Shark Bites

Broncos WR Carlos Henderson will undergo thumb surgery on Sunday, reports the Denver Post's Nicki Jhabvala. We don't have a timetable for the rookie's return yet, but he'll be hard-pressed to be ready by Week 1. Henderson was battling for the #3 WR job behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. We'd still bet on him moving into that role at some point this season, but he's not worth a pick outside of dynasty drafts.

Broncos DE Derek Wolfe suffered a "really bad sprain" in his right ankle in Saturday's practice, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. The injury also reportedly included a ligament tear. Wolfe still said it wasn't as bad as initially feared at that he hopes to be back to 100% by Week 1. We'll see if he gets there. At the least, it's another blow to a defense that will miss OLB Shane Ray into the regular season and lost DE Billy Winn to an ACL tear.

Broncos HC Vance Joseph announced that QB Trevor Siemian will start Thursday night's preseason opener. But QB Paxton Lynch will start the 2nd exhibition. This remains an open competition. But Siemian drawing the 1st start does nothing to dispel this morning's report that he's in the lead. Preseason performance figures to determine who's under center come Week 1.

Yahoo's Charlie Robinson hears from Broncos staffers that Trevor Siemian is winning the team's QB competition "by default." He's been steady-if-unspectacular early in camp, while Paxton Lynch has failed to take a step forward. "If you believe the practice tape that others have watched, Lynch has lost every single practice session to Siemian," Robinson writes. "His sparse collection of good days has been – at best – on par with Siemian’s good days. Lynch’s bad days have been exponentially worse." Denver's front office would prefer their 2016 first-rounder to win this job, but they'll go with Siemian if he gives them a better chance to win. It sounds like that's still the case at this point. Neither of these guys is a fantasy option outside of 2-QB leagues, but Siemian is the target if you're dabbling in Broncos QBs.

Broncos S T.J. Ward left Friday's practice with a right hamstring injury. HC Vance Joseph said afterward that they don't yet know how serious the injury might be, according to The Denver Post. We'll keep an eye on the situation.

Broncos OLB Shane Ray tore a ligament in his left wrist Thursday that is expected to cost him 6-8 weeks, according to The Denver Post. Ray was set to have surgery Saturday morning. He had been expected to start in place of the retired DeMarcus Ware. Denver's top reserve at the position, Shaq Barrett, is on the non-football injury list with a hip issue that HC Vance Joseph expects to keep him out until Week 2 or 3 of the regular season. So the Broncos are expected to turn to 4th-year player Kasim Edebali and former practice-squad player Vontarrius Dora. The situation could significantly hurt the pass rush of 1 of fantasy football's top team defenses.

The Broncos have signed RB Stevan Ridley. The former 1,200-yard rusher has appeared in just 16 games and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry over the past 3 seasons. He's just a camp body for a Broncos backfield dealing with an injured Devontae Booker and a still-rehabbing Jamaal Charles.

Broncos HC Vance Joseph announced that RB Devontae Booker will undergo surgery to repair his fractured wrist on Friday. He's expected to miss 6 weeks, which would have Booker back a few days before Week 1. Joseph expects him to be ready for the start of the regular season. Still, the missed camp and preseason time will make Booker a non-option in fantasy lineups early on.

Broncos RB Devontae Booker has been diagnosed with a fractured wrist. The injury reportedly occurred during OTAs in June but wasn't discovered until Booker had it looked at when he reported to training camp on Wednesday. Insider Mike Klis hears the injury might cost Booker the "first game or 2 of the regular season." Pro Football Talk has a similar timeline, with Booker out "up to 6-8 weeks." It's a tough break for a guy who seemed to be building momentum and making a push for the starting job. He's now a long shot to make a fantasy impact before October at the earliest. Booker's injury strengthens C.J. Anderson's grip on the lead role and removes 1 hurdle between Jamaal Charles and a return to fantasy relevance.

Broncos RB Jamaal Charles (knee) has been cleared for the start of training camp, HC Vance Joseph announced. Charles will "bounce among the 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams," per Joseph, while C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker take more of the 1st-team reps. It sounds like Charles is 3rd on the depth chart for now. If he's healthy, though, he's capable of climbing to the top. He'll be 1 of the more interesting players to watch over the next few weeks.

Broncos RB Jamaal Charles says he feels like his repaired knees are all the way back. "I am doing everything," he told Troy Renck of TheDenverChannel.com. "I have been cutting the last couple of days with the guys during the offseason workouts. I feel like the way I am cutting that I am back to the normal me, man. It feels good to be moving around again." There's certainly opportunity ahead of Charles if he's truly back, but we'll wait to see how he looks in training camp and the preseason. The Broncos clearly took a wait-and-see approach with their non-guaranteed, incentive-boosted contract.

