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NEWS: Wes Welker 4-game suspension begins Week 1

According to numerous reports, Broncos WR Wes Welker’s four-game suspension will begin in Week 1. Immediately after news broke that Broncos WR Wes Welker was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, much buzz hit news wires all around suggesting that the suspension wouldn’t begin until Week 2.

SMITTY: After a couple hours of buzz floating around news wires suggesting that Wes Welker’s four-game suspension might not kickstart until Week 2, it’s been clarified by many sources that Welker’s suspension will be effective as of Week 1. Again, this is a big blow to Wes Welker’s fantasy value, but it increases the value of all four of Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer (and even Montee Ball). Sanders, who already had upside for fantasy WR2-type numbers this upcoming season, but at the cost of a fantasy WR3, is the receiver that will likely see the biggest uptick in targets with this news. Peyton Manning and that offense won’t likely miss a beat in Weeks 1-4, as Latimer will fill in for Welker just fine, as Welker was already dipping below the 900-yard mark in terms of receiving, and he had all kinds of concussion concerns moving forward. Expect Welker to return to his WR3 role with the team upon his four-game suspension. Looking for how this impacts our Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Wes Welker suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

According to numerous reports, Broncos WR Wes Welker has been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Smitty: UPDATE – The Denver Post’s Mike Klis is currently reporting that the Broncos believe that Wes Welker will play Week 1 against the Colts. We will keep you posted on this, but it’s possible the announcement is too late in the week to affect Week 1. Stay tuned.

SMITTY: Wow. This is quite a blow to Wes Welker’s fantasy value, and it increases the value of all four of Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer. Even Montee Ball sees more receptions with this news. Probably the player that gets the biggest target increase is Sanders, who already had upside for fantasy WR2-type numbers this year at the cost of a fantasy WR3. Now it just feels like more of a lock. As for Peyton Manning and that offense, it won’t miss a beat. Latimer will fill in for Welker just fine, as Welker was already dipping below the 900-yard mark in terms of receiving, and he had all kinds of concussion concerns moving forward. Expect Welker to return to his WR3 role with the team upon his four-game suspension, though, but Latimer (even Caldwell) now gets a nice little window to showcase his talents. Looking for how this impacts our Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Wes Welker (concussion) cleared to travel with Broncos for preseason finale.

According to reports, Broncos WR Wes Welker has been cleared to travel with the team during the final preseason contest.

SMITTY: While anything can happen at any stage of the league’s concussion protocol, Wes Welker is zipping through that protocol and is already running; he has well over a week before the season opener, so it’s pretty safe to say that Welker will be in the line-up and an excellent fantasy WR3 in Week 1. Even if Welker is healthy all year long, Emmanuel Sanders is ready to take on the WR2 role in Denver in 2014, and it’s not crazy to imagine the receiver pulling in top 15-20 fantasy wide receiver numbers in Denver. For those thinking Peyton Manning cannot come close to replicating last year’s numbers, it’s unwise betting against Manning. Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker… that’s quite an arsenal. Do I expect another 55TDs? No, but 40 is a safe bet and 45 is likely… Manning is one of the safest players to build your fantasy team round entering 2014. Looking for Full-Season 2014 Fantasy Football Projections?

RADIO: Listen Russ Bliss and Smitty Talk Zac Stacy, Andre Ellington, Montee Ball and more.

Take a listen to Russ Bliss’ third radio show of the 2014 fantasy football season! Russ has been doing fantasy radio for over 20 years with his famous “The Red Zone” program, which airs on NBCSports Radio (1060am). Smitty is slotted to join Russ almost every Tuesday night, and below is the third show of the year. Take a listen!

The Red Zone With Russ Bliss

Date: 8/26/14

Guest: Smitty,

Topics: Tim Wright, Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill, Zac Stacy, Andre Ellington, Montee Ball, Tony Romo, Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, Demaryius Thomas, AJ Green, Calvin Johnson, Eddie Lacy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Giovani Bernard, Marshawn Lynch, Dez Bryant, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and more

Listen Now!

NEWS: Wes Welker (concussion) could be ready for Week 1?

According to reports, Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) is expected to play Week 1 against the Colts.

SMITTY: There is still a lot of guess-work at this point, but we expect him to play Week 1. We will let you know if Wes Welker suffers any setbacks. Welker’s healthy won’t affect Peyton Manning at all in 2014, as Emmanuel Sanders is set to take on the WR2 action in Denver this upcoming year. Throw in the fact that Demaryius Thomas is a 100-reception receiver capable for pulling in 1,400 yards and 12-14TDs, and that Julius Thomas is 1,000-yard, 10TD capable himself, the numbers are going to be there for Peyton Manning in 2014. Sanders might pull in 1,000 yards and 10TDs this year, he is looking like a big-time breakout, but one that people clearly see coming… his ADP is climbing fast! Looking for Full-Season 2014 Fantasy Football Projections?

NEWS: Emmanuel Sanders goes for 128 and 2TDs; Wes Welker suffers a concussion.

