Denver Broncos

AFC West

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    IND @ DEN


    8:30 pm

  • Week 2

    KC @ DEN


    4:30 pm

  • Week 3

    DEN @ SEA


    4:30 pm

  • Week 4


  • Week 5

    ARI @ DEN


    4:00 pm

  • Week 6

    DEN @ NYJ


    1:00 pm

  • Week 7

    SF @ DEN


    8:30 pm

  • Week 8

    SD @ DEN


    8:30 pm

  • Week 9

    DEN @ NE


    4:30 pm

  • Week 10

    DEN @ OAK


    4:00 pm

  • Week 11

    DEN @ STL


    1:00 pm

  • Week 12

    MIA @ DEN


    4:30 pm

  • Week 13

    DEN @ KC


    8:30 pm

  • Week 14

    BUF @ DEN


    4:00 pm

  • Week 15

    DEN @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 16

    DEN @ CIN


    8:30 pm

  • Week 17

    OAK @ DEN


    4:30 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Denver Broncos - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview





After an outstanding season that led up to an ultimate Super Bowl defeat, many of the Broncos felt that horrific feeling only reserved to the unlucky few. Many who have made it that far, but do not bask in the ultimate glory describe it like a death. With such macabre momentum, they were thrust into a long, cold summer. Well, here are some things to do in Denver when you are dead. First, take a listen to some Warren Zevon.




Perhaps, take in a nice Andy Garcia flick.



As far as talent, Denver has it in spades. In fact, if you look at the top 60 fantasy performers, the Denver Broncos have 5 players that made the list. That is more than any other team.


Pyro pioneered Power Rankings. This is a fantastic tool that will help you set your line-up week in and week out. Essentially, it tells you how a team ranks at each position. In 2013, the Denver Broncos ranked 1st at the QB position for fantasy points scored. The running backs came in at the #3 spot. The wide receivers finished 1st, the tight ends finished 2nd. Heck, ever their kicker was ranked 2nd.  Finally, the defense came in at #16.


Having one of the best play callers and pass tossers to ever suit up on an NFL field must certainly give the Denver Broncos a resounding boost of confidence. Despite his recent… display?



Alright, so Peyton is no Chili Palmer from “Pulp Fiction”.




But on the grid iron, now that is a different story. The stats from last year are amazing: 659 attempts and 450 completions that totaled 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. What is really phenomenal, is that despite having the second most attempts for his career, he threw only 10 INTs. He is well balanced, out of 410 fantasy points, 53.4% came from yardage, and 53.7% came from TDs. I know, it amounts to over 100, but you have to factor in negative points for sacks and INTs. He outscored the next highest quarterback in fantasy by 52.1 total points. He outscored #3 by 112.1 points. That is a huge advantage. To exemplify this, the difference between the #4 fantasy quarterback and the #12 fantasy quarterback is a mere 32.2 points. This is clearly why that top tier for quarterbacks is two, maybe three guys. Personally, I do not think you can trust ADPs when it comes to quarterbacks. As of early August, 12 team league mock drafts have him going in the 2nd round. I would be amazed if he is still around by pick #9 in most leagues. My suggestion, run some mock drafts of your own, see how your team looks when you start by drafting a quarter back. Just keep this in mind, you are drafting for 2014, the year ahead, not the year behind. Last year, the Broncos enjoyed the best schedule for the QB position. This year, Denver has the 24th best strength of schedule for the quarter back position (#27 in the fantasy playoffs). It is highly unlikely Peyton will put up those numbers again, the question you have to answer: How much of a drop off will he endure?


In the backfield, Montee Ball enters his second season in the NFL. In 2014, he will be the lead back for Denver. He should be a top 10 back, with potential to land in the top 5. The biggest asset he has is indeed Peyton Manning. Statistically, running backs behind Peyton always perform. The fact is, defenses have to prioritize and Peyton is the number one threat. This often gives his backs room to run. Denver gets plenty of chances to score. In fact, in the red zone last year, they were #1. They scored a touchdown 72.73% of the time. Those duties should fall to Ball this year. Last year, he averaged 4.7 yards per carry, and all of his scores came in the red zone. In the last six games of the regular season, he averaged 5.78 yards per carry. It gets even better. Ball does his best against his own division, the AFC West. Last year, he averaged 5.88 yards per rush against AFC West opponents. His average here is higher than his averages against any other division. Last year, he was behind Moreno and so he just did not have the attempts needed for fantasy domination. This year, he is the clear starter. He has worked on his pass blocking, something that should keep him in the game longer, as well as his hands. He suffered three costly turnovers last year during the regular season. The one bit of concern, Ball went under the knife for an appendectomy on August 4th. While he is expected to recover fully in time for the regular season opener, it may open the door to something of a time split if Hillman makes the most of this opportunity. Before the surgery, Ball’s ADP showed him going as the 10th pick in the first round in 12 team leagues. In just a few days, Ball’s ADP has dropped, he is now going as the last pick of the first round. Personally, the farther he falls, the better the value. He has the club all to himself in mile high. Speaking of which, Houdini stands alone in his own little version of the mile-high club…And that’s just the way he likes it!


