Is Zach Wilson or Bo Nix a better option for Broncos receivers?

Evaluating whether Bo Nix or Zach Wilson will raise the fantasy value of Broncos' receivers
May 23, 2024; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Zach Wilson (4) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2024; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Zach Wilson (4) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Despite having three seasons of subpar quarterback play on his resume, Zach Wilson has reportedly been pushing Bo Nix to be the Broncos' starting quarterback in Week 1. With the fantasy season around the corner, the Week 1 starter in the Mile-High City could have an impact on the outlook of several key players on the team.

Back in April, Denver spent a considerable amount of draft capital on Nix, selecting the Oregon product at 12th overall. Nix was the sixth quarterback selected on day one behind Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, JJ McCarthy and Michael Penix Jr. However, multiple reports have claimed that Nix is in a heated preseason competition for the starting role with Wilson.

"[Denver] is trying to regain [Zach Wilson's] confidence again," Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported. "I'm told he's in a positive state of mind."

Fowler also confirmed that Wilson is "in the mix" to be the starting quarterback on Week 1, suggesting neither him nor Nix has a firm grasp on the role.

Zach Wilson's 2023 production

Wilson was not expected to be the starting quarterback in 2023 but was thrown back into the fire after Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles after attempting just one pass. Through 12 games, Wilson threw for 2,271 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions while adding 211 rushing yards and no scores on the ground.

Per FantasyPros, his middling production led to a 29th-place finish in fantasy football in a year full of injuries and inconsistencies at the position. Of the 12 games he appeared in, Wilson put up double-digit points just six times.

Wilson's top target on the year, Garrett Wilson, ended the season as the 36th-best wide receiver in standard leagues and 26th in full PPR formats. Appearing in every game, Garrett Wilson managed to haul in 95 catches for 1,042 yards and three touchdowns.

According to CBS Sports, 22.6 percent of passes thrown to Garrett Wilson were considered uncatchable. Zach Wilson was responsible for most of them but Trevor Siemian and Tim Boyle also saw time under center for New York in 2023.

Regardless, Zach Wilson has never had a receiver finish in the top 20 of any format. It can also be argued that Garrett Wilson is better than any receiver currently on the Denver roster.

Bo Nix's 2024 outlook

Nix does not have any previous relevant experience to reflect on but at 24 years old, he is expected to make an immediate impact in the NFL. In his fifth year of college football, Nix recorded 4,508 passing yards, 45 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

On, Nix was given a prospect grade of 6.39, described as "will eventually be a plus starter." Engaging in a neck-and-neck battle with Wilson is not encouraging, but early lumps are always expected for a rookie quarterback.

Even for college, Nix's 2023 numbers stand out on paper, averaging 322 yards per game. His film passes the eye test for most, a sight for sore eyes amongst the Broncos receivers who have become accustomed to subpar quarterback play. In time, Nix will develop into a quality NFL starter.

The question for Nix is if he can contribute off the bat. Denver is not expected to have a consistent offensive line and at Oregon, Nix periodically struggled with pressure. He is capable of making plays with his legs but may be best suited to begin the year from the sidelines.

Final verdict

As the rookie, Nix will be the quarterback Broncos fans want to see in Week 1. Wilson does not give fans the same level of hope that they have been deprived of. However, for the sake of his long-term outlook, that may not be the case.

With Wilson under center, the Broncos receivers will undoubtedly take a hit. Nix is the more aggressive thrower and through three years, Wilson has compiled just 23 total passing touchdowns. Until the rookie can get his feet beneath him, expect a downgrade for all of the Denver skill position players in fantasy.