Shark Bites

Broncos RB Royce Freeman sprained his ankle in Thursday night's win against the Cardinals and "could miss time," ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Freeman has 10 days to get ready for Denver's next game, but we'll track his status next week. He's averaging 10.1 carries per game, so his absence would give RB Phillip Lindsay a significant boost.

UPDATE: Broncos insider Mike Klis calls Freeman's injury a high-ankle sprain. Expect him to miss multiple games.

Broncos QB Case Keenum was benched near the end of the 1st half of Sunday's game against the Rams. He's struggled since Week 1 and completed just 13 of 21 passes for 137 scoreless yards in this one. It looks like Denver will go with QB Chad Kelly in the 2nd half. The Ole Miss product was impressive this preseason, connecting of 67% of his passes with 3 TDs and 2 INTs.

UPDATE: The Broncos now say that Keenum was being checked for a concussion. We'll see who's under center after halftime.

UPDATE: Keenum was cleared and is back under center for the 2nd half.

Broncos LB Todd Davis (shoulder) is active for today's game against the Jets. He's a decent flex option for IDP leagues that allow 4+ LBs into weekly lineups.

Broncos LB Todd Davis (shoulder) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Jets. He returned to a limited practice Friday after sitting out the previous 2 days. We'll check on his status Sunday morning.

Broncos TE Jake Butt tore his left ACL during Thursday's walkthrough, according to insider Mike Klis. He'll miss the rest of the season. This is Butt's 3rd ACL tear, although the first 2 were to his right knee. His absence leaves Jeff Heuerman as Denver's top TE. He remains off the fantasy radar.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay was ejected in the 2nd quarter of Sunday's game at Baltimore for throwing a punch. That carries the potential to also get him suspended for Week 4. We'll see what the league has to say this week.

Broncos LB Brandon Marshall is active for today's game against the Ravens. He entered the day questionable with a knee injury but looks OK for normal IDP usage. Marshall sits in LB3 range at best, playing less than 100% of defensive snaps so far.

Broncos LB Brandon Marshall is questionable for Sunday's game against the Ravens with a knee injury. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday before returning to a limited workout Friday. A active Marshall will not be worth trusting in most IDP leagues in Week 3. Rookie Josey Jewell would likely start in his place if Marshall's inactive.

Broncos RB Royce Freeman will be listed atop the depth chart for Week 1, according to the Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran. Freeman had been behind RB Devontae Booker all August. But the rookie was clearly the better back this preseason, averaging 5.6 yards per carry to Booker's 3.7 Both guys will be involved against the Seahawks on Sunday, but Freeman is the better fantasy play.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (wrist) returned to practice on Monday. He missed last weekend's preseason game, but the wrist is nothing to worry about. Thomas remains a nice value at his 4th-round ADP.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas missed Saturday's preseason game with a wrist injury. HC Vance Joseph called it a "sore wrist" and didn't seem overly concerned. We'll keep an eye on Thomas, but we're not moving him in the WR rankings right now.

Broncos QB Chad Kelly got 2nd-team reps Monday, with QB Paxton Lynch running the 3rd team, according to Mike Klis of 9News.com. Kelly enjoyed a nice outing in the 1st preseason game, while Lynch continued to struggle. We'll see if this becomes a permanent switch. Dynasty owners, at least, should have Kelly on the radar now. And it might be time to just drop Lynch for him if you've been clinging to the former 1st-round pick.

Update: Joseph confirmed after practice, "Right now, [Kelly's] our backup."

The Broncos' initial -- "unofficial" -- depth chart lists RB Devontae Booker as the starter, with rookie Royce Freeman 2nd, followed by De'Angelo Henderson, Dave Williams and Phillip Lindsay. That's not a surprising development but at least a reminder that Freeman hasn't taken over the gig yet. Playing time will be interesting to watch as Denver gets into preseason action. We're still betting Freeman will wind up leading the team in carries, but there's certainly value potential on Booker at his RB49 ADP -- as well as the chance he remains the Broncos' lead back.