Back on terra firma, Ronnie Hillman steps in to play with the ones for now, as Ball is recovering from surgery. C.J Anderson has also seen some increased action, but Hillman is the one to watch. Anderson may get some play up the middle during preseason, while Hillman will get the majority of the work. Hillman was actually slated as the number one spot on the roster at this time last year. As Moreno showed his skills, and Hillman developed a case of the drops, he was quick to be passed over. This is his third year in the system. He had a lot of promise coming out of college. It is a long shot for him to make the most of this opportunity. Chances are, he may be a change of pace back during the year, but the job should go back to Ball when he returns.


As far as receivers go, Demaryius Thomas is a tier I player. Last year, if he would have had 5 more yards, he would have been the highest scoring fantasy wide receiver. Demaryius finished with 227 fantasy points and Josh Gordan had 227.4. Calvin was #3. That is not the only way that Thomas looks better than Calvin on paper. Demaryius caught 65.2% of his passes. Calvin Johnson had a 54.2% catch rate. Demaryius had 14 touchdowns, 2 more than Calvin. Demaryius had 92 receptions to Calvin Johnson’s 84. Demaryius is a deep threat that has explosive potential. Demaryius was targeted 10.14 yards from the line of scrimmage on pass plays, Johnson was targeted 9.61 yards downfield on average. In fact, looking at the 50 most targeted receivers in 2013, only 3 guys were targeted farther downfield. Now that Decker is gone, Thomas should have a larger piece of the offensive pie. The one place Calvin seems to be leading Demaryius is in ADP. As of early August, Johnson is going approximately 5th and DT is going two picks later at the #7 spot. Mmmmm? Thomas should come out strong this season. This happens to be a contract year for him. Statistically, players up their performance during contract years. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why. But, all it takes to figure out which guys are starting a contract year is to purchase the latest version of the Pyro draft kit. One of the new wrinkles in version 3 allows you to see who is playing in a contract year.


Wes Welker, the “slot machine”, is back again. In 12 team leagues, he is currently going in the middle of the 4th round as of early August. Welker should easily land in the top 20 this year for fantasy wide receivers. He has a chance to land inside the top 15. Similar to DT, Welker is also playing in a contract year. Plus, the sting from losing the Super Bowl should provide extra incentive. This could be Manning’s best chance to win another one, the team is fully aware of this. They need to strike this year. Welker had 10 TDs last season, the most of his career, despite missing three games. You can never seem to count him out. He always manages consistent fantasy production. Last year, he still managed 111 receptions in just 13 games. The guy is money in PPR. That said, you need to be cautious when drafting him so high. Welker is entering his 10th season. Age could be catching up to him. Last year, he missed 3 games due to injury. He totaled 778 yards, his lowest total since he left Miami in 2006. He tends to drop big passes. In 2013, he had a 9% drop rate. He seemed to slow down towards the end of the season. He only crossed the end zone once in his last five games. Welker finished without a 100 yard performance what so ever. The biggest thing for me is watching preseason and training camp. Does new edition Emmanuel Sanders seem to have chemistry with Peyton? If not, Welker could easily have a bounce back year.


Well, Emmanuel Sanders had no sooner got off the bus in Denver before he threw his old quarterback under it. Sanders recently commented on the stark difference between Peyton Manning’s preparation versus the lack there of when it came to Ben Accosthisfurberger. Sanders came into the league riding a huge hype train. Many analysts felt he was the most NFL ready for a receiver at that time. Well, it has never really panned out. Last year was his most productive: 112 targets, 67 receptions, 740 yards, and  6TDs (that is more scoring than he did in his first three years combined). Although he replaces Eric Decker, Sanders will not have the same amount of impact on the offense. For me, he is a wide receiver #4 at best, even then I’m not too happy. The games he will be worth the start will be few and far between, and good luck knowing when which Sundays those will be.


Finally, the Broncos drafted a rookie wide receiver from Indiana named Cody Latimer. In his last year for the Hoosiers, he caught 72 passes for 1,096 yards, and 9 TDs. He broke 100 yards in five different games. He scored a touchdown in 7 games. As of early August, he stands at number 4 on the depth chart. If Sanders flakes out, he could move up. But in all likely hood, only an injury to one of the starting receivers would put him on the fantasy map, outside of dynasty leagues that is.





As far as tight ends go in the world of fantasy, the position is deep, however, there are two top tiers of guys, and then the rest. Orange Julius Thomas can be a top tier II tight end. Low and behold, he too is playing for a contract. Damn the Bronco boys are going to be laying it on the line this year. Gottsa ta get those ends. If Thomas continues to trend upwards and improve upon last season, he could end up in the top 3 for fantasy tight ends this year. This year will be his 4th in the league. In 2013 he played 14 games. He amassed 65 receptions for 788 yards, and 12 touchdowns. The guy crossed the goal line in 10 of 14 games last season.  He is a go to guy for Manning in the red zone. We already established that Denver was the most successful team in the red zone in 2013. Well, Julius Thomas scored 8 of his 12 TDs inside the red zone. He is a huge target that draws Manning’s attention and holds his confidence. While he has the toughest schedule on paper for a tight end (last year, Denver had the 8th best schedule at the position), it is doubtful other teams will be able to keep him out of the end zone.


