C.J. Anderson remains a fantasy force in Denver
The Denver Broncos have matched the Miami Dolphins offer to C.J. Anderson, bringing him back to the Broncos on a four-year deal worth $18 million dollars.
When the Broncos applied the lowest restricted free-agent tender on Anderson, it left most in shock considering they had nobody outside of Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs on the depth chart. The Broncos should have not been shocked when Anderson garnered interest from other teams.
After lighting the fantasy world on fire in 2014, Anderson was highly sought after in 2015 drafts. On average, he was picked as the eighth running back off the board near the tail-end of the first round, but failed to live up to his price.
Through six weeks of the season, Anderson was the subject of “Should I drop him?” questions. To that point, he had carried the ball 67 times for 180 yards (2.69 YPC) with no touchdowns. His ankle had been bothering him since the preseason, but nobody knew the effect that it had on his play.
Getting some much needed rest in Week 7 on the Broncos bye turned out to be all that he needed. In the final nine games of the regular season (he missed one with another injury), Anderson was arguably the best back in football, racking up 540 yards on just 85 carries (6.35 YPC), and 3.7 yards after contact per attempt (second-highest), with five touchdowns
You can’t really question the Broncos for the way they handled Anderson considering the end result, but his teammate Ronnie Hillman really struggled down the stretch. He struggled so much that the Broncos haven’t had any serious talks about a new contract.
Removing the six games that Anderson played while nursing an ankle injury, the Broncos are getting a running back that has totaled 1,750 rushing yards on 345 carries (5.07 YPC) over the last two years – not to mention the fact that he’s just 25 years old and only has 412 carries on his body.
Removing Hillman from the picture, Anderson will be the unquestioned feature-back for the Broncos next year, and should tally a minimum of 16 touches per game with the hit their quarterback position took this offseason.
Had he received that many touches this year, he would’ve finished as the No. 10 running back. That includes his dreadful start to the season, so you can see where his upside takes you. If they don’t add another running back via the draft, Anderson is going to be an RB1 if he stays healthy.