There are fantasy matchups that will be good for the Broncos in 2023
May 23, 2023, 3:12 PM
Fantasy football is almost always on my mind. I’ve played fantasy football since 1993, and I’ve been on the airwaves in Denver talking about fantasy football since 2003. I’ve made fantasy football my career, and I look forward to the regular season every year.
I look forward to my fantasy draft, but in the leagues I play in I fully expect to make the fantasy playoffs. Each season, the fantasy playoffs will be played over the final weeks of the regular season. Now, with a 17-game schedule, every league should hold their fantasy playoffs Week 15 through Week 17. Nobody should be playing in Week 18 as too much randomness can happen if playoff spots are secured, or teams are intentionally tanking for a better draft pick.
So, when the schedule comes out, I look mostly at the end of the regular season. The Denver Broncos have some interesting opponents coming up at the end of the year. I believe with HC Sean Payton, the Broncos could be pushing for a playoff spot. That’s why the end of the Broncos’ season could be quite fantasy relevant for Fantasy GMs out there.
Here are some fantasy football options in the fantasy playoffs based on the Broncos’ 2023 schedule.
Week 15 at Detroit Lions
The Lions are an up-and-coming team, so this matchup may be tougher than some initially think. They spent much of the offseason adding to the offensive side of the ball, but it’s what they did on their defense that should influence what the Broncos do.
This is a game the Broncos could win through the air. Last year, the Lions gave up the third-most passing yards in the NFL. That’s why they made defensive additions like CB Emmanuel Moseley and CB Cameron Sutton in free agency to help shore up their secondary. Sutton got a three-year deal, and he’s a good outside corner who won’t let much through. Moseley got a one-year contract, and he’s coming off an ACL injury in 2022. He’s the player to pick on, so the Broncos need to decide how they want to attack him in the secondary.
This is where Courtland Sutton or Tim Patrick could come through for you in the fantasy playoffs. Both new Lions’ starting corners are less than six-feet tall. That means size should be the order of the day. The Broncos have a jam-packed room at the wide receiver position, but by that time we’ll see how things shake out between Sutton, Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, and rookie WR Marvin Mims Jr. If it goes how I think it will (with Jeudy and Mims making most of the plays in the passing game), then Sutton or Patrick could go from your bench – or your waiver wire – to your starting lineup as a flex or ‘what the heck’ flex play in this matchup.
Week 16 vs. New England Patriots
A Patriots team will head coach Bill Belichick will almost certainly give you problems with their defensive game plan. Belichick is going to take away what you do best, and his defense will force you to play differently than you’re used to. I believe the Broncos are going to run the heck out of the ball this year, and that means in this late-season contest Belichick will do his best to stuff guys like RBs Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine.
The Patriots defense has some headhunters in the secondary. When the Patriots stack the box to stuff the run, it’s going to create opportunities for some of their faster players – at both the running back position and the wide receiver position. There are a couple of spots to pick on, and I expect Payton’s offense to test certain areas of the Patriots’ defense.
Christian Gonzalez was a first-round pick for the Patriots this year, and by this time of the season he will have plenty of experience against NFL talent. There are two players, and two types of routes I would throw at the rookie. I’d use Jeudy on underneath routes, and in-breaking routes to feature his run-after-the-catch ability. I’d also set up Mims on sluggo (slant-and-go) routes against Gonzalez. He was one of my favorite corners in this class, but he is susceptible to double moves (hello Mims) and he gives a lot of cushion when facing speedier receivers because he has great recover speed and instincts (hello Jeudy). Again, I think the former CU Buff (who transferred to Oregon) is a fine playmaker, but I want to test his ability and a Jeudy/Mims combination would do that. Both have flex appeal in this matchup.
Week 17 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
In the fantasy championship, the Broncos are going up against one of the best offensive teams in the league. The Chargers have a ton of weapons on offense, and they have a superstar in QB Justin Herbert. They will be difficult to beat if you go toe-to-toe with their passing game. That’s why a different strategy should be utilized to secure this late-season divisional game.
This is where smashmouth football should take over for the Broncos. The Chargers offense is scary, and they can post 30-plus points against any team in the league regardless of how great the defense they’re facing is. That’s why the Broncos should consider playing “keep away” from Herbert and company by running the ball down their throat. Not only does it keep Herbert cold on the sideline, but it attacks the Chargers defense in the only place you can.
With a great pass rush and a solid secondary (considering everyone is healthy), the Chargers want to build a lead with that passing game then strangle your team with pressure. Don’t let them do that. Instead, use guys like Williams and Perine to beat up the interior of the defense. The Chargers are a bit of a finesse team, so beat them with brutality. They want to get around the edge to get after QB Russell Wilson, so just have him hand off to the Broncos’ bruisers most of the day. This slows down players on the edge like Joey Bosa, and it sets up some play-action opportunities. In your fantasy championship, things are going to get ugly in this contest if Denver tries to win in the air. Go for the ground, go with Williams as an RB2 and Perine as a flex play, to secure your fantasy league’s title.