By Mo 

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Terrell Davis and The Best 3 Years Ever

terrell davis, the best 3 years ever



Terrell Davis or TD, as he is affectionately known in Denver, had what can be argued as the best 3-year stretch for a running back with the numbers he put up.  It all started with being drafted in the 6th round as the 21st running back off the board in 1995.

Davis would earn the starting job in pre-season and had a stellar rookie season rushing for 1,117 yards and 7 TD.  Davis became the lowest drafted player to ever rush for at least 1,000 yards.  Davis would then take the NFL and Fantasy leagues by storm over the next 3 seasons. 

In his second season in the league, Davis built on his rookie campaign and showed he was a force to be dealt with.  Davis rushed for 1,538 yards and 13 TD and added 310 receiving yards and another 2 TD and was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year. There were many who projected that Davis would fall short in his second season and even fewer who believed he would accomplish what he did.  For Davis, though, this was only the beginning and he would crush the NFL and Fantasy over the next 2 seasons. 

Davis was coming off a monster second season and was being taken seriously by every defense in the league going into his 3rd season.  Even with the added attention from opposing defenses and pressure from Broncos fans, Davis was able to overcome and overachieve.  Davis rushed for 1,750 yards and 15 TD, while adding another 287 yards receiving and totaling 2,037 yards from scrimmage.  This was an amazing regular season, but Davis would take it to another level that year in the post-season. 

Davis opened the Playoffs in 1997 with 184 yards rushing and 2 TD against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game the Broncos won 42-17.  The following week Davis would face the Kansas City Chiefs and their tough defense and ran for 101 yards and 2 TD in a 14-10 win.  In the AFC Championship game the Broncos traveled to Pittsburgh and faced another tough defense.  Davis was not fazed, rushing for 139 yards and TD in the 24-21 victory.  Davis would really stand out in the Super Bowl.

The Broncos were a heavy underdog to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII and John Elway was trying to get his first win in the big game, and he would do it, thanks to Davis.  Davis was an absolute beast in this game, rushing for 157 yards and 3 TD, including the final score of the game, giving the Broncos their first Super Bowl title with a 31-24 victory.  Davis was also named Super Bowl MVP.  Davis now had huge expectations heading into 1998, and this was going to be a real tough act to follow. 

Davis headed into the 1998 season very confident and started the season hot with 5 TD in his first 2 games.  Starting in week 2, Davis rushed for 100 yards in 7 straight games and scored 12 TD.  Davis finished the season with 2,008 yards, becoming the 4th player to rush for 2,000 yards, and added 21 rushing TD.  Davis finished with 2,225 yards from scrimmage and 23 TD.  Davis was named the NFL MVP and earned his 2nd AP Offensive Player of the year award.  Davis then had the Playoffs to make his final impression. 

In their first Playoff game the Broncos hosted the Miami Dolphins and Davis ran through them like they were a pop warner team, rushing for 199 yards and 2 TD on 21 carries, averaging 9.5 yards per carry.  The Broncos crushed the Dolphins 38-3.  In the AFC Championship game the Broncos hosted the NY Jets and Davis once again was the workhorse rushing for 167 yards and a TD in a 23-10 victory.  In Super Bowl XXXIII, against the Atlanta Falcons, Davis would take a backseat to John Elway, as this game became the stamp on the great career of the Denver quarterback.  Davis would still rush for 102 yards and added another 50 yards receiving on 2 catches.  The Broncos would defeat the Falcons 34-19.  Davis would find his career cut short due to injuries averaging only 5 games played over the next 3 seasons, the last of his short but glorious career. 

This 3-year run was amazing.  The final playoff stats that Davis put up may be the most staggering.  Davis played in 8 playoff games and had seven 100-yard games and is the only player to have 7 straight 100-yard games in the Playoffs. Davis finished his playoff career with 1,140 yards, 12 TD with 5.6 yards per carry average.  Davis was amazing and was the best player in Fantasy Football in 1997 and 1998, and even though his career was short, like Gale Sayers, it was an amazing sight to be seen. 


Terrell Davis career stats


houdini pyro character

BY HOUDINI (email me)


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Steve Atwater Destroys Christian Okoye

The time in my life when I really began watching football was in the mid 1980’s, and at that time the best safety in the game was Ronnie Lott.  He was extremely physical and made bone crunching hits.  Then Steve Atwater came into the league in 1989 and I had a new favorite safety, no disrespect to Mr. Lott.  It was all due to one play that has gone down in infamy, Atwater’s hit on Christian Okoye. 

It was a Monday Night Football game on September 18th, 1990 and the Broncos were hosting their hated rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs.  It was the perfect match-up for Monday Night Football, with two bitter division rivals and a game that figured to be a hard hitting game all around. 

