Apr 28,2010

Denver: Fantasyland for McDaniels and No One Else

Last week, on his 34th birthday, Josh McDaniels got exactly what he wanted. It seems, however, many fans – and a few players – did not.

Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at the Broncos top two picks and see what it all means…

We’ll begin with the Broncos’ first and least controversial pick: Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas, who was scooped up by Denver at No. 22 in the first round. He’s a huge talent (6’3″ and 229 lbs) with a ton of speed (4.38 in the 40-yard dash) and even more promise. It’s no surprise he was the first WR selected in the 2010 draft. Quite literally heads and shoulders above the rest of the Broncos receiving core, McDaniels obviously plans to fill the beast-sized hole left by Brandon Marshall with the former Yellow Jacket. I think this kid is a rookie to watch. Assuming his foot is back to 100 percent, look for him to be a solid fantasy option in later rounds. As Denver’s only deep threat, he might run into double coverage issues, but it’s going to take a few weeks to figure out what the hell kind of offense McDaniels plans on running anyway.

And so, that brings us to Denver’s second pick… the ever faithful, wonderfully dynamic, and incredibly polarizing Mr. Tim Tebow. Frankly, I think the city closest to heaven is good place for this guy. Zing! Seriously though, what shocks me isn’t that McDaniels drafted him (so high, yes, but at all, no), but rather how wound up everyone is about it. As far as I’m concerned, the only people who should be pissed off are the 10 Jaguar fans (who will shortly go back to watching football exclusively on Saturdays), Brady Quinn, and Jimmy Clausen‘s mom.

Let’s not forget that Denver’s head coach came up under the tutelage of New England’s head coach. So it’s not surprising that McDaniels would make a pick full of ego, suspicion, and character. After literally pushing out the problem children, the Patriot’s former offensive coordinator clearly has plans to make his own team, on his own terms. I, for one, admire those kind of cojones. If his plan works, he’ll be touted as a genius. If it doesn’t, he’ll quickly find himself coaching arena football.

With so many unknowns, it’s tricky to speculate about the fantasy implications. That being said, we know Tebow is a Decepticon-like scrambler with unorthodox throwing mechanics. We also know that despite the urging of some critics, McDaniels has stated the the former Gator will not perform as an H-back, but will play as a full-fledged quarterback. My guess is that McDaniels plans to mold this kid into the whole package. Sort of a shotgun slinging Drew Brees, who can run like a pre-Eagles Michael Vick, and improvise like a cheese curd eating Brett Favre. Hey, I never said he wasn’t ambitious.

So in 2010, while Tebow gets his pro legs and McDaniels figures out if he wants to run, pass, or wildcat his way through 17 weeks, I would advise fantasy owners to stay away from Big Tim. In fact, I’d stay away from any of the three QBs in Denver. With Brady Quinn nipping at his heels and Brandon Marshall soaking up South Beach, Kyle Orton won’t be passing much… he’s simply passing through. He’s gone from a potential sleeper No. 2 Fantasy QB to a guy who thinks Jason Campbell might not have it so bad.

That brings us to Denver’s only real fantasy prospect – Knowshon Moreno. He had a respectable rookie year, averaging 3.8 yards per carry and scoring seven touchdowns. Given Correll Buckhalter‘s less than stellar season, Moreno will certainly get the bump to RB1 and see more action in his sophomore year. As of right now, I think the Bronco’s former 1st round pick will make a decent to solid No. 2 fantasy RB. As the regular season approaches, I’ll be able to advise whether he’s a third or fourth round draft pick. For now, though, just know that Knowshon is the only Bronco really worth knowing about.