There’s no need to shy away from what we’re all thinking – the Denver Broncos offense is painfully bad. Downright horrible, some might say. Inept, even. Denver was only able to manufacture 10 points against the Tennessee Titans last week, tying the New Orleans Saints for the lowest scores of the week. Not only is this the lowest scoring offense in the league, but they trail the next closest team by a full point per game. Sitting at 14.6 PPG, the league leading Kansas City Chiefs more than double their total at 30.
The good news? Okay, the not so bad news, is that the Las Vegas Raiders come to town on Sunday, bringing one of the league’s worst defenses along with them. Vegas is surrendering the seventh most passing yards per game with 250, the 12th most rushing yards at 126, and the fifth most overall with 376.
Then again, the Titans pass defense is awful and they shut down the Broncos aerial attack. To the Titans credit, however, they have been shutting down the run and holding opponents to 18.7 points per game, whereas the Raiders are allowing 25 points per game. Tennessee was able to pin their ears back and get after Wilson with their fifth best PFF pass rush grade, while the Raiders may not have that luxury. Regardless, it doesn’t matter who is rushing the passer if the Broncos offensive line doesn’t improve upon the 18 QB hits yielded last week.
As bad as the Raiders defense has been, can we even start any Broncos this week?
Sit Russell Wilson in 1QB/Start in 2QB
I would start Russ in a 2QB league, or as a streamer if there are limited options. In most standard leagues, however, there are likely better options to be had. That shows just how bad it’s gotten for Wilson and the Broncos offense, as his best fantasy outing of the season came against the Raiders earlier this season. Back in week 4, Russ posted 27.48 fantasy points, nearly 10 more than he’s scored in any other game this season. Despite the strong scorecard, he only threw for 237 yards along with two scores, but his day was boosted with a rushing touchdown. Russ came out cooking in the first half but went ice cold in the second half. He’s thrown an interception in two straight games and has tallied four picks across his last four contests. The biggest issue working against Russ might be the offensive line, which allowed 18 hits on the quarterback last week. In normal times, this would be a get right game, but it feels like the Broncos offense will never get right.
Sit Melvin Gordon / Latavius Murray / Chase Edmonds
Last week, Melvin Gordon received 13 opportunities when combining carries and targets, while Latavius Murray saw 12, and Chase Edmonds got four. Gordon played 43 snaps compared to 25 for Murray and 15 for Edmonds, but it’s possible Edmonds gets an uptick in usage during his second game with the team. Either way, we are looking at a three-back committee in the worst scoring offense in the NFL. Even with the Raiders allowing 126 rushing yards per game, none of the three are worthy of being in lineups.
Start Courtland Sutton
I’ve been sticking with Sutton most weeks, but he’s had his share of disappointing games after a strong start to the season. While the offense has undoubtedly held him back, Sutton is complicit in his struggles with drops and inconsistent play. On the positive side, he saw 11 targets last week which is the most he’s received since week 5. In the four games Sutton has seen 10+ targets, he’s scored at least 12.4 fantasy points and as many as 19.7. With KJ Hamler out again this week and Jeudy on the wrong side of questionable, it’s likely that Sutton will get a heavy dose of targets. If that’s not enough, the Raiders don’t have a true number one corner to match up with the 6’4” receiver. Their best corner, Nate Hobbs, remains out, Anthony Averett lost snaps last week to undrafted rookie Sam Webb, and Sidney Jones saw significant snaps in his first game after being cut by the Seahawks. I like Sutton as a WR2 this week.
Sit Jerry Jeudy / Kendall Hinton / Jalen Virgil
KJ Hamler has already been ruled out, while both Jerry Jeudy and Kendall Hinton are questionable. If Jerry Jeudy is able to go, he will almost certainly be operating at less than 100%. We’ve seen that movie before, as Jeudy played weeks 2 and 3 with a combination of sternum and groin injuries, tallying just 5.9 points combined in the two weeks. As somebody who find success as a route runner with quick feet and choppy movements, an ankle injury would certainly limit his strengths. Kendall Hinton, who stepped in with four catches for 62 yards last week, is nursing a shoulder injury that leaves him questionable. Even if he plays, the offense will be highly concentrated between Sutton and tight end Greg Dulcich.
Start Greg Dulcich
In addition to the Raiders other defensive woes, they’re giving up the fifth most points per game to opposing tight ends with 12.2. In his first three games, Dulcich tallied point totals of 12.4, 11.1, and 12.7 before being held to just 2.1 last week. Standing at the top of the list of impressive feats from Dulcich is his 14.8 yards per reception, which is the top mark among tight ends. That, in conjunction with his 13.8 average depth of target, also the top mark among tight ends, represents his ability to win downfield. Last week the Raiders gave up over 14 yards per reception to the Colts tight ends. He’s a TE1 this week.
Start Broncos D/ST
There are only so many options on defense, especially with the bye weeks in play. The Broncos make for a competent play, especially if Justin Simmons and Baron Browning return to action. Derek Carr hasn’t thrown an interception the past two weeks but has been susceptible to turnovers. They key will be slowing down Josh Jacobs, who ran wild against the Broncos in their first meeting, but the Denver defense is extra stingy at home.
In addition to contributing as a writer for Mile High Report, Chad Workman is a contributor at FantasyPros and co-manages a fantasy football Patreon page, Filmalytics. Follow Chad @tweetsbychad and Filmalytics @filmalytics_ on twitter.