Fantasy Football Fallout: Jerry Jeudy injury, Broncos offense

Jerry Jeudy's injury could spell disaster for Denver, but it shouldn't deter you from drafting him. Here's how to navigate the wide receiver's injury in your fantasy draft.
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

After a wholly forgettable 2022 season, the Denver Broncos made the big move they they needed to and changed head coaches. Out went Nathaniel Hackett and in came Sean Payton. The Super Bowl-winning coach and longtime New Orleans Saints leader has been tapped to return both the team as a whole, and quarterback Russell Wilson, to their previous glory.

This is no problem for Payton, as the 59-year old has been the most coveted coach in the league since he left New Orleans after the 2021 season; an offensive guru proven capable of winning it all. One thing Payton has no control over is the injury bug. It makes its way around to most teams at some point in the season, and it is up to the coaching staff to lead the team through those tough times. With the season nearly a week away, the Broncos have already caught the bug.

Fourth-year receiver Jerry Jeudy will get off to a late start as he heals from a hamstring injury suffered last week in practice. The former first-round pick pulled up lame running a pattern at Broncos practice and had to be carted off the field. Jeudy is expected to miss several weeks, so he is just about guaranteed to miss the Broncos' season-opener against the Raiders, and could be out the whole month of September. The injury leaves Denver thin at wide receiver as they've already lost the likes of K.J. Hamler, Tim Patrick and Jalen Virgil during the pre-season.

Unlike fantasy owners, Payton is restricted to filling Jeudy's spot with only guys on the Broncos roster, and players that are free agents. Courtland Sutton returns for his sixth season in Denver and has been a reliable receiver amidst several changes at the quarterback position since his rookie season in 2018 . After Sutton, Payton is going to have to coach up the rest of his wide receiving corps to keep the offense afloat.

It is very likely Payton will turn to rookie second-round pick Marvin Mims Jr. The former Oklahoma standout looked good in the preseason finale versus the Rams catching a 50-yard ball from Jared Stidham, shook off a vicious facemask from Rams cornerback Tre Tomlinson, and even had a nice punt return. After Mims, the options at wide receiver aren't as appealing.

Marquez Calloway has some experience with Sean Payton from his first two seasons in the NFL on the Saints. In his second season, Payton's last with New Orleans, Calloway saw action in all 17 regular season games, catching 46 passes for 698 yards and six touchdowns on 84 targets, so there is something to build on there. After Calloway, Denver's best options to catch passes are at the tight end position. Greg Dulcich will look to build on a nice rookie season where he caught 33 balls for 411 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games last season.

Also at the tight end position is another Saints transplant: Adam Trautman. Trautman was traded to Denver from New Orleans on the last day of the 2023 NFL Draft, along with a seventh-round pick, for a sixth-round pick. Trautman played under Payton his first two seasons with the Saints, where he was a bit of a role player in the offense - a theme that continued last season when he caught eighteen balls for 207 yards and a touchdown. Trautman's most productive season in New Orleans came in Payton's last when he hauled in 27 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos should be active in snatching up a few receivers who get cut from other teams this week to add much-needed depth at the position.

Jeudy is no Justin Jefferson, so his injury will not impact your first round of the draft. In fact, even without the injury, Jeudy was roughly a fourth-tier fantasy wide receiver. He is a good player who has not blossomed in the NFL the way many thought he would have by now. Is that more a Russell Wilson and Denver QB issue, or a product of Jeudy's true ability at the position? This season should definitively answer that question.

As it relates to fantasy the injury has not damaged Jeudy's draft stock all that much. At worst, the ex-Alabama pass catcher has moved down one tier amongst fantasy receivers. He has fallen from the mid-20s down to the high-20s/low 30s which translates, in most formats, to going from a late fifth-round pick to a value grab in the seventh round.

If you were really eyeing a Jerry Jeudy grab in the fifth or sixth round and scrambling for a new game plan, you are in good shape. By this time in the draft wide receiver studs like Jefferson (WR1), Ja'Marr Chase (WR2) and Stefon Diggs (WR5) will already have their fantasy owners dreaming of the winner's circle. In the fifth round, it is likely too late for the likes of Tee Higgins (WR13) , Chris Olave (WR14) and Deebo Samuel (WR16). Guys like Diontae Johnson (WR24), Calvin Ridley (WR17,) and even a talent like DeAndre Hopkins (WR20), should be there for you in the middle rounds.

You also may be able to take advantage of owners who slept on guys like Keenan Allen (WR18) or DK Metcalf (WR12). If not, players like an Amari Cooper (WR19) or a Christian Watson (WR21) could emerge as options. If this late scenario is what you find yourself in and you are in a snake draft still strongly eyeing Jeudy, then you could grab the best WR available in the late fifth round, then grab Jeudy when your turn comes back around a few picks later in the early sixth round.

As for the other Denver wide receivers, Sutton is an obvious grab to play as your WR3 and should be a 10th-round fantasy pick. If the eight or ninth rounds come along and you find yourself short on quality receivers and a bunch have already been taken, then Sutton could be a nice grab there. If not, Mims could be a value add later on.


Payton has a good track record with young receivers, and Mims should provide more pop than Sutton. If Peyton can fix Russell Wilson and get this offense going you could have an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Mims sitting on your roster. Both Dulcich and Trautman are guys worth dart throws at the bottom of the draft or adding to your watch list to see if one emerges as a potential TE1. The Jeudy injury will for sure have the Denver coaches scrambling, but you should be just fine dealing with it in your fantasy football draft.