Posted: Wed July 31, 2013 4:23PM; Updated: Fri August 9, 2013 8:24PM
Eric Mack
Eric Mack>INSIDE FANTASY FOOTBALL

Fantasy football 2013 draft preview: Denver Broncos team report

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A favorable schedule should make this a huge year for the Peyton Manning-led Broncos.
A favorable schedule should make this a huge year for the Peyton Manning-led Broncos.
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Fantasy football 2013 draft prep central: Rankings, position primers and much more

Fantasy football draft season is fast approaching. Prep to win your league with SI.com's ongoing preview, including team-by-team breakdowns that examine each club's key fantasy storyline and much more.

Key fantasy storyline

What happens when you add one of the all-time great slot receivers, Wes Welker, to a Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning, and an already productive young combo of outside receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker? We are about to find out.

You can downgrade the Broncos' Manning out of the early rounds because he is 37 and still a mild risk with his surgically fused neck, but then you will probably be doing so by picking among his targets in the second, third or fourth rounds. Something has to give here. Manning can't support three 80-catch, 1,200-yard, 12-touchdown receivers. Or can he?

Again, we are about to find out.

Even if he falls short of that lofty goal, you have to figure two of these guys are going to perform at that level if they stay healthy for the full season. It will be tricky to decipher which Broncos receiver will star in a given week, which is unfortunate, because all three are going to be drafted as weekly must-starts. You will have to endure some quiet weeks from time to time from this trio, as the other two get their share of the production.

The prevailing thought is Thomas and Decker remain on their 2012 levels, while Welker slides back to being a third option underneath the coverage. Instead of 110-plus catches for Welker, you probably should only expect something in the 80-range.

In the end, it all goes through Manning. He will get his, if only because all of his parts need to get theirs.

We break down the Broncos in their preseason fantasy outlook:

Schedule analysis

Denver Broncos 2013 schedule
WeekOpponentRank against QBAgainst RBAgainst WRAgainst TE
1vs. Baltimore618161
2@ N.Y. Giants26152913
3vs. Oakland21241826
4vs. Philadelphia 2716275
5@ Dallas13281519
6vs. Jacksonville20291219
7@ Indianapolis1227269
8vs. Washington29113031
9BYEN/AN/AN/AN/A
10@ San Diego2113208
11vs. Kansas City19262127
12@ New England3082528
13@ Kansas City19262127
14vs. Tennessee25301932
15vs. San Diego2113208
16@ Houston1812229
17@ Oakland23241826

Stats via FFToday.com

Here is some bad news for the AFC and fantasy owners opposing the Broncos' players: This is one of the most favorable schedules in fantasy. Peyton Manning and his dynamic receiving trio don't face a top-five team against quarterbacks or a top-10 team against receivers from a year ago. Outside of Week 1 versus Baltimore or Week 16 (the fantasy Super Bowl) at Houston, the Broncos face the softest defenses in the NFL. It should make this a huge year for your Broncos all around. The only week you should worry about the running backs might be Week 12 at New England or Week 16 at Houston.

Depth chart

QB -- Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert

RB -- Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball, Jacob Hester

WR -- Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Tavarres King

TE -- Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, Julius Thomas, Virgil Green

K -- Matt Prater

Defensive analysis

Denver Broncos 2012 defensive rankings
RankingTotal DRushing DPassing DPoints allowed
NFL rank2334
Ranking typeAgainst QBAgainst RBAgainst WRAgainst TE
Fantasy rank92530

Stats via NFL.com and FFToday.com

The Broncos defense is coming off a great season in both NFL and fantasy terms, but the corners are a bit long in the tooth (Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), Von Miller is appealing a four-game suspension and pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil is now in Baltimore. The front seven of their 3-4 scheme is young and talented, though, so you should expect them to improve as the season wears on. Depth is a bit of a question mark, but this is still a talented enough unit to be drafted in the second tier after the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

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