The Denver Broncos haven't had a chance to take all of the required pictures with the Lombardi Trophy and already football analysts are discussing Bronco free agents. There's also the question regarding whether or not Peyton Manning will return as the Broncos' QB.
The biggest question for Fantasy Football Players is what will Denver's offensive players, and its immaculate defense, do next season? Super Bowl winners don't always come back just as strong the season after winning the big game. Schedule has a lot to do with it but so do massive changes.
Denver Broncos 2016 Fantasy Football Prospects
Broncos' Schedule Next Season
Denver, just like this season, has a terribly difficult schedule next season. In addition to having to play against Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego twice due to being in the AFC West Division, the Broncos must play against the NFC South, in a rematch against Carolina, the New England Patriots and the Cincinnati Bengals. The good news is that Denver also gets to take on the rest of the NFC South next season, New Orleans, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. The Broncos also get to beat up on the entire AFC South: Tennessee, Indianapolis, Houston and Jacksonville.
Denver Quarterbacks – Here's the million dollar question: does GM John Elway give QB Brock Osweiler a huge contract before Peyton Manning makes his decision to retire or not? Since Elway is probably thinking that Peyton's retirement is a foregone conclusion, he won't resign Osweiler to a huge contract until after Peyton's announcement. I'm not sure if I'd wait around. Osweiler is ready to be a starter in the NFL. A full spring, a full training camp and a full pre-season of work would definitely help Osweiler. As far as FF is concerned, you could do worse than drafting Osweiler after some of the big name QBs are gone. He's going to have a lot of weapons next season.
Denver Running Backs – Ronnie Hillman had a bad Super Bowl while C.J. Anderson rushed for 90 yards and a TD. But, Hillman was the better overall back during the regular season. Expect Denver to utilize the 2-back rushing approach next season just like they did this season. Why not? Even though Denver RBs under performed this season from a Fantasy Football stand point, the Broncos won the Super Bowl. Neither guy is worth an early round draft pick. Wait around and try to grab Hillman or Anderson for the flex position.
Denver Wide Receivers – If Peyton remains as the starting QB, a huge if but not an impossible if, neither WR Demaryius Thomas nor WR Emanuel Sanders will be a WR1. If Osweiler becomes the QB, you have to really consider Thomas a WR1 while Sanders will be a strong WR2. Denver will pass the ball more with Osweiler under center as opposed to Peyton. TE Vernon Davis is most likely to find employment elsewhere before the spring. Consider drafting TE Owen Daniels if you get locked out of the Rob Gronkowski-Travis Kelce derby on draft day. Unless you believe that Jimmy Graham bounces back, there's a huge drop off with the TE position after Gronk and Kelce. Daniels might be good as anybody.
Denver Kicker – The serviceable Brandon McManus made 30 of 35 field goals during the regular season. He hit 35 of 36 extra points. He's not the best kicker in the NFL, but he's not bad. Although a free agent, it's hard to imagine McManus leaving the Broncos after Denver just won the Super Bowl.
Denver Defense – Super Bowl MVP OLB Von Miller, ILB Danny Trevathan, ILB Brandon Marshall and DE Malik Jackson are all unrestricted free agents. That's 4 starters from the best defense in the NFL this past season that Elway has to resign. It's doubtful that he resigns all 4 of them. Miller could see Ndamukong Suh numbers this off-season from a desperate team.
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't draft Denver's defense in Fantasy Football. Wade Phillips is still a genius, which means that the Denver D should be ranked in the Top 10 in most defensive categories. Just don't take them too early in your Fantasy Football Draft.