Before I get started, let me just say that Elvis Dumervil is probably wishing that fax he sent to the Denver Broncos had gone through. They'll miss him, but Shaun Phillips looked surprisingly good in his debut with the team.
OK, on to last night's game and what we learned from the Broncos' offense.
Peyton Manning is pretty good. His neck is no longer an issue or a worry to his fantasy owners, and although his arm strength may still be a concern, it's not enough of one to make you flinch.
Peyton riding a mile high
He has waaaay too many weapons. It's almost unfair. He won't be seven-touchdowns good again all year, and likely won't even come close to the points output he displayed last night, but he's gonna be pretty darn consistent. If you own him, you're unlikely to be complaining all year.
Moving to his receivers. This is probably subject to change almost on a weekly basis, but the pecking order of this wideout group looks to be 1) Wes Welker, 2) Demaryius Thomas and 3) Eric Decker.
No. 18 is very fond of his new toy, and Welker creates way too many mismatches for opposing defenses, especially when they have to consider how to cover Thomas and Decker. Welker will be excellent point-per-reception value in 2013. Thomas is still a beast and had a nice game, but he could have some frustrating weeks of production here and there.
The biggest loser is Decker. He's an afterthought now and basically will only become an option if Welker and Thomas are covered. He didn't help himself with several drops Thursday night, either, including one that should have been an easy touchdown. He'll be a weak No. 3 WR or flex play every week.
What about the running backs? Knowshon Moreno got the starting nod, which wasn't much of a surprise given the lack of excitement Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball displayed in the preseason. Moreno looked soft, though, and it won't be long before he's giving way to Hillman and Ball for good, which we witnessed in the second half.
Owning any of these three runners will be a headache. As you can see, the Broncos love creating mismatches with their bevy of weapons, and it's no different with their backfield. All three, assuming they're healthy, could see action in every game. Hillman is your best bet for PPR formats and Ball could eventually become their goal-line back, but he's got plenty to improve on.
Denver is going to throw the ball a lot, too. Why shouldn't they? Until a team can show that they can stop all three of their stud wideouts, it won't change. I sure hope you didn't use a high draft pick on Hillman or Ball.
Who the heck is that new tight end? His name is Julius Thomas, and you saw why he's their best pass-catching option at the position above Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme. That won't change now that he's finally healthy. Thomas needs to be owned in all leagues. Join the waiver-wire frenzy to scoop him up! However, don't blow your FAAB budget on him; the two TDs were nice, but that's not going to happen every week. Remember, there are plenty of other mouths to feed in the Mile High City.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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