The Denver Broncos brought in former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to replace Mike Shanahan as their new coach, a decision that should increase the fantasy value of the Broncos’ top offensive players — none more than Brandon Marshall.
McDaniels, 32, was at the helm of the most productive offense in NFL history in 2007. That season, Tom Brady threw for over 4,800 yards with 52 touchdowns, Randy Moss cracked the record for touchdown catches in a season (23), and Wes Welker broke out with 112 catches, close to 1,200 yards and eight scores of his own.
An aggressive play caller, McDaniels was also integral in the development of Matt Cassel this season. Despite not starting a game since high school, Cassel came on in the absence of the injured Brady and threw for close to 3,700 yards and scored 23 touchdowns (two rushing).
With McDaniels at the helm, Jay Cutler should continue to develop into a top-notch fantasy quarterback. Marshall, who should fill Moss’ role in the offense, should see more chances downfield and surpass the six touchdowns he scored in 2008. That makes him a more attractive No. 1 fantasy wideout. The move is also a positive for Eddie Royal, who hauled in 91 passes in his rookie season.
History would suggest the Broncos continue using a backfield committee next season, much like the Patriots have the last two seasons with the combinations of Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and LaMont Jordan.
That sort of scenario hurts the value of Ryan Torain, who would seem to have the most fantasy upside of the current backs. Of course with his proneness to injuries, not to mention a return from reconstructive knee surgery, Torain is no safe bet for fantasy leaguers either.
Overall, the Broncos should score a ton of points with McDaniels running the offensive show, both on the field and in fantasy land.