The Denver Broncos are coming off a very successful, yet ultimately bittersweet season. The AFC was negotiated with aplomb, with Denver emerging as the number one seed and swatting aside the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. However, Peyton Manning's much anticipated return to the Super Bowl was a damp squib, with both the quarter back and the rest of the team flopping badly. The Seattle Seahawks were all over the Broncos from the start of the game, and the result was never in doubt. Denver will be hoping to make amends for this poor performance and keep up with their other rivals across the NFL.
The Broncos have made some interesting off season moves since the Super Bowl. The team's first move was to release CB Champ Bailey, replacing him in April with CB Chris Harris Jr. Harris enjoyed a good year with the Broncos before suffering an injury before the Super Bowl. Harris will be joined in the CB position by Aqib Talib, a former New England Patriot.
After dealing for Wes Welker last summer, the Broncos attempted to weaken New England again by taking Talib on a multi-year $57 million deal. However, the Patriots one upped the Broncos by adding Darrelle Revis to a one year deal. Revis is viewed as the best CB in the NFL, and the Broncos would have done well to get him on board.
There is a suggestion they have overpaid for Talib, especially this his previous injury and personal issues in mind. However, he is an elite CB who can match up with some of the best wide receivers in the game.
While Talib may be a gamble, there is nothing to question about the acquisition of DE DeMarcus Ware. He is one of the game's elite defensive ends, and he will make a big impact on their game against elite opponents.
Changes on offense are minimal, but WR Emmanuel Sanders will add to the options at Peyton Manning's disposal. The Denver offense is well documented for its variety and quality, and they will find it difficult to improve on last season's offensive stats. The key for this offense, and the team as a whole, is performing against physically commanding teams such as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
Talib's move is an interesting one. The Broncos were not a team to produce great defensive performances last year, and none of their core defensive players got high fantasy marks. However, Tablib is a machine when healthy. He will stick to the opposition teams best WR and attempt to nullify his impact. He will get fantasy players big points in the regular season, but whether he will be healthy during the post season is another matter.
DeMarcus Ware is the number one fantasy defensive end from last season. While he is recovering from injury, he is expected to be back close to the start of the 2014/2015 season. The player feels he will be 100%, but a drop off in performance is expected for the first few rounds. Drafting him into your fantasy team around week 3 or 4 may be a smart move.
2014/2015 Season Outlook:
Along with the Patriots, the Broncos are favorites to reach the AFC Championship game. Both teams have strengthened in the off season, with the Patriots adopting a "win now" policy and giving big contracts to sought after free agents. It is unclear how the NFL Draft will play out, but both teams can only improve on what they have.
The Broncos have the edge due to their far superior offensive options, with the Patriots still relying on a group of rookie receivers. The Broncos will be disappointed if they are not the number one seed come playoff time, and another Super Bowl trip for Manning and co. has to be the aim.