The Chiefs were led by their bruising running back Christian Okoye, The Nigerian Nightmare.  Okoye was 6’1” and weighed 253 pounds and was coming off a dominant season where he rushed for 1,480 yards and scored 12 TD.  This was the second game of the season and Okoye opened the season with 92 yards and a TD against the Vikings.  Okoye was the biggest running back in the game, bigger than most linebackers and was always the one who was delivering the punishment when he was tackled.  On the other side of the coin was Steve Atwater.  Atwater had an outstanding rookie season and would have been the Defensive Rookie of the Year except for Derrick Thomas coming out in the same draft class.  Atwater gained the reputation as a hard hitter as soon as he arrived on the scene for the Broncos.  When asked about his defensive preferences Atwater responded “I don’t have a preference - run or pass, but when the running back gets the ball, all bets are off. I play in an aggressive manner.”  He gave the Denver defense the sting that they were lacking.

Prior to the game Atwater was fitted with a microphone so they could play the sound bites of his hits during the broadcast.  This would wind up being the reason why this hit is remembered so much.  Okoye took a handoff around the Broncos 25 yard line and he began to make his way through a hole and all of a sudden Steve Atwater exploded into Okoye and straight up knocked him off his feet and back 2 yards.  John Elway said, “It’s the first time that I’ve probably ever seen a 260 pound back run into a free safety and go flat on his back”.  The hit was replayed over and over during the broadcast and made Atwater an instant star. 

Atwater was not all about that play, in fact in the game he finished with 11 solo tackles, and most of those were in stopping the run game.  Atwater also knocked a Chiefs player out of the game on a hit, one week after knocking Marcus Allen out of the opener.  Atwater would played for 10 seasons, but he was perhaps the most dominant safety in the game between 1989 and 1993 when he averaged 149 tackles, 1 sack and 3 interceptions a season. Atwater manned up with his hit on Okoye, and Okoye was never the same player.  Atwater stole his mojo on that hit and will be remembered as the man who gave The Nigerian Nightmare Nightmares.  



By Houdini

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The Three Amigos

The 2013 Denver Broncos were comprised of three great receivers, but they are not the three receivers that captured the hearts and minds of Denver Broncos’ fans in the late 1980’s. That honor belongs to Vance Johnson, Mark Jackson and Ricky Nattiel who were known as the Three Amigos. The story of how the Amigos came to be is not well known, until now.

The Broncos selected the Amigos in three consecutive drafts: Vance Johnson in 1985, Mark Jackson in 1986, and Ricky Nattiel in 1987. None of these players were your prototypical outside receiver, as Vance Johnson was 5’11” and Jackson and Nattiel both stood at 5’9”. These three receivers had one of the games greatest quarterbacks in John Elway to spread the ball around, although the competition was fierce between the three of them.

"We were all young, but when Ricky got there, none of us liked each other," Johnson recalled, "We were three receivers, but there was one quarterback and one football. One night, Mark and I being roommates, we weren't talking with each other. We rented the movie 'Three Amigos!' with Martin Short, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase. I watched it, he was asleep, and I woke Mark up.

"I said: 'Mark, I have a great idea! If they think three white guys can be Three Amigos, there's no way three black guys can't be Three Amigos!' "

Johnson recalled that the next day at practice, he announced, "Elway called us the Three Amigos." John Elway good-naturedly denied it later, but it was a good story building momentum.

The breakthrough came in a "Monday Night Football" game Nov. 16, 1987. The Chicago Bears came to Mile High Stadium to face the Broncos, the reigning AFC champions. Taking advantage of a game-changing William "Refrigerator" Perry fumble on the goal line, the Broncos beat the Bears 31-29. Elway threw touchdown passes of 22 yards to Johnson, 22 yards to Jackson and ultimately 35 yards to the rookie, Nattiel.

Again, trying to help the story along, Johnson told the media that Elway had declared, "I couldn't have done it without my Three Amigos."

Johnson was doing a great job as the promoter for the group, and the nickname did start to catch on. The first published reference to their new nickname seems to have been in a story by Rick Morrissey in the Nov. 19 Rocky Mountain News. The Broncos' next home game was against New England on Dec. 6.

"We get to the games a lot earlier than anyone else, of course," recalled Jackson, "There usually were a couple of scalpers there when you get off at 17th Avenue, and then a bunch of guys buying and selling as you went toward the locker room. So that morning, I saw a bunch of guys selling sombreros. I didn't make the connection.

"When we warmed up, there weren't many people there, but when we came back out for the game, there's 76,000, and you look into the stands and there's all these sombreros, and I went, 'Holy smokes!' That was Three Amigos-mania."

The Amigos had a few nice seasons, but none of these receivers were all that great by themselves. Johnson and Jackson finished their careers with over 5,500 receiving yards and Ricky Nattiel had just less than 2,000 receiving yards. As of this moment none of them have been inducted to the Broncos Ring of Fame, but there is always hope for the Amigos.

"I told Mark and Ricky that we were never going to get up on the Ring of Fame individually, but the three of us, they had to put us up there as a group," Johnson said. Then he laughed and added, "I don't know about now, because they have the new Three Amigos."

They may have the new Three Amigos, but real fans of the NFL and the Broncos will never forget the original Three Amigos.




