The Denver Broncos head into 2020 looking up at the Kansas City Chiefs. But they can easily overtake the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders even if they don’t figure to challenge the Chiefs in 2020.
With a lot of young talent on the team, the Broncos are a hot look if you’re betting on player productivity in 2020 or if you’re playing fantasy football. While they lack eye-popping talent, there are budding stars all over the field in the Mile High City.
Today, we’re covering 6 Denver Broncos that you need to monitor in 2020 and many of those who made the list will be relevant in years to come given their young age and experience level.
1- Stud: Courtland Sutton, WR
- 72 receptions
- 1,112 yards
- 15.4 yards per reception
- 6 touchdowns
Sutton emerged as the go-to in Denver in his 2nd season and figures to remain a top target for quarterback, Drew Lock. While Lock and Sutton could hook up a few times in 2019 which gives the duo familiarity.
Sutton also emerged as one of the top red-zone targets in the NFL with 23 touchdowns over his first 2 seasons. While this number might stagnate given Melvin Gordon’s signing and Noah Fant’s emergence, look for Sutton to continue his status as Denver’s top red-zone target.
If you wager on player productivity at NFL betting sites, ESPN.com is being generous with Sutton’s projections. For those of you betting lines, Sutton is a great option to bet the over. While there is talent in Denver, Sutton is the only proven receiver on the roster.
If you play fantasy football, Sutton ranked 19th of all fantasy receivers in 2019. He’ll be gone by the 4th round in small to medium-sized leagues and he’s a 3rd-round pick at worst in larger leagues.
Sutton is definitely worth drafting, especially with Lock heading into his 2nd season.
Here are Sutton’s projected numbers in 2020:
- 73 receptions
- 1,043 yards
- 14.3 yards per reception
- 7 touchdowns
2- Sleeper: Drew Lock, QB
- 100 completions
- 156 attempts
- 1,020 yards
- 7 touchdowns
- 3 interceptions
- 18 carries
- 72 yards
- 0 touchdowns
Lock played well in 5 starts in 2019 and his production, when taking averages, would’ve lined up with 320 completions, 500 attempts, 3,264 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Decent numbers for a rookie and it shows a few things:
- It shows Lock played well enough to lock up the starting quarterback position in 2020. He faces no outside competition for the job.
- While he had growing pains, he also exceeded expectations as a rookie and was a different quarterback by the end of the season than he was when he struggled in the 2019 Hall of Fame Game.
Given that it’s Lock’s first full season as a starter, his projections won’t list high. This gives you a huge advantage when productivity betting against the online sportsbooks.
His projected number of touchdowns is low and he’s slated to throw for just over 3,500 yards. 2 stat lines he’ll produce over if he remains healthy.
Lock also makes a fantastic late-round pick for fantasy football. He’s not a QB1 yet, but in medium and large leagues he’s a surefire QB2.
In smaller leagues, he’s a waiver wire pickup. Draft him in the late rounds and if you’re in a keeper league, keep him on your roster for 2021.
Here are Lock’s projected statistics:
- 314 completions
- 494 attempts
- 3,511 yards
- 21 touchdowns
- 11 interceptions
- 51 carries
- 221 yards
- 1 touchdown
3- Stumbler: Melvin Gordon, RB
- 162 carries
- 612 yards
- 3.8 yards per carry
- 42 receptions
- 296 yards
- 1 touchdown
Let me be plain. Melvin Gordon is the most overrated back in the last decade. He’s averaged fewer than 4.0 yards per carry in 4 of his 5 seasons in the NFL and is nothing more than a short-yardage and occasional goal-line back.
While he can step out of the backfield and catch a few passes, his reception totals aren’t eye-popping when you compare him to other receiving backs.
He’s serviceable, but to think Gordon will perform better than advertised is a risk that you won’t get rewarded for.
Gordon has a niche in the league and he’s great in short-yardage situations. He can rack up fantasy points but he’s rarely healthy, missing 8 of his last 32 regular-season games. Not a big number, but one that can derail a fantasy team if you reach for him.
Don’t let Gordon’s touchdown total fool you. It’s irrelevant when he’s missing games and when he is sharing time with Phillip Lindsay. ESPN and other sources will tell you Gordon’s the lead back in Denver.
Has everyone forgotten about Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first 2 seasons? Gordon’s done so just once. There’s zero logic here.
