Last season, the Denver Broncos defense/special teams finished third in standard ESPN leagues. This can be largely credited to eight touchdowns as well as a league leading 52 sacks. Many figured the Broncos to be right in the mix again as a top-five Fantasy defense in 2013. However, they will have some obstacles to overcome.
Those 52 sacks that I briefly touched on will take a major hit with the loss of Elvis Dumervil via free agency and the suspension of pass rushing beast Von Miller (18.5 sacks last year). Miller will be out for the first six games for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. When he returns they will instantly climb up the leaderboard in sacks, but it remains to be seen how they will survive the first six weeks. They also lost longtime middle linebacker D.J. Williams, which will cause a bit of a blow to the team’s ability to stop the run.
But not all is bad for the Broncos; they signed Terrance Knighton to clog up the middle and they shored up their secondary by signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to partner up with Champ Bailey. To make up for the lack of sacks, the Broncos are hoping DRC will help boost that 16-interception total from last season.
On the special teams side of the ball, the Broncos have one of the most electric return men in the game in Trindon Holliday. He had a kickoff return and punt return for a touchdown in just 10 games with the Broncos last year.
Even without Miller for the first six games, the Broncos face the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars in two of these games. I think this will be enough to keep them near the top 10 with the help of Holliday on returns. When Miller comes back, there is no reason to think the Broncos won’t finish as a top-five defense again in 2013.