By Houdini

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Ouch Town-Population You Bro!

Montee Ball will undergo and MRI on Monday to check on his strained groin. According to an NFL source this may knock out Ball for awhile. He only had seven yards on six carries, before he went down blocking for Peyton Manning.

Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson took over and combined for 80 yards rushing the rest of the game. Hillman rushed for 65 yards on 15 carries, and Thompson rushed for 15 yards on three carries, which included an 8-yard touchdown run.

Pyro's take: If Montee Ball is out for any extended time look for Ronnie Hillman to be the main ball carrier for Denver, and Thompson as the reserve. This could be an excellent chance for both running backs to show what they have, as Montee Ball has been ineffective this season.

10/06/14, 01:17 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Sheriff late on the draw

It took until the fourth quarter before Peyton Manning finally got things moving for the Broncos, and by then they were down 17-3. He finished the day with 31-of-49 passes for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The highlight was a masterful game-tying, 80-yard touchdown drive that was executed with no timeouts and 59 seconds on the clock. The Broncos went on to lose in overtime, 24-17.

Pyro's take: Peyton Manning is simply amazing, but he is on a bye-week, which means plan B for all owners. He will be back at it against the Cards in week five

09/24/14, 04:10 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Welker to be reinstated?

Wes Welker could be reinstated today if the NFLPA reps and owners agree that new drug policies need to be put into place.

Pyro's take: This is huge for owners of Wes Welker, as he could suit up as early as Sunday. Welker is Peyton Manning's binky, and missing one week wont hamper Welker, so if he is available to play, insert him in the line-up.

09/09/14, 02:27 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Welker suspended

NFL Media's Albert Breer reports Wes Welker will miss the first four games of the season, due to violating the NFL PED drug policy. Welker tried to appeal the suspension two-weeks ago, but lost. The Broncos have the weapons to cover the loss, but it will be a team committee to get it done. Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Caldwell, and rookie Cody Latimer will need to step it up. The schedule wont ease the pain for the missing Wes Welker, as they face the Colts in week one, followed up by, Kansas City, Seattle, and Arizona.

Pyro's take: Peyton Manning will find a way to keep Denver afloat while Welker serves his suspension. Look for Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas to have an increase in targets, while Manning gets Sanders, Caldwell, and Latimer up-to-speed.

09/02/14, 06:13 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Welker suffers another concussion

Wes Welker accepts the violence, understands the danger. The Broncos receiver never considered retiring after suffering two concussions last season, but the fragility of the sport found him again Saturday night.

Welker, 33, left in the second quarter after suffering a concussion by taking a hit to the head from Houston Texans defensive back D.J. Swearinger. Concern grew from the moment Swearinger knocked Welker to the turf, a hit that drew a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. Welker rose from the ground but walked toward the sideline as Broncos trainer Steve Antonopulos raced to his side.

"Of course I am worried about Wes," said linebacker Von Miller, who had his first game action during the preseason. "That's my guy. It's just part of the game

Pyro's take: This is always the concern with Welker, and now it throws doubt onto his ability to make through the entire season, if he even gets cleared to play week 1. Wes was going to be counted on a lot more this season, with the departure of Eric Decker, but now it looks like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will have to shoulder larger workloads. This also presents an opportunity for rookie Cody Latimer to step up and produce. The repeated concussions make Welker a major injury risk in fantasy this season.

08/24/14, 04:10 PM CDT by Houdini

Ball to have Appendectomy

Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball will undergo an appendectomy Monday but is expected to be ready for the regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Ronnie Hillman has taken most reps with the starters in place of Ball at Monday's practice. C.J. Anderson also took some reps. Ball had two carries for eight yards in Saturday's scrimmage.

Pyro's take: Ball looks to be ready for the regular season opener, but all the missed snaps in training camp could really hurt his chemistry with Peyton Manning especially in the pass game. A number of players have made speedy recoveries from this procedure to have very successful fantasy seasons (Jason Witten, Ben Roethlisberger, and Hines Ward). However I can't recall a running back having the procedure and with the abuse that position takes it makes me slightly more hesitant to draft this guy when the time comes.

Ball is in such a sweet spot for success and is a very good football player but this injury leaves some cause for concern. Keep up to date on his recovery and hope he can play at least one game of the preseason to put your wandering mind at ease.

08/04/14, 01:38 PM CDT by Stagg Party

Demaryius back at camp

After missing the first four days of camp to tend to his grandmother’s funeral in Georgia, Demaryius Thomas returned to Dove Valley on Monday and participated in the evening walkthrough.

His grandmother essentially raised him and the weekend was not easy for him.

“You know, it was tough yesterday burying my grandma but since then everything’s been better,” Thomas said. “She’s in a better place now so I’m fine and I’m ready to play football.”

Though she had been sick for awhile, he still wasn’t prepared for her death.

“You’re really not [prepared] because when I went home to see her after the Super Bowl she was fine, she was talking and then one night it was just, she wasn’t responding,” he said. “So it was like [snaps fingers] a flip of a coin, she was gone.”

