ronnie Hillman isn’t a three-down back but should be a valuable change-of-pace option to Willis McGahee. Consider Hillman a late-round pick in redraft leagues and a fringe keeper selection.

Fantasy Playoff Run: Weeks 14-16 (at OAK, at BAL, CLE)

The Broncos should score more than the 40 points they did in last year’s three fantasy postseason weeks. The Raiders allowed 46 points in Week 14 alone last season. But it could get a lot tougher after facing Oakland’s 31st-ranked fantasy defense against QBs. Peyton Manning will face off against Baltimore’s top-ranked fantasy defense against QBs and Cleveland’s third-ranked defense against QBs.

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