4 Reasons Devontae Booker Could Soon Emerge

Devontae Booker’s recent body of work suggests he should lead the Broncos running back by committee. As Charles Kleinheksel mentioned in the Week 12 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, he set season highs with 14 rushing attempts and five receptions. Booker accumulated a total of 98 yards on 19 touches, but C.J. Anderson scored a touchdown.

The Broncos fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy after losing its sixth consecutive game. Did you know this was the seventh time the Broncos offense failed to score at least 20 points this season? The offense ranks 18th in total offense and 24th in scoring with 18.3 points per game. The Browns are the only team that’s tossed more interceptions than the Broncos’ 14 picks (combined number from Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler). McCoy will be replaced by Bill Musgrave who was the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 prior to joining the Broncos staff this season as a quarterbacks coach.

Here are four reasons I like Booker to seize control of the Broncos backfield for the rest of the season.

BOOKER AND ANDERSON’S PRODUCTION SINCE THE BYE

Broncos RBBC Screener

Booker has posted a positive rushing and receiving fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) since the Broncos came out of their Week 5 bye. He’s holding his own from an efficiency perspective in a bad offense – especially as a receiver – and outperforming Anderson by a good margin.

Booker has played 36 percent of the offensive snaps since the bye compared to Anderson’s 44 percent. Jamaal Charles continues to be a non-factor playing on 21 percent of the offensive snaps during this time frame.

BRONCOS O-LINE IMPRESSES IN ADJUSTED LINE YARDS

Broncos RBBC Booker Next Gen Stats

The Broncos OL ranks eighth in Adjusted-Line Yards (4.28) according to Football Outsiders and 17th in Open Field Yards. A team with a high ranking in ALY but a low ranking in OFY is often heavily dependent on its OL to make the running game work.1 Imagine the possibilities if new OC Musgrave decides to give Booker a higher number of rushing attempts.

THE BUY LOW MACHINE PAINTS A PROMISING PICTURE

Broncos RBBC Buy LowThe Broncos have a very favorable RB schedule for the rest of the season according to the RotoViz Buy Low Machine. Booker will be in a position to thrive if Musgrave can get adequate QB play from Paxton Lynch. The schedule during the fantasy playoffs from Weeks 14 through 16 really sets up nicely for him with matchups against New York, Indianapolis, and Washington.

GAME LEVEL SIMILARITY PROJECTION FOR WEEK 12

Broncos Booker GLSPThe RotoViz GLSP is one of the many resources available to you in order to make start or sit decisions easier. It is very useful to find players with a surprising range of outcomes. Booker is a great position to finish on the high-end of this projection and is firmly on the flex radar against the Raiders this weekend.

CONCLUSION

I anticipate Musgrave taking several steps to turn the Broncos offense in the right direction. One narrative that has surrounded the team all season has been the complexity of McCoy’s offense. A great coach simplifies the world of his players, and this is what I anticipate Musgrave will do.  This will help Booker and also Lynch. I could see the offense featuring the running game, using the fullback more, and ultimately reducing the number of three wide receiver sets. If Booker is somehow available in your fantasy football league, I highly recommend you pick him up sooner rather than later.

  1. Or it can reflect a situation where the RBs have impressive tackle-breaking ability around the line of scrimmage but lack long speed.  (back)