He was glad to be back on the field and he said his teammates “are keeping me smiling.” It is comforting for him to come back to the team.

Pyro's take: It is always tough to lose a loved one, but thankfully Demaryius was able to be there with his family. Now he is back with his football family and will look to continue his stellar play. He has over 1,400 yards and 92 catches in each of the last two seasons. The time missed at camp will not effect Thomas and he is once again a top five receiver this season.

07/29/14, 08:33 PM CDT by Houdini

Manning working with receivers, but not Demaryius

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has gathered most of the team's wide receivers and tight end Julius Thomas at Duke University this week for the well-planned headstart on the offseason work.

Newly-minted Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders tweeted a picture of the group Tuesday, a photo that also included Wes Welker, Andre Caldwell and Julius Thomas. And that set off the requisite amount of social media panic in the local zip codes on the Front Range because the Broncos' No. 1 wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas, was not in the photo. Or even at Duke for that matter.

Cancel the panic. There is no rift or bubbing controversy. Thomas is still recovering from a left shoulder injury he suffered in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Pyro's take: Talk about a Super Bowl hangover. Kam Chancellor is the reason Demaryius can't play catch with Peyton, but I have a feeling that their chemistry will be fine once the season starts.

This workout session will be more important for Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Caldwell and Julius Thomas. Peyton and Demaryius proved over the last two seasons that they are on the same page. Peyton should have his top target back soon.

04/12/14, 12:41 PM CDT by Houdini

Emmanuel Sanders now a Bronco

Emmanuel Sanders has agreed to terms that will now make him a Denver Bronco. The former Pittsburgh Steeler signed a three year deal worth as much as $18 million, and $6 million in guaranteed money. There is some health risks, as he has had some problems with his foot, even so, Sanders finished the season with solid numbers this past season, as he caught 67 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns. Sanders signed a three-year deal that can be worth as much as $18 million if he hits all of the performance-based escalators in the contract. The Broncos have constructed the deal so Sanders will receive a $3 million bonus next March, meaning this year's salary cap charge is a relatively friendly $4 million.

Pyro's take: Sanders struck it big by signing with the Broncos. Not only does he get paid, but gets paid to catch passes from Peyton Manning, in a explosive Denver offense. He will be replacing Eric Decker (87-1,288-11) who went to play for the Jets. If Emmanuel can stay healthy, there is a good possibility to not only match Decker's numbers from last year, but also supersede them

03/16/14, 03:50 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Welker could be in line for a bounce back season

At the beginning of the 2013 offseason, the Denver Broncos made a big splash by dipping into the New England Patriots' pool to sign slot receiver Wes Welker.

The Broncos signed Welker as a complementary piece to an offense that was already loaded with talent. This year, however, Welker could be thrust into a more prominent role with the Broncos' No. 2 wide receiver, Eric Decker, set to hit free agency.

Welker could be their No. 2 receiver, but head coach John Fox doesn't seem too concerned with that possibility.

"I always tell guys, don't let anybody define you, that includes me. Wes, I think, has proven to be a very productive receiver in this league, whether that's as a (No.) 1, 2 or 3, I've never really totally understood that — I understand the phrases, but we just let 'em compete, and he's never been short on that."

Pyro's take: If Eric Decker leaves, then Welker will finally have a chance to show what he and Peyton Manning can do working together. Welker was the third and sometimes fourth option with the emergence of Julius Thomas last season. The Broncos are still going to have a lot of weapons, but the offense will look different.

Wes should be a major beneficiary, as the Broncos do not have another receiver on the roster besides Demaryius that will challenge him like Decker did. The poor season he had in 2013 should also allow him to fall in drafts, as he has in years past. He should also outperform his draft position in 2014, as he has done many times in years past.

02/21/14, 06:36 PM CST by Houdini

Sanders could be headed for the AFC East

The New York Jets “covet” Sanders and fellow free-agent wideout Jeremy Maclin, according to the New York Daily News. The Jets are expected to free up $8 million in salary cap room by releasing wide receiver Santonio Holmes. New York already has $20.2 million in cap room.

The Patriots signed Sanders to an offer sheet worth $2.5 million last offseason when the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver was a restricted free agent. The Steelers ended up matching the offer sheet, and Sanders caught 67 passes for 740 yards and six touchdowns.

Pyro's take: The Patriots tried to acquire Sanders last season, but the Steelers matched their offer. Now that they will likely be likely be losing Julian Edelman to free agency they could be a player for Emmanuel once again.

The Jets are always going after whatever player the Patriots show interest in, so they have Sanders on their radar. If we have been taught anything about the Jets and Patriots you can bet that Edelman will also receiver an offer from the Jets for his services. If any of these receivers goes to the Jets their fantasy values will take a major hit.

02/21/14, 05:07 PM CST by Houdini

Ball could be the main back in 2014

Knowshon Moreno is a free agent. Moreno was terrific last season, becoming the first Broncos' running back to gain more than 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving.

But the Broncos planned for his departure by selecting Ronnie Hillman in the third round of the 2012 draft and Montee Ball in the second round last year.

Ball emerged as Moreno's backup last year, rushing for 559 yards on 4.7 yards per carry.

