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Super Deep Sleepers: Denver Broncos

In the coming weeks, the RotoViz team is going to dig deep to uncover the most buried and overlooked sleepers in the fantasy football landscape.

These are the guys that seemingly have no shot at significance, but with a little imagination and a little luck, could pay off in deeper formats.

Next up, two deep sleepers for the Denver Broncos.

Phillip Lindsay

Even in an absolutely loaded 2018 rookie running back class, undrafted free agent Phillip Lindsay is a standout in one area.

No rookie, not Saquon Barkley, not Rashaad Penny, had a better Workhorse Score than Lindsay. A bad Workhorse Score is not a death knell for an RB prospect, but for an undersized and undrafted back like Lindsay, a solid score is crucial for any shot at NFL success.

You can read more about the scores for the 2018 class here, and find every metric for the class here, but the short version is that no one came close to the Colorado Buffalo when it came to Workhorse Score.

Player 2017 Workhorse
Phillip Lindsay 97
Saquon Barkley 92
Ito Smith 91
John Kelly 88
Larry Rose III 83
Rashaad Penny 78
Ronald Jones 76
Kerryon Johnson 74

Lindsay had 324 touches in 12 games in his senior season and logged 53 receptions in his junior year. In all, he gained 3,476 yards from scrimmage in his final two seasons playing in the Pac 10. We’re fond of saying that production is everything, and Lindsay delivered in that department.

He has a number of red flags, namely his age (23.4), size, and lack of combine invite. But the 5-foot-8, 185-pounder will have a chance to make in impact in Denver. He’s already doing so in the early days of training camp.

Afterwards, Marshall said matter of factly that Lindsay is “going to be our third-down back.”

The Broncos have two backs who can catch passes in Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker, but Booker has been the epitome of a middling player so far in his career.

Lindsay was an explosive college player and is already showing some of that juice at the NFL level, albeit early in camp. He should be owned in all but the smallest of dynasty leagues and could have an impact as soon as this season.

Jake Butt

The Broncos best bet to be their top tight end in 2018 is mostly free in MFL10s right now.


A handful of drafters have been biting on the discounted price on the 2017 fifth-round prospect, but he’s mostly an afterthought after losing his rookie season to an ACL injury.

However, with only Jeff Heuerman, Troy Fumagalli, and Austin Traylor on the depth chart, the starting job is there for the taking.

Butt is fully recovered from his injury and has taken part in all offseason activities.

The former Michigan man is a monster. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, and still just 23-years old, many had projected Butt to go as early as the second round in the 2017 draft. The he tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl and dropped to the Broncos in the fifth.

He was a solid producer in four years as a Wolverine.

Year G Rec Yds Avg TD
2013 9 20 235 11.8 2
2014 9 21 211 10 2
2015 13 51 654 12.8 3
2016 12 46 546 11.9 4

That he was able to play as an 18-year old is encouraging, as are his career market share numbers, which stack up well with a number of top TEs not named Rob Gronkowski. Butt had better market share numbers than did Greg Olsen at the same age, and he was more dominant as a 21-year old then Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen.

 Player Age 18 Season Age 19 Season Age 20 Season Age 21 Season Age 22 Season
Rob Gronkowski 0.18 0.41 N/A N/A N/A
Tyler Eifert N/A N/A 0.1 0.22 0.21
Travis Kelce N/A 0.01 N/A 0.14 0.28
Greg Olsen N/A 0.1 0.19 0.14 N/A
Martellus Bennett 0.13 0.22 0.32 N/A N/A
Jimmy Graham N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.13
Jake Butt 0.08 0.11 0.2 .21 N/A

Unfortunately, Butt was injured for the combine, which means we weren’t able to plug him into our 2017 TE model.

The Broncos haven’t had a threat at TE since Julius Thomas. I wouldn’t recommend drafting Butt in MFL10 leagues, but in TE premium and deeper leagues, he’s worth a flier as a guy who is the favorite to win a starting job out of camp.

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