If you play fantasy football, you know that for the 2012 season, the Denver Broncos' heavy hitters are obviously Peyton Manning, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and maybe Willis McGahee and Matt Prater. If you play with individual defensive players, you not only have too much time on your hands, but that list would grow even further.
After the Broncos' first pre-season game, you aren't going to learn a lot but you do get to see what players are going to step up and make things happen on the field, who is getting targeted in the offense, and who knows how to find openings in the defense and make plays.
So, now that the first game has concluded, who might we be looking at as some sleepers on the Broncos' roster to make a fantasy football impact this year? Let's dig deep, and find some players that might wind up being valuable contributors to the Broncos' offense this season.
Matthew Willis, Wide Receiver
Willis will likely open the season as the Broncos' fifth receiver behind Decker, Thomas, Andre Caldwell, and Brandon Stokley, but he is a playmaker. Two pre-seasons ago, Willis was brought in as a free agent and showed off his skills as a downfield threat, and wound up making the Broncos' roster that was loaded with receivers. Willis hasn't made that kind of big impact on the field in the regular season yet, but he certainly has the capability to shine in an offense with Peyton Manning.
Willis finished the pre-season opener with three catches for 43 yards, and really looked comfortable out there. There are three receivers I'd still take before Willis, but if you are in a league that also counts return yardage, it might not be a bad idea to use a late round pick on this guy.
Cornelius Ingram, Tight End
Admittedly, this is a bit of a reach, but when Ingram was added to the roster, I was pretty excited. He has had a ton of injury problems during his time in the league, but coming out of Florida, he was once one of the top tight end prospects in his class. He has very good athletic ability for a tight end, and he made the most of his opportunity in the first preseason game with two catches, one for 20 yards and one for 25 yards. He also caught a touchdown late in the game, and was able to easily get open down the middle of the field a couple of times. This is probably what the Broncos are hoping to see out of Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, Julius Thomas, and Virgil Green.
Still, it was Ingram making the plays last Thursday night, not either of the youngsters Thomas or Green. That's got to be some kind of concern for Denver at this point.
Jason Hill, Wide Receiver
Hill was an early free agent addition from the Jacksonville Jaguars, and while he's always had great straight line speed, he's struggled to stay healthy and get consistent separation. Hill got off to a good start as a Bronco, though, with a touchdown catch on a pass thrown by rookie Brock Osweiler. He was able to make three catches for 35 yards and a score, and if he can start seeing more time in the slot, he could be a valuable playmaker for the Broncos.
After the Broncos' first pre-season game, who do you think emerged as a fantasy football sleeper?