"Obviously we think very highly of him," Broncos coach John Fox said at his NFL combine news conference Thursday. "I thought he had tremendous growth as a rookie running back in this league. He got better with every week. We look for a big improvement next year and think he's very, very capable."

Pyro's take: Ball came on strong in the second half of the season, and showed the ability to make catches out of the backfield. The biggest improvement he made during the year was in his blocking, which is the most important thing when you have Peyton Manning at quarterback.

There is a very strong possibility that Moreno will not be resigned by the team, and that would open the door for the Ball to become the primary ball carrier. Be the ball Betty...It's Montee.

If Knowshown is gone, Ball will have a chance for a tremendous sophomore season. Peyton Manning has a history of his lead backs getting at least 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns, and Moreno accomplished that in 2013. The needle is pointing up for Ball. If you grabbed him in a dynasty league look for that draft pick to pay off in 2014.

02/21/14, 04:57 PM CST by Houdini

Vows improvement in 2014

"...I do want to be a starter, and yeah, I want the football every time," Monte Ball said in a recent interview. "I think I'm going to have a great offseason, and I'm going to have a better season next year for sure.

"It was a very unfortunate situation for us, obviously, in the Super Bowl, but it gave us a lot to work for. We understand how much it took to get there, and for me as a rookie, it was great to be a part of the process leading up to the Super Bowl, because I truly understand what it takes. And I'm going to play a huge role in next year's success, and I'm really looking forward to it."

Pyro's take: Ball has a good shot at being the guy for the Broncos in 2014.

The likelihood of Knowshon Moreno playing for a different team in 2014 is high, and Ball will most likely become the starter for this potent offense. His 704 total yards and four TDs were surprisingly good considering he saw the rock half as much (120 carries to Moreno's 241) and only caught 20 of the 92 passes caught by Denver RBs. Take Moreno out of this equation and Ball stands to gain a tremendous amount of carries, check downs, and RB screens. They drafted this guy for this reason!

He averaged 4.66 yards per carry in 2013, and that number could improve in his second year so long as the Broncos fix their woes on the offensive line. The other two backs currently on Denver's roster are Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson, two players that haven't exactly made a good case for an increased workload.

Ball made noticeable improvements throughout the year in his blocking and decision-making. He also held on to the ball much better after two fumbles in his first 31 carries. Ball has all the intangibles to become a fantasy superstar; all he needs is the opportunity.

02/13/14, 11:59 PM CST by Matt Southall

Peyton's career numbers at Metlife underwhelming

Over the course of his 17-year career (16 years if you don't count his missing 2011 due to injury), Peyton Manning has played eight games at the Meadowlands/Metlife Stadium, which is the site for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Here are Manning's numbers over those eight games:

Record: 6-2 (1-0 w/Den, 5-2 w/Ind)

Passing: 186-for-311 (59.8% completion percentage)

TDs: 11 INTs: 9

Passing Yards: 2,010 (251.3/game)

300-yard games: 2

Rushes: 15
Rushing Yards: 37
Rushing TDs: 1

Pyro's take: The numbers probably don't tell us a whole heck of a lot here, especially since seven of those eight games were played between 1998 and 2006 while Manning was on the Indianapolis Colts.

However, the one other game he played in East Rutherford, New Jersey was in Week 2 of THIS season when the Broncos beat the New York Giants, 41-23. In that game, Manning went 30-for-43 (69.8%) for 307 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs.

Of course, the game-time temperature was 70 degrees with the wind blowing at an insignificant 3 mph, so very little can be taken away from this one as well.

01/26/14, 10:21 PM CST by Dawgmaticå

Peyton's Place

Peyton Manning has more yards passing in his playoff career than the Seahawks do as a franchise

Pyro's take: War and Peace has a shorter page span than Manning and his statistics, but numbers are just numbers, and Peyton has to win probably one more Super Bowl to reinforce everything he has done. If he and the Broncos can knock off Seattle at MetLife, then he has permission to change his last name to GOAT.

01/20/14, 08:40 PM CST by Vaaal-verde

Manning needs this win for his legacy

Their rivalry makes for the quintessential barroom debate. Manning, 37, probably will win his fifth league MVP award this year. He set NFL season records for touchdown passes and yards passing. But he's 1-for-2 in the Super Bowl. Brady? The 36-year-old QB has three title rings in five tries, as well as a significantly better playoff record than Manning, but lesser regular-season statistics.

Who's better? The debate will continue long after Sunday's game, but of this there is no uncertainty: Manning vs. Brady ranks among the all-time best sports rivalries.

"There's never been as frequent a matchup with this much marquee that I can think of. I think it transcends the NFL," said CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz, who will work Sunday's game. "And I'm not trying to get into hyperbole here. We're not going to get one more person to watch this game. It's something everyone wants to see. But this is tantamount to Ali-Frazier one more time. This is Palmer-Nicklaus. This is Bird-Magic. I'm not trying to create some sort of synthetic drama here. This is as big as it gets."

Pyro's take: Manning really needs to win this game to prevent his legacy from reading; One of the greatest quarterbacks in regular season history, who just came up short in the playoffs.

