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Fantasy Football News 2021

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Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (knee) will be "managed" early on in training camp, HC Vic Fangio said Tuesday. Now a little over 10 months removed from his torn ACL, Sutton seems to be trending toward being ready for the season opener. “I feel very close to 100%," he said. "The last percent I need is football.” We'll continue to track his progress.

The Broncos are giving 1st reps to QB Drew Lock as training camp begins. But it doesn’t sound like we should read too much into that. "We have these first four days. Everything was 50-50 in OTA. We will take look after the first off day. Then maybe do a day where one gets 70 and the other 30 reps,” Fangio said, according to Troy Renck. “It's going to be 50-50." Expect an even split early. We’ll look for signs that either Lock or Teddy Bridgewater is taking the lead in their competition.

According to ESPN's Jeff Legwold, Broncos HC Vic Fangio said this month that he "fully" expects WR Courtland Sutton to be ready for the regular season. That follows in line with other positive offseason reports on the 4th-year wideout. Sutton, of course, is working back from a Week 1 ACL tear. The team will monitor him throughout summer workouts and likely keep him on some sort of pitch count for preseason games and training-camp practices. We'll certainly watch reports on Sutton throughout the summer. His current ADP just outside the top 30 at WR, though, makes him easy to take some chances on.

The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran predicts that RB Javonte Williams will lead the Broncos in carries this season. He adds that RB Melvin Gordon could open the season as the starter with Williams getting a bigger and bigger role each week. "The Broncos traded up in the second round for Williams and they weren’t high-fiving and fist-pumping in the draft room because he will watch this year," O'Halloran writes. This will be an important backfield to monitor in August. Williams has climbed into the 5th round in recent FFPC best-ball drafts, while Gordon has slid into the late 8th.

Broncos HC Vic Fangio said he doesn’t see “any limits” with rookie RB Javonte Williams. “We could work him and Melvin, just spelling each other as we go, and one could go in and predominately do third-down stuff,” Fangio said via the Denver Post. “(The rotation) will work itself out and we think (Javonte’s) capable in all downs and distances and all situations for us. And I also believe that him and Melvin will be a good combination back there, along with Boone.” We’re not buying Boone as a real piece of Denver’s backfield rotation. But it’s nice to hear the early confidence in Williams, who the Broncos traded up to select in Round 2. He’s a potential RB2 right out of the gate.

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (knee) won't start training camp on the PUP list, HC Vic Fangio said. Sutton is still rehabbing last September's torn ACL and MCL. But he'll evidently at least be ready for some work at the start of camp and is on track to be on the field for the season opener. We'll continue to track his progress.

Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy finished with the 2nd most drops (12) and 2nd worst drop rate (18.8%) last year. It's been a point of emphasis this offseason. “It’s mostly concentration and focus on the ball,” Jeudy said. “I’ll be so quick to catch and run and hurry up and make a play, instead of catch first and then run. That’s mostly what it is, trying to make plays too fast and not focusing on the bigger picture, which is catching the ball first.” Jeudy dropped just 8.3% of his catchable targets in his final season at Alabama, so we’re not overly concerned about his hands. If he can get better QB play this season -- from either Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater -- Jeudy should build on his 52-856-3 rookie-year line.

Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb had a "minor ankle procedure" last week on the joint that cost him the final 2 games of last season, according to Mike Klis of 9News. The issue will keep Chubb out through the rest of offseason workouts, but he's expected to be ready for the start of training camp. We'll keep an eye on the situation through the summer. Chubb rebounded last season from a 2019 ACL tear to post 19 QB hits, tied for 19th in the league.

Broncos QB Drew Lock worked with Peyton Manning to put together an extensive offseason workout plan that includes multiple throwing sessions, footwork work and film sessions every day, according to NFL Network's James Palmer. 2021 feels like a make-or-break year for Lock after 2 mostly disappointing seasons to start his NFL career. Denver made a cheap trade for QB Teddy Bridgewater this offseason but didn't add a QB in the draft, so the door remains wide open for Lock to be the 2021 starter. And he certainly has the weapons to be a fantasy factor. We'll monitor the Lock vs. Bridgewater battle all summer.

Broncos HC Vic Fangio said earlier this month that he expects TE Albert Okwuegbunam to be limited at the start of training camp. "Probably not right off the bat full speed," he said, referring to Okwuegbunam and CB Essang Bassey, both coming off ACL tears. "They'll have to be managed, but the both are doing very well." We'll see about Okwuegbunam's participation as camp gets going, but being active at any level seems like a positive coming off a November ACL tear. Of course, any limitations for him can only be good news for Noah Fant's target opportunity.