Here are Gordon’s projected 2020 statistics:
- 181 carries
- 722 yards
- 4.0 yards per carry
- 6 touchdowns
- 46 receptions
- 359 yards
- 2 touchdowns
4- Rookie: Jerry Jeudy, WR
- 77 receptions
- 1,163 yards
- 15.1 yards per reception
- 10 touchdowns
Jeudy is in a prime position to succeed early in Denver. He joins Courtland Sutton in an otherwise barren receiver room. Look for Jeudy to become an immediate contributor and the WR2 barring any training camp surprise.
While Sutton provides the size, Jeudy offers finesse, giving the Broncos an incredible 1-2 combo at receiver.
Jeudy will suffer growing pains in the NFL and there will be a learning curve as with all rookies but with limited talent in the receiver room, he will hear his number called often.
He’s one of few rookies to bet over his given lines, which will amount to between 50 and 60 receptions in 2020.
If he’s projected to catch anything fewer than 50 passes, he’s a sure bet for the over. Anything over 60 means a higher risk for an over, but it’s still possible Jeudy clears it. The same goes for receiving yards, with anything between 700 and 800 yards being a realistic projection.
For fantasy football, pick Jeudy in the mid-rounds if your league comprises more than 10 teams and in the late rounds if your league involves 8 teams or fewer.
He’s also a fantastic keeper candidate, especially if he has a big rookie season and your league keeps players based on the previous season’s draft.
Here are Jeudy’s 2020 projections:
- 55 receptions
- 706 yards
- 12.7 yards per reception
- 4 touchdowns
5- Breakout: Noah Fant, TE
- 40 receptions
- 562 yards
- 14.1 yards per reception
- 3 touchdowns
Denver’s 2019 1st round pick played 68 percent of the team’s snaps in 2019 and that number will only rise. With the Broncos’ receiving room void of proven talent except for Courtland Sutton, Fant has a chance to break out and challenge Sutton to be the team’s top pass catcher.
Look for Fant to continue to increase his production in 2020 and while his numbers didn’t light up the league, he’s the 2nd most proven target in Denver. Also, tight ends make leaps and bounds from Year 1 to Year 2 and there’s a laundry list of names I can jot down as examples.
Fant can easily join the likes of those who came before him at the position who made such leaps. If you bet productivity, it’d be foolish to bet the under with Fant, whose projections via ESPN are modest.
If he’s projected for anything fewer than 55 receptions, you need to bet the over. He’ll also amass at least 600 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in 2020. Given that he’ll play more snaps in 2020, the likelihood is even higher.
If you play fantasy football, Fant’s an excellent TE2 in leagues with 10 or more teams and he’s a great waiver pickup in leagues with fewer than 10 teams.
Here are his projected statistics:
- 54 receptions
- 610 yards
- 11.3 yards per reception
- 4 touchdowns
6- Don’t Forget About: Phillip Lindsay, RB
- 164 attempts
- 1,011 yards
- 4.5 yards per carry
- 7 touchdowns
- 35 receptions
- 196 yards
Rarely does an undrafted player record over 1,000 rushing yards over his first 2 seasons. No one has seen a tougher uphill climb in the NFL than Phillip Lindsay and he still gets zero respect. His reward?
Gordon has underwhelmed while Lindsay continued to prove doubters wrong in 2020.
Bold prediction: Melvin Gordon loses the featured back role to Phillip Lindsay in 2020, probably sooner rather than later. Gordon has underwhelmed while Lindsay continued to prove doubters wrong in 2020.
For you, Lindsay is a prime candidate to bet the over on, since he will regain featured back status and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he regains it early in 2020. Given Gordon’s presence, Lindsay’s projected numbers are low.
This gives you a golden opportunity to bet that he clears his projected lines in 2020. He’s faced scrutiny before and succeeded, so expect nothing less from Lindsay.
If you play fantasy football, Lindsay is a steal in the middle to late rounds. With everyone focused on Gordon, Lindsay will claw his way back to fantasy football relevance. And he’s not going high unless you play in large leagues with 16 owners or more.
The Broncos are more loaded than anyone else can think and it starts with Sutton, whose first two seasons proved he’s one to watch in 2020. Lock has plenty of talent around him to carve his way into being a top NFL quarterback.
It’s a mystery what teams see in Gordon. He can score, but he’s a short-yardage specialist and not a featured back. He’s an RB2 in most fantasy leagues.
Jeudy is one to watch and he will be the WR2 when the season begins.
Fant will make a leap, even if it might not be as large as other tight ends made. Lindsay will regain his starting job back and it may happen earlier than expected.
What do you think of my picks? Did I leave anyone out? Let me know what you think in the comments.