Peyton Manning has won a Super Bowl, but in comparison to Brady that just doesn't cut it. As far as playoff dominance goes Manning is more in line with Trent Dilfer than he is with Tom Brady. A win against Brady in the AFC Championship game would go a long way to removing that image from our minds.

Manning is attempting to finish his illustrious career the same was John Elway did, with a Super Bowl Championship. If Manning were to beat Brady and win the title this season, the talk will become who is the best of all time, not who is the best in the playoffs or regular season.

01/19/14, 12:40 PM CST by Houdini

Thomas looking to be the impact TE in this game

Thomas gives Peyton Manning another weapon from which to choose, and allows for five quality, game-breaking options when he drops back to pass. That was the case on the third-and-17 completion Sunday, when Thomas got wide open near the right sideline because the Chargers couldn't adequately account for him, wide receivers Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, and running back Knowshon Moreno coming out of the backfield.

"It's extremely tough for a defense to have every single person on offense covered each and every play," said Julius Thomas. "There's always going to be traffic, guys stumble up, get caught up in something and that gives our (quarter)back just a little bit of a throwing lane. He's going to look for the guy that is open and he's going to read the defense and that's really what allows him to distribute the ball so well."

"Everybody knows that when we step out onto that field, it could be your opportunity to make a play," said Thomas. "You're trying to win every route. You may be running a route you've never caught; you ran it in practice, you ran it in practice.

"Sometimes I have to remind myself that he hasn’t played a ton of football," Manning said. "So for Julius to have the kind of season that he’s had without having a lot of experience is really impressive."

Pyro's take: Julius Thomas was not available for Peyton Manning the last time these two teams faced each other. In that game Jacob Tamme was the most effective receiver for the Broncos finishing with five catches for 47 yards and a score.

Julius should have a lot of room to work against a linebacking corp that is not at 100%. Manning has shown that he has his confidence, and with the receivers grabbing all the attention it could be an Orange Julius day.

01/15/14, 08:25 PM CST by Houdini

Welker is saying the right things

Former Patriot and current Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker downplayed the motivational factor when asked what it will be like to face his former team in Sunday's AFC Championship for the first time since the regular season meeting in Foxboro, a 34-31 Patriots overtime win.

"You know, it's still another game," he said. "You understand it's the AFC Championship and everything like that and you want to go out and prepare as much as possible. But at the same time it's still an opponent and a team and you're going out there to play the best of your ability and go out there and try and win the game."

He said it was important to not put too much stock in the first meeting when preparing for the rematch.

"You take a lot from it, but at the same time you don't ... overanalyze it or anything else," he said. "You just try and get ready the best you can and understand that the game is not going to be totally the same but it's still, do your homework from the last one."

Pyro's take: Welker can say all the right things to the media, but we all know that he really wants to make this game count. A great performance in a win would be the perfect BITCHSLAP to Bill Belichick and the Patriots for Wes.

He was held in check during their last meeting in New England, but with a home game and another shot at redemption, look for Welker to go off on Sunday.

01/15/14, 07:52 PM CST by Houdini

Welker status is doubtful for Thursday

Receiver Wes Welker, who was diagnosed with a concussion during Sunday's game, is currently going through the NFL's protocol to work his way back, and Fox would not say whether he is ruled out for Thursday's game against the Chargers.

The protocol varies from player to player, and Fox said he didn't want to play doctor.

Sunday's was Welker's second concussion in four weeks.

Pyro's take: With the new concussion protocols in the NFL it is very unlikely that Wes Welker would be able to clear those in time for Thursday night.

The usual protocols for concussions do not give clearance until Friday, so it will remain to be seen what the team doctor and independent doctor say prior to the game. Being that he has had his second concussion in the last four weeks is the reason I feel he will not play.

This is the perfect example of how the NFL has screwed things up with the Thursday Night schedule. With the fantasy playoffs on the line Welker will likely miss a game that he would have been able to start on Sunday.

12/09/13, 06:27 PM CST by Houdini

Montee Ball stepping into a bigger role

For all the talk about Moreno, the most important running back storyline was the emergence of (can you believe it) an actual second running back!

"We need the younger guys to step up, play their role and do what they can to help this team out," Moreno said after the game. "Montee (Ball) did a great job, held onto the ball, ran hard, ran physical and that is just the beginning. He is working on it in practice and we are going to need him to continue those things."

I believe the only way this thing is going to work is if a second running back becomes relevant, and against Kansas City, rookie Ball proved that he can be a factor. He ran hard and smart, finishing with 117 yards on 13 carries (9.0 per carry!) and he didn't fumble.

Pyro's take: Ball was very effective last week, and could be in line for a bigger workload this week. Knowshon is dealing with an ankle injury, but he is expected to be able to play at this point.

Regardless, last week was a coming out party for Ball which could lead to him getting more touches down the stretch. The big issue that will follow Ball is ball control, so if the rookie can that under control he could become a factor in the fantasy playoffs, especially if Moreno is hobbled.

12/05/13, 05:58 PM CST by Houdini


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