In Denver, Peyton Manning has been incredible. His 2013 season is one of the best by a quarterback including a massive 55 touchdowns and almost 5500 yards passing. For owners to expect that again, would seemingly be unrealistic. While I love what Peyton Manning can bring, owners must expect some regression.
Peyton Manning set the NFL record for passing touchdowns in a season when he tallied 55 in 2013. In his 16 years in the NFL, omitting the one season he missed due to injury, he has averaged almost 33 touchdowns per season. His one other massive touchdown season, 2004, he amassed 49 touchdowns. The next season saw a massive drop off down to just 29 touchdowns. Peyton Manning has averaged 46 touchdowns in his two seasons since joining the Broncos. I would expect him to be around this number in 2014. 42-45 touchdowns seems like a logical projection which is still a great number.
Peyton Manning also had his best yardage total last season. He threw for 5,477 yards last season, besting his previous high by 818 yards. Both of these season have come in Denver. It’s fair to expect Peyton Manning to throw between 4500-4700 yards, a mark he has hit the past four seasons.
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Peyton Manning’s best statistical season came thanks to his pass catchers, many of whom had career years as well. Eric Decker amassed 1288 yards on 87 catches last season with the Broncos. He has jetted to New York, pun definitely intended.Emmanuel Sanders steps in to fill the role voided by Eric Decker. While Sanders has yet to put up the numbers Decker showed last season, a Peyton Manning bump in this offense could put him over 1000 yards and 5-7 touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas has seen his numbers skyrocket since Peyton arrived in the mile high city. He has clearly garnered the trust of Manning and has rewarded Peyton handsomely. In the two seasons with Manning, Demaryius Thomas has 1400 yards each season and double-digit scores (10 and 14). I expect Thomas to remain near the same level as his past two season. He is my number two overall wide receiver for the 2014 season.
Julius Thomas exploded last season onto the fantasy landscape. While some owners thought he had potential, 2014 was the first season he was able to have any impact. He spent his first two seasons battling injuries. In 2014 he had almost 800 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. It is safe to expect some regression from Thomas as the defenses will shift their focus more towards him. The injury bug looms as well. Be ready to comb the waiver wire if Thomas does miss time. Their should be sufficient talent to replace him for a short period of time. Thomas comes in as my number 3 tight end. I expect a strong season from him.
Between all of his receivers have monster season in which they reached personal bests and players in new roles regression should be expected.
The Denver Broncos defense is significantly improved after this off season. The addition of Demarcus Ware, Aquib Talib and TJ Ward this off-season via free agency and Bradley Roby via the draft should make the Broncos defense much stronger this season. They will also have Von Miller for all 16 games, assuming injuries and/or suspensions don’t take Miller off of the field. An improved defense should allow the Bronco offense to be more conservative and not be forced to attack down the field as often.