Broncos QB Peyton Manning completed 21-of-27 passes for 243 yards with 2TDs and 1INT during Saturday’s preseason game against the Texans; Montee Ball (appendectomy) rushed four times for 13 yards and caught four passes for 21 yards, Emmanuel Sanders pulled in five passes for 128 yards and 2TDs, Julius Thomas pulled in 32 yards on four receptions and Wes Welker suffered a concussion after pulling in four receptions for 42 yards.

SMITTY: Folks, we might just see fantasy WR2-type numbers out of Emmanuel Sanders this year, he is in that kind of position in Denver under Peyton Manning’s command (who should throw 40TDs with ease in 2014 if healthy). Now, don’t get crazy and draft him near fantasy WR2-type value, that’s just bad fantasy drafting, as it leaves no room for disappointment. But, if you can land Sanders as your fantasy WR3, you should be a happy camper in 2014! As we reported earlier, Montee Ball looked fully trusted by that Denver coaching staff, which is key to him having a monster 2014 fantasy football season. We will keep you updated on Wes Welker; hopefully he is back for in time for Week 1. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings on all these guys?

NEWS: Montee Ball starts and touches ball five times in a row on first five plays.

In the Broncos preseason contest against the Texans, Montee Ball started and touches the ball five times in a row on the team’s first five plays of the game.

SMITTY: Not only does Montee Ball look healthy, he is clearly going to be the focal point of that Denver rushing attack, and screen game out of the backfield. While I still expect Peyton Manning to throw for 40+ touchdowns in 2014, the team is going to use Ball a ton, and if healthy, he could very well consistently dance with the top 1-5RBs all season long in 2014. Looking for Peyton Manning and Montee Ball Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Montee Ball recovering at home; Peyton Manning looks as sharp as ever?

According to rotoworld, Broncos RB Montee Ball (appendectomy) has been released from the hospital and is now at home recovering. And, according to ESPN, Peyton Manning has never looked sharper than he has in camp.

SMITTY: Clearly there is some risk with Montee Ball heading into Week 1, but honestly, I’m not too worried. Risk is always a part of the game, and while avoiding risk is always a smart play, the appendectomy isn’t something that worries me as far as Week 1 is concerned. Missing first-team reps and getting a touch out of shape, that’s what concerns me, but not enough to drop Ball outside of my top 12 overall (and that’s where I’d draft him, I actually rank him inside my top 5-10RBs for 2014). As for Peyton Manning, while many will knock the idea of selecting him in the first-round in 2014 fantasy football drafts, I have no issues with such a selection. He can win a league tossing for 45-50 scores. He may not repeat last year’s numbers, where he dropped an insane line of 5,477 yards, 55TDs and 10INTs, but I wouldn’t bet against him. He could easily drop 4,500-5,000 yards and 45-50TDs. There are a lot of great quarterbacks to draft in 2014, like 6th-round value grabs Tom Brady and Nick Foles (my favorite way to go) — still, there is nothing wrong with Manning in the first if you’re good at finding sleeper runners and receivers. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Cody Latimer had excellent first week of practice; has best play of camp so far.

According to DenverBroncos.com’s David DeChant, Broncos WR Cody Latimer had an “excellent first week of practice” and had arguably the “best play of camp thus far”.

SMITTY: Cody Latimer has a lot of talent, but some things would need to happen for him to get consistent looks early on in 2014. Demaryius Thomas is automatically going to pull in 90/1300+/10-14TDS, and all three of Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are going to be 1,000-yard capable, and even 7+TD capable (with 1-2 of them getting closer to 10TDs). We’re not done… Montee Ball is set to be next in line for receptions/targets out of all pass-catchers, as Knowshon Moreno pulled in 60/548/3TDs last year as the team’s starting rusher… Ball is a much more gifted player, so there just isn’t much room at all for Latimer as it stands now. That said, if an injury strikes that group of receivers in Denver in 2014, don’t be shocked if Latimer becomes a very sneaky fantasy WR3 per start. Looking for Peyton Manning/Broncos Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Cody Latimer shaping up to be a sleeper?

According to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, Broncos WR Cody Latimer “offer glimpses of how adept he is at winning the ball in contested situations.”

SMITTY: Cody Latimer definitely has talent, and that makes him a fine dynasty prospect, but opportunities will be a bit inconsistent for the rookie in 2014. Demaryius Thomas will likely pull in 90-95 balls this upcoming year, Wes Welker will likely snag 70-80, Julius Thomas is sure to haul in 60-plus, which leaves Emmanuel Sanders with a shot at 60 or so… so it’s tough imagining a scenario, that didn’t involved injury, where Latimer was handed anything close to consistent in the targets department. Even Montee Ball could pull in 50-60 receptions in 2014 (Moreno pulled in 60 last year), so Latimer is arguably the 6th-best receiving option on the team as it stand right now. Again, injury, or disappointing play (let’s say Sanders falters), could change things quickly. All these numbers I’m tossing around sure have me rethinking how far I’m going to let Peyton Manning slip in my upcoming August drafts. Ready for your draft? Run our Draft Analyzer:
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