September 9, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (84) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
With the first game under the Broncos belt, we have a better idea of how each player will be used and who to sit or start for the Broncos in fantasy football. Now last week Peyton Manning, Jacob Tamme, Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos defense/special teams were all the big winners, but this week may be a bit different.
We'll take a look at some key players and give our thoughts on whether they should be starters or sitting on the bench.
Broncos Defense/Special Teams:
Last week's defensive/special team was so successful for a few reason:
- The Steelers aren't a high scoring team, last season they averaged just over 21 points per game
- The Steelers offensive line is among the worst in the NFL
- The Steelers were missing their #1 RB
- The Broncos defensive pretty good
But when we get to the Falcons we have a totally different story. The Falcons have a much higher scoring offense, they put up 40 points against a decent (if incomplete) Chiefs defense, and averaged 25 points per game last season. The Falcons also have a much better offensive line and I'd be more concerned about Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers more than Isaac Redman. Both teams have two fantastic outside receivers, have a quality tight end and both quarterbacks are among the best in the league. Overall, the Broncos are still going to be able to pressure Matt Ryan but Ryan is among the best quarterbacks in term of not turning the ball over, especially when compared to Ben Roethlisberger. Ryan may go down easier than Big Ben, but he has a quicker release and doesn't throw picks very often.
In the end, while the Broncos do have a good defense, but look for a much higher scoring game with fewer turnovers. Unless you don't have another defense, I'd be wary of starting the Broncos defense and special teams.
One of the biggest reasons McGahee didn't get more carries against the Steelers was because of the lack of play time overall. Had the Broncos offense seen more time, McGahee could very well have topped 100 yards. Now McGahee averaged 4 yards per carry, so it would only take 25 carries to top 100 yards, not unreasonable, and considering McGahee did see about half the red zone plays, he looks to be the main back in terms of rushing touchdowns as well.
There are two things going against McGahee though, the first is Knowshon Moreno. Moreno was in on almost every 3rd down, and saw the other red zone work, scoring the only rushing touchdown for the Broncos. Elway has also been talking up Moreno this week, and while Moreno did only see 5 carries and no passing targets, he did see a solid amount of playing time and that isn't going away, especially if the Broncos start using the no huddle offense more often.
The last thing holding McGahee back is the team the Broncos are facing. against a team like the Steelers a strong run game is especially important to help set up the passing game but going against a deep passing heavy team like the Falcons, run plays will start disappearing if the game starts getting out of hand in terms of scoring. While McGahee is the best option of all the Broncos back, the situation this week just doesn't seem like the best place to start McGahee outside of a flex spot.
Verdict: Flex spot only
Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen:
This is such a tough situation. Jacob Tamme is coming off a 5 reception, 43 yard, 1 touchdown game while Dreessen only had one reception for six yards. The issue will come with the game planning. Joel Dreessen actually saw more snaps this past game than Tamme did, especially in the base offense. When the Broncos moved to the no huddle Tamme moved in and replaced Dreessen but on nearly every other down, Dreessen was in. Dreessen also saw more red zone snaps than Tamme. Another key difference is that Tamme is much more of a slot tight end, running out routes more often than Dreessen, who stuck to the middle of the field on most of his routes.
Overall, I'd take Tamme just because this appears to be a higher scoring game where the no huddle will be run more, but that's not to say Dreessen should be ignored, there will be weeks where he outscores Tamme. Though I do not expect with tight end to top 75 yards or 1 TD, they will see a lot of snaps and targets.
Verdict on Tamme: Start
Verdict on Dreessen: Sit
Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker:
Decker and DT are an interesting topic, and will be a weekly debate all season. Against the Steelers both wide receivers had nearly the same number of snaps (Decker: 54, DT: 55) and targets (7 for bother). The difference was Decker ran shorter routes on average, 5 of his 7 routes were for 10 yards or less compared to 3 by DT. Against the Steelers this was smart in most cases against their coverage, against the Falcons, this isn't likely to change, but the Falcons have better pass rushers, and while Manning isn't going to get sacked, it will force more throws to the shorter, inside routes, and this favors Eric Decker.
Now it should be noted that nearly all of DT's points came off of his one deep play, his other plays only netted 4 receptions for 39 yards, not impressive. DT makes his living off of the one long play, but in a shootout like we are expecting against the Falcons, that is very likely.
Verdict on Thomas: Start
Verdict on Decker: Start