Denver Broncos (9-7; 3rd in AFC West)
Trevor Siemian – We always considered it strange that Siemian was actually drafted in 2015, considering he threw just 7 TD to 11 INT as a senior at Northwestern, and finished his college career with 27 TD and 24 INT. We were even more surprised when he was given a legitimate shot to compete with Paxton Lynch and Mark Sanchez for the Broncos’ starting QB job in 2016… and he won. Lynch was relegated to backup duty, and Sanchez was cut. In 14 games, missing one game each with a left shoulder injury and a foot injury, Siemian posted 289/486 passing for 3401 yards (59.5%, 7.0 YPA) with 18 TD and 10 INT. He added 28/57 rushing to rank 26th among QBs with 17.7 FPG. Siemian was solid, but little more – he finished three times as a top-10 QB, including the #1 overall QB against the Bengals in Week 3, but was typically not worth considering for fantasy. Siemian had three games of 300 or more passing yards, and in those games he threw 8 TD and 0 INT. Otherwise, he was mediocre. Coach Gary Kubiak did a phenomenal job disguising Siemian’s arm strength limitations behind a shaky offensive line, and ultimately the coaching staff felt he was a better bet to make good decisions than was the rookie Lynch. Ultimately, though, Siemian still had some “rookie” QB struggles – after all, he had never started a game in the NFL prior to 2016, and they were to be expected. And with his overall underwhelming skill set, we wonder if we’ve seen the “peak” of Siemian. Under a new coaching staff, the Bronco QB competition will be wide open. Lynch didn’t appear ready at all, but we wonder exactly what Siemian’s upside is in a new offense (under OC Mike McCoy).
Paxton Lynch – Though he was a 2016 first-round pick, it wasn’t surprising to us at all that the Broncos determined Lynch needed to sit and learn as a rookie. We said as much in our rookie reports, and the Lynch we did see didn’t dispel any of those thoughts. In three games (two starts, when Trevor Siemian was injured), Lynch went 49/83 for 497 yards (59%, 6.0 YPA) with 2 TDs and 1 INT. He added 11/25 rushing. The numbers aren’t so bad, but Lynch looked lost out there, not even coming close to executing Gary Kubiak’s offense the way it was called. In addition to Lynch’s pure rawness as a player, the Broncos now have a new coaching staff following the retirement of Kubiak. New head coach Vance Joseph has said there will be an open competition at QB for the Broncos, and it makes sense. Lynch has all t...