Early in the morning, before the rest of the country is awake, we find a man. A man with a bag of footballs. He lines up his receivers and they go through drills and patterns and routes over and over again. They practice from early in the morning until late at night, with only the warm light from the camera that was pre-staged to film them illuminating their repetitions. They won’t quit until they get it right. The conditions and technique have to be idyllic for the video he will later post to Twitter that includes a failed attempt at haiku

And yet, here we are, fantasy football fanatics, giddy about guys like Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and Courtland Sutton again. Why? Because none other than @DangeRussWilson is the new sheriff in town and he arrived in Denver with something to prove. 

After being swapped from Seattle in exchange for Drew Lock, Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, and four top-64 picks, Wilson is free from the white-shoed shackles of Pete Carroll. He joins a Denver Broncos squad eager to utilize his explosive arm, his creativity in the pocket, and his battle-tested playoff experience to get them back to the promised land. Unless you had a share of the Melvin Gordon-Javonte Williams running back timeshare last season, you were likely disappointed in your Broncos’ skill position players. That looks to change this year. 

Just what will change, especially from a dynasty perspective? Who should we buy in this new offense? Who should we sell, if anyone? The Russell Wilson tide is the wave that should lift all boats in Denver, but what do we do for 2022 and beyond?

Buy: Every Single Broncos Pass-Catcher…

Seriously, these guys are just about all strong buys right now. Jeudy, Patrick, Sutton, and Co. spent the better part of two years crying themselves to sleep singing Poison’s Something to Believe In after getting targeted by the unholy trinity of Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock, and Brett Rypien. Russell Wilson is so far above these three in terms of talent and execution, they don’t even belong on the same universe. 

Consider also: Denver was 23rd in passing rate in the NFL in 2021 and 21st in 2020. They were also bottom-10 in pass completions per game and passing first downs per game. From the perspective of Denver wide receivers in 2021, they saw some of the worse efficiency from quarterbacks in the league when compared to other wide receivers according to Player Profiler’s advanced metrics. 

  Jerry Jeudy Courtland Sutton Tim Patrick
Target Accuracy 74th 60th 62nd
QB Rating on Targets 78th 93rd 37th
Target Separation 1st 66th 22nd

 

You will see that both Jeudy and Patrick were top-25 receivers in creating separation from their defender, but still saw abysmal target accuracy and quarterback rating figures. That should all change under Russell Wilson who was seventh in fantasy points per drop-back and first in air yards per attempt despite playing behind an awful offensive line last year. 

Also don’t forget Albert Okwuegbunam who now takes over as the primary tight end with Fant in the Great Northwest. Coming out of school in 2020, Albert-O was in the 98th-99th percentile in speed score and 40-yard dash. He was fourth among all tight ends last year in fantasy points per route run with Bridgewater and crew throwing him the ball. 

Will Russell Wilson capture some late-career John Elway magic and carry the Broncos to the Super Bowl in his time there? Most sportsbooks have the Broncos tied with the Chargers for second-best odds to win their own division, but you can also find the Broncos at -180 to make the playoffs. There is some certainly out there that the Broncos will be back in the postseason. Once there, Wilson knows what it takes to bring a team all the way. 

Sell: …except KJ Hamler

One Bronco who might be left out of the passing party, at least temporarily, is KJ Hamler. You may recall he tore his ACL in Week 3 of 2021. All signs point to him being on track with his recovery, but all of a sudden he finds himself as perhaps the sixth passing option on the team? Javonte Williams catches passes, too! 

As you know from his time in Seattle, Wilson is used to a very condensed target tree. Will there be enough passes to go around to give the fifth and sixth options a legitimate shot at being fantasy friendly? That remains to be seen. 

Hamler is another burner for the Broncos who ranked 99th percentile in the 40-yard dash at his 2020 combine. Will he have his speed and burst back in time for the season? Will it take time for Hamler to get back to the top of his form? I’m throwing Hamler back into the waiver pool and focusing on his teammates as we watch this new offense evolve.