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Projecting Denver Broncos skill-position depth chart and fantasy impact

The Broncos offense will look noticeably different in 2021 regardless of whether the team finds a way to acquire Aaron Rodgers.

Melvin Gordon III (25) of the Denver Broncos takes the handoff from Drew Lock (3) against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of play at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, December 13, 2020. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The 2020 season saw the Denver Broncos again fall short of expectation. In the second year under the direction of head coach Vic Fangio, the team won just five games and finished with its worst point differential since Josh McDaniels last roamed the Broncos’ sidelines.

While Fangio returns for a third year, Denver will look quite different in 2021. One day following the Broncos’ season finale, John Elway ceded control of the front office to move into a more senior position. The team hired George Paton, an executive with the Minnesota Vikings, as its new general manager less than two weeks later. That move kicked off an offseason of change in the Mile High City.

Quarterback

1. Teddy Bridgewater
2. Drew Lock
3. Brett Rypien

Running back

1. Melvin Gordon
2. Javonte Williams
3. Royce Freeman

Wide receiver

1. Courtland Sutton
2. Jerry Jeudy
3. Tim Patrick
4. K.J. Hamler
5. Seth Williams
6. Tyrie Cleveland

Tight end

1. Noah Fant
2. Albert Okwuegbunam
3. Troy Fumagalli

Biggest offseason changes

With Drew Lock unable to secure the quarterback position during his two seasons in the league, the Broncos traded for established veteran Teddy Bridgewater shortly before the 2021 NFL Draft. Bridgewater doesn’t have a particularly high ceiling, but he offers the type of competence lacking under center in Denver since Peyton Manning retired. Fangio has not committed to one signal-caller or the other starting in 2021, but Bridgewater appears to have the inside track to the job.

Biggest questions for fantasy football

Regardless of which quarterback Denver ultimately tabs as the starter, the offense faces an identity crisis. The receiving corps features no shortage of playmakers, including Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Noah Fant. However, the front office has committed significant resources to the ground game the past two years, signing Melvin Gordon to a lucrative multiyear deal in 2020 and drafting North Carolina’s Javonte Williams with the 35th overall pick. The analytically inclined will hope the Broncos prioritize the passing game, and they might. However, the team might not arrive at that conclusion until sometime during the season.

And the Broncos emphasizing the ground game doesn’t necessarily have fantasy upside either. Gordon will probably still see a fair amount of touches when healthy, but Williams will probably eat into his share of the work. That could make both difficult to play while the offense figures out its backfield.

Of course, this entire discussion could become academic if the Broncos manage to acquire Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers later this offseason. While the Packers have expressed no interest in trading the reigning MVP, Denver reportedly numbers among Rodgers’ preferred landing spots. Just as Manning’s arrival in the Mile High City lifted the franchise, Rodgers too would transform the team’s fortunes immediately.