Broncos insider Mike Klis believes the team will go pass-heavy in 2017. "It’s pretty much the same offense [OC Mike] McCoy passed down to Adam Gase in 2013 and 2014, when Peyton Manning handed off only to allow receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to catch their breath," Klis wrote discussing the 2017 scheme. Those Denver offenses weren't quite as pass-happy as Klis believes. The 2013 Broncos ranked 2nd in pass attempts and 10th and pass rate. The 2014 version finished 9th in attempts and 16th in rate. If the Broncos approach that territory this year, though, it'd be a shift from last year, when they ranked 17th in attempts and 18th in rate. That'd be good news for WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who have been nice values in early fantasy football drafts.

Broncos RB Jamaal Charles took part in "light drills" with RBs coach Eric Studesville and the position group, according to The Denver Post. Charles still said he doesn't plan to do much at OTAs, and we'll need to see what Charles looks like in full action this summer. But it's a good sign for the veteran back that he's at least healthy enough for some level of participation in such early workouts.

The Broncos plan on deploying a RB-by-committee this season. “You need two or three guys that can carry the load," HC Vance Joseph said from OTAs on Monday. "It is no longer a one-guy position." Denver has built up some backfield depth this offseason by drafting De'Angelo Henderson and signing Jamaal Charles. They join returnees C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. Anderson will head to training camp as the favorite for touches, but we'll be keeping an eye on how the work will be divvied. You can currently land Anderson in the 5th round of MFL10s, which feels like a fair price.

The Broncos are "very high" on TE A.J. Derby, according to Andrew Mason of the team's official website. Denver acquired Derby from the Patriots in exchange for a 5th-round pick last October. He totaled 16 catches on 20 targets for 160 yards in 6 appearances for the Broncos. Nine of those grabs came in the final 2 games. Mason suggests that Denver plans on using Derby in the passing game out of the slot. He's a name to watch this summer and could turn into a late-round sleeper.

Broncos HC Vance Joseph said Friday that the team is targeting camp time for getting a full look at RB Jamaal Charles. "We're hoping to get Jamaal full speed by training camp," Joseph said, per ESPN.com. "He's going to obviously rehab and have time to get healthy the entire OTAs and the entire summer. So, our goal for Jamaal is to have him on the field during training camp." Don't overlook the fact that Charles still needs rehab time. The Chiefs said they released him after a failed physical, and Charles spent last year dealing with issues in both knees. Seattle also had him in for a visit but chose Eddie Lacy instead. If he does make it all the way back, there's opportunity to emerge as Denver's top back. But there's also a chance that Charles is done. It'll be an interesting summer.

The Broncos have agreed to a 1-year deal with RB Jamaal Charles. Per insider Mike Klis, the contract has a base value of $900K. Charles can earn up to $3.75 million in game-day roster incentives. The 30-year-old missed all but 3 games last year after dealing with complications from his 2015 torn ACL. Charles also tore his ACL back in 2011. He’s reportedly 90% recovered from his latest surgery and has been cleared to practice. It remains completely unclear, though, exactly what he has left in the tank. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Charles this summer. If anywhere close to pre-injury form, he could push for Denver's lead job.

The Broncos closed out the 2017 NFL Draft by drafting Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly at the end of Round 7. NFL Network's Mike Mayock called Kelly a 1st- or 2nd-round pick "all day" without his off-field issues. In Denver, he'll enter an interesting QB situation. Trevor Siemian will again compete with 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch under new HC Vance Joseph. There's at least the chance that Lynch never pans out and Kelly works past Siemian. That makes Kelly worth considering at the end of rookie drafts in dynasty leagues, if you're not fired up about the other available talent.

The Broncos nabbed Coastal Carolina RB De'Angelo Henderson in the 6th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Built like a fire-hydrant at 5'7 and 208 pounds, Henderson runs with a low center of gravity, strong leg drive and good burst. He clocked a 4.48-second 40 time at the Combine, although he finished with a 26th percentile SPARQ score. Henderson was a stat-piling machine at Coastal Carolina, totaling 4,635 yards and 58 scores on 721 carries (6.4 YPC) over the last 4 years. He also caught 97 balls and averaged 9.5 yards per catch. Henderson is making a huge jump up in competition and is a long shot for 2017 fantasy value. But neither C.J. Anderson nor Devontae Booker has locked up the long-term starting job in Denver.

The Broncos grabbed Michigan TE Jake Butt with the 1st pick of the 5th round. Butt’s college career was marred by a pair of right ACL tears — the 1st as a freshman back in 2013 and the 2nd this past December. Those sandwiched a productive career that saw him post a 51-654-3 line in 2015 and a 46-546-4 in 12 games last season. The senior-year performance earned him the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top TE. Butt wasn’t able to work out in the pre-draft process but looks like a mediocre athlete on film. (He averaged a middling 11.9 yards per catch at Michigan.) But he has good size at 6’5, 246 pounds, is an advanced route runner and has strong hands. He profiles as a shorter-range target in the pros. Think Heath Miller. Butt said back in March that he could be rehabbing the latest torn ACL until anywhere from July to October. Don’t expect a fantasy impact this year, but this could be Denver’s starting TE by 2018.

 
 
 

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