Broncos HC Vic Fangio plans to split reps evenly between QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock this offseason. "It will be something that at the end of the day, maybe not at the end of every day but over the course of OTAs and training camp, it’ll be 50-50," Fangio said. That suggests that this is a wide-open competition. Lock and Bridgewater could hardly be more different: Lock an aggressive gunslinger, Bridgewater and more conservative but accurate passer. We'll see how this shakes out, but neither guy can be considered more than a QB3 in best-ball drafts right now. Of course, whoever wins the job will have some fantasy upside thanks to Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant.

The Broncos nabbed WR Seth Williams in Round 6 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Williams goes 6’3, 211 pounds with 4.5 speed and a 37-inch vertical. He struck us as 1 of the more impressive size-athleticism prospects in this year’s WR class. And while his raw numbers weren’t big at Auburn, he topped a 30% share of receiving yards and TDs as a sophomore and junior the past 2 years. The tape is frustratingly inconsistent, though. Williams will make a highlight-reel grab 1 play, then run a lazy route or drop a pass the next. He’s the definition of a boom/bust prospect. But he’s 1 of just a handful of WRs in this class with alpha potential. The low draft capital spent certainly doesn't help his outlook. And he joins a crowded Denver WR corps, led by Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. We'll see how things go from here.

The Broncos traded up 5 spots in the 2nd round to take North Carolina RB Javonte Williams with the 35th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Williams shared UNC’s backfield with Michael Carter, forming a thunder and lightning duo over the past 2 seasons. 2020 was a true breakout for Williams (5’10, 212) with 1,140 yards and 19 TDs on 157 attempts. He added a strong 25-305-3 receiving line. The Wallace, North Carolina native wins with incredible contact balance and power; his 0.48 broken tackles per attempt marked the best rate ever charted by Pro Football Focus. Despite the physical playing style, Williams has never missed a college game due to injury. He joins Melvin Gordon in Denver’s backfield in what figures to be a committee attack in 2021. Gordon hits free agency next offseason.

The Broncos have selected Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II with the 9th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. A top-10 recruit nationally in the 2018 class, Surtain started 12 of 15 games as a true freshman -- plus 25 more over the next 2 seasons. He compiled 24 passes defensed, 4 INTs and 4 forced fumbles for the Tide. Surtain might have to open as the 3rd corner in Denver, after the Broncos signed Ronald Darby and traded for Kyle Fuller this offseason.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Panthers are trading QB Teddy Bridgewater to the Broncos for a 6th-round pick. That seems like a surprisingly small price, but Bridgewater is due nearly $23 million this year and would still carry $5 million in dead money on the 2022 cap if released after this season. His departure clears the way for Sam Darnold to take over the offense -- if Carolina doesn't go QB in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. In Denver, we'd bet on a competition between Bridgewater and Drew Lock for the starting gig. This trade might not necessarily take the Broncos out of the NFL Draft QB market. But it at least suggests they don't expect to land a 2021 starting candidate at the position. Bridgewater threw just 15 TD passes in his lone season with Carolina. If he earns the starting job in Denver, he'll find a talent-rich set of pass-catchers that includes Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler.

After dealing for QB Sam Darnold, the Panthers have given QB Teddy Bridgewater permission to seek a trade, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Carolina is open to Bridgewater returning, but will give him a chance to have a say in his future," Rapoport adds. Bridgewater straddles the line between quality NFL starter and backup, so it's unclear how much interest there will be in him on the trade market. The takeaway here, though, is that the Panthers are planning on handing the keys to Darnold.

RB Mike Boone signed a 2-year, $2.6 million contract with the Broncos, according to insider Mike Klis. Boone averaged a strong 5.3 yards on 71 carries with the Vikings over the past 3 seasons. He joins a currently crowded Denver backfield alongside Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman -- although there's a chance restricted free-agent Lindsay departs. Still, Boone is off the fantasy radar for now.

Restricted free-agent WR Tim Patrick has been assigned a 2nd-round tender by the Broncos. That makes it a virtual lock that he'll be back in Denver this season. Patrick is coming off a career-best 51-742-6 line, but his 2021 role is up in the air with Courtland Sutton returning alongside 2nd-year wideouts Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler.

The Broncos are exercising the $7 million guarantee option on the 2021 salary for OLB Von Miller, according to Mike Klis of 9News. That keeps Miller around for the coming season. It's noteworthy because Miller's $18 million salary for 2021 led to talk of Denver potentially cutting him. The 2 sides reportedly negotiated in an attempt to lower his cap number, but no revision was made. Miller lost all of last season with an ankle injury. The Broncos keeping him around at the big salary for what will be his age-32 season indicates they expect Miller to be back to familiar form.

The Broncos are signing CB Ronald Darby to a 3-year, $30 million deal with $19.5 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Darby enjoyed a 2020 rebound in Washington after 3 injury-marred seasons in Philadelphia. Darby missed 20 of a possible 48 regular-season games over that span. Last year, he ranked 5th in the league in passes defensed, and Pro Football Focus graded him top-15 among CBs. Darby figures to land in draftable range in our 2021 IDP rankings as well.

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