On Monday August 21, Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph named Trevor Siemian the starting quarterback for the regular season over Paxton Lynch.
What to expect from Siemian
When Siemian took over in 2016 after the retirement of Peyton Manning, he completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,410 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and ran for 57 yards in 14 starts. He did miss time and had surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder in January. Siemian only had four games with at least 20 Fantasy points. Needless to say he won’t entice fantasy players to pick him in only one QB starting leagues.
But Siemian won this job with great reason. He’s more experienced. Siemian looked sharp through two preseason games, completing 14 of 18 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. And this is a new year for the Broncos with a new head coach in Joseph and a new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy who was the OC in Denver from 2009 to 2012. He helped the Broncos offense rank second in total offense in 2012. His passing offense ranked in the top-10 twice in that span. During his time as head coach for the San Diego, now Los Angeles Chargers, his passing offense ranked no worse then 12th. Granted most of the time they had to throw the ball coming from behind and he also had Philip Rivers. But this could benefit Siemian with the coaching changes.
Granted Siemian isn’t Manning or Rivers, but he proved last season he can move the offense when given protection. He doesn’t have a cannon, but he can make all the throws, get through his progression, and isn’t afraid to test defensive backs down the seam. But is this enough to trust him to help the other skill players in Denver?
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders
The Broncos passed for an average of 230.3 yards per game last season, tying them for the 11th least passing yards per game in the league. While this news isn’t the greatest for the whole offense, it’s “good” news for both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
First with Demaryius Thomas. Thomas had 90 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns on 145 targets in 2016. Thomas only had seven games with double digit fantasy points. He had career lows in receptions and yards per game at 5.6 receptions and 67 yards since becoming a full time starter in Denver.
Emmanuel Sanders had 73 passes for 1,032 yards and five touchdowns. on 139 targets. While these numbers are average, they weren’t standouts like they were in 2014. He only had four games with double digits. Sanders had eight games where he had less then five points. Sanders also had his lowest stats, receptions and yards per game, at 4.9 receptions and 64.5 yards.
It isn’t like Thomas and Sanders are inconsistent. Thomas is working on five years in a row of at least 90 catches and 1,000 yards. Sanders went to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and had his third season in a row with at least 75 catches, 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. The main reason for the decline has been due to bad quarterback play. Now granted not all of it was bad quarterback play. Thomas dealt with a hip injury all season and the Broncos had a very inconsistent running game. Plus this was Siemian’s first year as a starter so it was expected they might struggle.
While this may all still to be true from a fantasy standpoint, there is reason for hope. Denver doesn’t really have any other viable receiving threats. These two could see an a rise in production as they develop more chemistry with Siemian.
The running backs
The 2016 Denver Broncos running game still proved to be irrelevant. C.J. Anderson struggled, only playing in seven games before an injury. He was off to a good start. Anderson had four games with at least 10 Fantasy points in a standard league in the seven games he was healthy, with five total touchdowns and three outings with at least 90 total yards. He will enter 2017 as the no.1 back and there’s good opportunity for him. Devontae Booker is on the shelf due to a wrist injury. Anderson was likely going to split carrries but now he can solidify his job. He could actually get more of a workload especially with the QB situation. But don’t expect a boost in Anderson’s rankings with the news of Siemian as the starter. Anderson is still a RB2 or a high flex option. The main thing to keep in mind is Anderson’s health.
As for Jamaal Charles, his role is likely to work in a part-time role behind Anderson. He will enter behind him with Booker’s injury. He will get his touches and could get extended reps if Anderson has another injury. Charles will be a guy to look at on third downs for Siemian to dump the ball to.
Overall, Siemian’ only worth a late-round pick in two-quarterback leagues this year. But for the skilled players it helps their rankings a little bit having Siemian as the starter. While most fantasy players know this, Siemian, out of all the quarterback battles, has the best players and coaches around him. He could have a surprising season with these weapons. However, with new coaches and a new offense, I still think Siemian will have his tough outings. Don’t over reach for the skill players in Denver as inconsistent QB play is still in the air.
Featured image from denverbroncos.com.
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