WR Emmanuel Sanders has looked like "the best player on the field" early in Broncos training camp, according to NFL Network's James Palmer. The addition of rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton has "energized" Sanders, Palmer adds. Crappy QB play and an ankle injury sunk Sanders to a 60th-place PPR finish last year. But he ranked among the top 20 each of the previous 3 seasons. Healthy now and with a QB upgrade in Case Keenum, Sanders is capable of bouncing back into WR2 territory. He's a bargain at his current 7th-round, WR34 ADP.

The Denver Post's Kyle Fredrickson considers Jake Butt the Broncos' "likely starter" at TE. Last year's 5th-rounder missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL but is back to 100% now. He won the 2016 Mackey Award as the nation's top TE after posting a 46-546-4 line. Butt's biggest competition will come from Jeff Heuerman, who has just 18 career catches. There isn't a whole lot of upside here with WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders hogging targets in Denver. But ... Butt is at least worth a look at the end of TE-premium drafts like the FFPC.

The Broncos believe TE Jake Butt is ready to play a "significant role" this season, according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. Butt spent his rookie year on IR after suffering a torn ACL in his final college game. It was a rough ending to an impressive career at Michigan that saw Butt start 37 games and win the 2016 Mackey Award as the nation's top TE. The 6'6, 250-pounder certainly has the potential to develop into a quality NFL starter. We'll see if he can become a fantasy factor behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders this season.

The Broncos spent a 7th-round pick on RB David Williams, who spent 3 years at South Carolina before finishing his college career at Arkansas. Williams topped out at 86 carries with the Gamecocks in 2015, adding 11 catches for 93 yards that season. He bested the South Carolina numbers with a 117-656-8 rushing line and 10-171-2 receiving in his lone year with the Razorbacks. The 6'4, 224-pounder tested just 3rd percentile SPARQ in predraft season and doesn't look like a good bet for fantasy relevance.

The Broncos selected Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Hamilton turned in an uber-impressive freshman season back in 2014, leading his squad with 82 catches and 899 yards. He didn’t reach either of those marks over the last 3 years, though, falling behind Chris Godwin and Mike Gesicki in the pecking order. Hamilton played primarily from the slot at Penn State and figures to do the same as a pro. He goes 6’1, 203 pounds with a 63rd percentile SPARQ score. Scouts consider Hamilton 1 of the best route runners in this WR class, and he’s also strong in contested situations. Denver has now added WRs Hamilton, Courtland Sutton and Carlos Henderson over the past 2 drafts. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are both cuttable next offseason.

The Broncos selected Oregon RB Royce Freeman with the 71st overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Freeman was a 4-year producer for the Ducks, tallying 1,365+ rushing yards and 16+ TDs 3 separate times. He left school with a 5.9 yards-per-carry average. Freeman also contributed in the passing game, totaling 79 catches for 814 yards (10.3 YPC) and 4 scores over the past 4 seasons. The 6’0, 229-pounder tested as a 55th percentile athlete at the Combine and was especially impressive with a 72nd percentile time in the 3-cone, a drill that’s been predictive of NFL success for RBs. Freeman lands in a good spot in Denver, where he’s capable of immediately pushing Devontae Booker for the lead job.

The Broncos selected SMU WR Courtland Sutton with the 40th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Sutton certainly checks the size and athleticism boxes. He measured 6’3, 218 pounds and registered a 94th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. He was particularly impressive in the agility drills, which matches the tape. Sutton is extremely quick and agile for a man of his size. He’s coming off back-to-back 1,000+ yard, 10+ TD campaigns — although it’s worth noting that LSU transfer Trey Quinn finished with more targets, catches, yards and TDs this past year. Sutton isn’t a finished product — his route running needs work and he should be better in contested situations — but that frame and athleticism give him 1 of the highest ceilings in this WR class. Sutton is blocked by Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for now and doesn’t project to have much 2018 fantasy value. But Thomas will be 31 in December and Sanders turned 31 this past March. Both guys are also cuttable next offseason with less than $3 million in dead money.

 
 
 

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