If there was a team I was looking forward to watching to see if they could take the next step forward with the talent on their depth chart, it was the Denver Broncos. While not ready to tackle the Kansas City Chiefs for the divisional crown, they were a team bursting with young talent that needed time to mesh together. However, injuries have plagued the Broncos all year. From All-Pro Von Miller before the season kicked off all the way to Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay, Noah Fant, and yes, even losing Courtland Sutton for the season. That’s a big blow to the Denver Broncos QB, RB, TE, and WR depth charts.
The Broncos have already faced as much adversity as anyone else in the NFL, and the hits keep coming. Not only dealing with a postponed game, now the team will be without their starting running back, as Melvin Gordon was cited late Tuesday for driving under the influence and could now face league discipline.
Throw in the fact that both Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler will not suit up and now we need to look around the rest of the Denver Broncos depth chart to find fantasy football value as they take on the New England Patriots in Week 6.
Update: This article was originally published on October 14. On October 18, Adam Schefter reported that Noah Fant, K.J. Hamler, and Melvin Gordon are out Sunday, but both Drew Lock and Phillip Lindsay are expected to be active.
Denver Broncos RB Depth Chart: Which backs will make plays if Melvin Gordon doesn’t play in Week 6?
Phillip Lindsay, RB
In fantasy football, much like life, timing is everything. Knowing that Gordon might not be available on Sunday in Week 6, Phillip Lindsay would slide into the RB1 role on the Denver Broncos RB depth chart.
Lindsay hasn’t played since Week 1 after suffering a toe injury but practiced in full last week and would have played if the Patriots game hadn’t been rescheduled for Week 6. While Gordon’s addition caused people to completely write off Lindsay, I never saw it that way and thought this would be a 1A-1B situation in Denver.
Lindsay topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons, with 35 receptions and at least seven rushing scores in both campaigns. He was a top-20 fantasy running back in both seasons. You can’t relegate a talent like that to be a bench warmer and come in only so Gordon could get a breather. Don’t forget – he did all of that in 2019 while recovering from wrist surgery.
I don’t love the Week 6 matchup against the Patriots, who are 18th in DVOA – per Football Outsiders – against the run. They also allow the fifth-fewest points to opposing running backs at 20.50 points per game.
I love the value that Lindsay presents for fantasy managers moving forward who could likely pick him up off waivers right now as he is currently available between 36 to 48 percent of leagues, depending on your platform. With four teams on a bye this week, Lindsay is a solid RB3 that could see higher value in the coming weeks. He needs to be rostered in all formats.
Royce Freeman, RB
When looking at Royce Freeman’s fantasy value for this week…hold on, I can’t seem to find any. There’s a reason he’s near the bottom of the Denver Broncos RB depth chart.
Denver Broncos WR Depth Chart: Which receivers might get more volume?
Jerry Jeudy, WR
Jeudy was not supposed to be the top wide receiver on the Broncos WR depth chart this year. That was supposed to have been Courtland Sutton. Forced to now take on each team’s best cornerback, Jeudy has been as consistent as they come through four games this year. Seeing a 19% target share, Jeudy has had receiving totals of 56, 62, 55, and 61 during his first four NFL games. In Week 4, he also scored his first career touchdown, which salvaged his afternoon.
It is currently up in the air regarding whether or not the Patriots will have CB Stephon Gilmore, but signs point toward him suiting up for their game, pending doctor approval. Knowing what Jeudy has done with a cluster of quarterbacks under center, he should breathe a sigh of relief as it sounds like QB Drew Lock will make his long-awaited return, bringing much-needed stability to the position. Jeudy will be a high-end WR3 or flex play this week.
Tim Patrick, WR
While everyone was enamored with the speed and flash that K.J. Hamler brought to the team following the draft, they forgot about the receiver who was routinely winning in camp, Tim Patrick. Patrick has at least five targets in three of the four games and has scored a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. In total, he’s caught 16 of his 21 targets for 209 yards and two touchdowns through four games.
Sutton is not coming back this season, and Patrick will only continue to solidify his spot on the Denver Broncos WR depth chart. I am not expecting 100 yards every week, but there is no reason why he is rostered in just 27.2% of leagues.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR
Even with injuries to both Sutton and Hamler, Hamilton has been an afterthought on the Broncos’ WR depth chart. He currently carries no fantasy value.
K.J. Hamler, WR
K.J. Hamler (hamstring) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, Aric DiLalla of the Broncos’ official site reports. Hamler has yet to resume practicing since aggravating his hamstring injury in Week 4 and being forced off the field. He is inactive in Week 6.
Denver Broncos QB and TE Depth Chart: Will both Drew Lock and Noah Fant be available in Week 6?
Drew Lock, QB
Good news Broncos fans – it seems that QB Drew Lock has the green light to play on Sunday and reclaim the QB1 spot on the depth chart. Lock was a full participant in Broncos practice on Wednesday. That means it’s likely he’ll be ready to go on Sunday. Maybe the game being pushed back a week wasn’t an awful thing, after all.
Lock playing will be more of a benefit to the team and the surrounding players than for his own fantasy outlook. Lock will be a higher-end QB3 that should only be played in 2QB or Superflex formats.
Brett Rypien, Jeff Driskel, QB
If Drew Lock can’t go, one of these players would be next in line for the starting spot on the Denver Broncos QB depth chart. At that point, it is best to stay away from whoever is under center as it would be a 50/50 chance they are the quarterback to finish the game after being pulled.
Noah Fant, TE
Noah Fant (ankle) was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. Fant wasn’t able to practice last week, so handling restricted reps Wednesday is a step in the right direction. Coach Vic Fangio has called Fant week-to-week due to the ankle injury he sustained in Week 4. With Fant confirmed inactive this week, fantasy managers will be looking to find a different option on the waiver wire.
Jake Butt and Nick Vannett, TE
If Fant does not suit up, I expect the Broncos to use both Butt and Vannett against the Patriots, making neither fantasy options. The Patriots defense allows just 8.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, fifth-best in the NFL.
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