Shark Bites

Broncos WR Carlos Henderson has been suspended 1 game for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. After a 0-catch rookie season, Henderson saw Denver add 2 WRs in this year's draft and hasn't even reported to the team since camp opened. He's unlikely to survive final cuts and is far off the redraft radar.

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.

The Broncos spent the 5th pick of the NFL Draft on N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb. We'll see exactly how he fits into Denver's front, though Chubb seems more likely to stay at DE rather than OLB -- where Denver already sports Von Miller and Shane Ray. Chubb's arrival should certainly help the team defense and presents plenty of IDP upside. He racked up 10 sacks each of the past 2 seasons and tallied 44 total tackles for loss over that span.

QB Case Keenum is expected to sign with the Broncos when free agency opens on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Keenum was a revelation in Minnesota last year, completing 67.6% of his passes with 22 TDs vs. just 7 INTs. He entered 2017 with a career 58.4% completion rate, 24 TDs and 20 INTs -- so there's some risk that 2017 was a 1-year blip. It'll help that Keenum is going from Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. He's certainly a significant upgrade over the junk Denver threw out at QB last season.

Broncos WR Carlos Henderson was arrested and charged with marijuana possession on Sunday. There's a good chance it nets him a suspension to open the 2018 campaign. Henderson missed his entire rookie season with a torn ligament in his thumb after being a 3rd-rounder last spring. He remains a fine dynasty stash but isn't worth a roster spot in early 2018 fantasy drafts.

Broncos QB Paxton Lynch (ankle) isn’t listed on the final injury report and is expected to start Sunday’s finale against the Chiefs. Lynch bombed in his only other start this year against vs. Oakland and can’t be trusted in Week 17 fantasy lineups.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is out for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. WR Cody Latimer (thigh) is also out. That leaves Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor behind Demaryius Thomas on Denver’s WR depth chart.

Broncos HC Vance Joseph says his team will likely start QB Paxton Lynch in the regular-season finale if the young QB is healthy enough to play. “Our goal is to see him play, so absolutely,” Joseph said, per the team website. “If he’s ready to go next week, he will probably play for us.” That wouldn't be good news for Demaryius Thomas or the rest of the Denver pass-catchers, but they've been dealing with poor QB all season with little more than the names changing. Don't expect a huge swing in our projections for any QB movement this week.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee) has been downgraded to out for Sunday's game against the Redskins. WR Cody Latimer (thigh) is also out, leaving Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor behind Demaryius Thomas on the depth chart. Thomas is a volume-based WR2 for Week 16.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is "all but certain" to miss Sunday's game against the Redskins, according to insider Mike Klis. Sanders only got in a limited practice on Friday after aggravating his ankle injury last week. WR Demaryius Thomas should dominate targets for Denver tomorrow.

Broncos QB Paxton Lynch (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Redskins. He practiced all week, including a full workout on Friday. HC Vance Joseph said Friday that he’s still deciding whether Lynch or Brock Osweiler will start this weekend. Neither is a fantasy option, although Osweiler would be better for Denver’s skill-position guys.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is listed as questionable for this weekend’s game against the Redskins. He only got in a limited practice on Friday. Insider Mike Klis considers Sanders “on the doubtful side of questionable.” We’ll find out his official status by noon ET on Sunday, but Sanders will be a shaky fantasy play if active.

 
 
 

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