You want to draft Owen Daniels, not Virgil Green
On Wednesday, Andrew Mason of DenverBroncos.com stopped by the Pro Football Focus show hosted by Mike Clay on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio (10 a.m. ET weekdays – Sirius 210 & XM 87). This was Mason’s second stop on the show, and he followed up on a few items that he spoke with Clay about just over two weeks ago. You can find the first interview here. Mason talked about the Broncos’ decision to go with a new kicker, various position battles, and more. You can find Mason on Twitter @MaseDenver.
Virgil Green Truthers Beware
Virgil Green is a somewhat trendy late-round sleeper pick thanks to the narrative born by former Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. After a strong preseason debut, Green’s momentum has started to fade. According to Mason, it’s past time to get Green off your radar.
There is going to be one fantasy-relevant tight end in Denver, and his name is Owen Daniels. The veteran tight end played 18-of-21 first team snaps during the Broncos’ second preseason game. Although Daniels knows head coach Gary Kubiak’s system very well, the goal is to give him extra snaps to help build his chemistry with Peyton Manning.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that high of a percentage over the course of a regular season game,” Mason said. “Part of that is because Manning is trying to get accustomed to and his timing down with Manning. That being said, Daniels is clearly the No. 1 tight end.”
Daniels is a strong choice at the end of your fantasy drafts, and he provides a much higher floor than some of the late-round fliers drafted in his range.
Barth Out, McManus In
With the signing of free agent guard Evan Mathis on Tuesday, the Broncos were forced to move on from kicker Connor Barth. The plan going forward is to use Brandon McManus as the primary kicker on field goals, extra points and kickoffs. Although he has a strong leg, he has struggled at times with accuracy. Could the Broncos look to call more two-point conversion attempts now that the NFL’s extra point rules have changed?
“If you go back the last nine years and look at all of Peyton Manning’s plays from the 2-yard line,” Mason said, “the Broncos have scored 54 percent of the time. That would mean 1.08 points per two-point attempt versus a league average of 0.94 points per one-point attempt based on 33-yard kicks over the last five years. Theoretically, it might be worth going for two more often if you’re the Broncos. It seems like McManus has fixed those issues with accuracy, though. The Broncos haven’t yet gone for a two-point conversion on a touchdown in the preseason.”
Mason followed up on his final point and confirmed that McManus still makes for a strong option at kicker in fantasy leagues.
“Last week he hit a 70-yard field goal with room to spare,” Mason said. “He’s got a cannon for a leg. He’s had some struggles with accuracy, but he’s changed his technique, and he thinks it’s going to make him more accurate. He’s going to be a good kicker option in fantasy drafts.”
Has Hillman Taken The No. 2 RB Role?
Ronnie Hillman was the second running back up in the Broncos’ second preseason game against the Texans and he looked good on limited touches. Hillman’s skill set fits the new blocking scheme well, but has there been a change of guard with the Broncos’ 1B running back?
“It looks like that,” Mason said. “Hillman frankly looks to be the most explosive of all the Broncos backs. He has taken the one-cut-and-go mantra to heart. He’s especially explosive to the outside. That being said, Kubiak did mention that they want to get Montee Ball more opportunities this week. I don’t think the competition is done at this point, but with Hillman’s speed, he brings an element that no one in that backfield has.”
In 2014, Ball created more Yco/Att – yards after contact per attempt – and forced more tackles per touch than Hillman, but Kubiak’s blocking scheme is more suited for a runner like Hillman. We’ve seen backs with his skill set before succeed within the system. Justin Forsett’s explosive 2014 campaign is an excellent example. At this point, if you’re looking to handcuff Anderson, Hillman is the guy to go with.
Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy and he covers the NFC East beat for FOX Sports. You can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.