The great thing about Fantasy Football is that it draws fans to take an interest in games of teams that they do not regularly cheer for. Week 4 gave this opportunity to Broncos Country, as many Bronco fans paid close attention to AFC rivals, as well as their fantasy roster. The other great thing about the bye is that it gives NFL teams the opportunity to reevaluate their scheme, including what hasn't worked yet, and allows extra time to prepare for their next opponent.
In the Broncos' case, this will ultimately help fix a number of problems the team has encountered during the first few weeks of the season. While I expect the troubles that have dogged the team are soon to be a thing of the past, you can't yet see them in the rear-view mirror. Without further ado, let's get to it.
Start 'EmMontee Ball
Many so called "fantasy experts" boasted throughout the off season that Montee Ball would have a monster year, was worthy of a 1st round pick and would eclipse the numbers Knowshon Moreno posted in 2013. Trusting fantasy owners were in for a rude awakening from a player that was expected to be a fantasy starter for every team he was drafted on, as Ball along with the Bronco offensive line have struggled at the start of the season.
The good news is 2 weeks of prep time should have given Denver the opportunity to sort out the running issues, starting with actually working on the run game during practice. According to Joel Dreessen, the Bronco coaching staff, while proclaiming a need for a more broad emphasis of the run game, fail to emphasize the run game during practice. These 2 weeks, along with an abysmal rushing attack through the first 3 games of the season may have been the perfect reality check.
Expect Ball to have his breakout game as a starter this Sunday, as the Cardinals will likely have their hands full with Peyton Manning and company through the air. I cannot see a scenario where Arizona stacks the box outside of goal line and short yardage situations. The return of run blocking monster Virgil Green only boosts Montee's value.
I am admittedly a skeptic when it comes to Wes Welker as a fantasy option this season. He is not the same player he was a year ago, and his supporting cast is better than it was last season. While Welker is still working back into the offense, the Cardinals boast one of the best defenses in the league. All those typically adds up to a sit recommendation, but is not so when it comes to Wes Welker.
The Bronco the Cardinals are least equipped to face is Wes Welker. The shifty slot machine is unlikely to draw Patrick Peterson in coverage with Emmanuel Sanders as well as Demaryius and Julius Thomas requiring attention, nor is he likely to matchup with Antonio Cromartie. This leaves the task of marking Welker to the likes of Justin Bethel and Jerraud Powers, one which should inspire fantasy owners. Look for Welker to find the endzone more than once to help announce his return from suspension.
Anytime you matchup against Patrick Peterson, your fantasy value takes a hit. Normally this would not be an issue for Demaryius Thomas, but his early season struggles fail to inspire confidence. While I have written that Thomas is soon to right the ship, it will not start this week with his tough match-up. Save yourself the disappointment and find a DMT alternative.
It seems so long ago that the Bronco offense was breaking record after record on the way to a Super Bowl berth. This team isn't so different: they will make the Super Bowl and they will regain their record setting form. It all starts this week and it all starts with the run game.