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Some thoughts on Broncos and ESPN's Fantasy Football rankings

ESPN's fantasy football analysts -- Matthew Berry, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Christopher Harris and Eric Karabell -- have put together their initial rankings for the 2015 season.

And it's clear they like the Denver Broncos' potential on offense -- after all the team has scored 1,088 points in the last two seasons combined, a 34.0 points per game average. But it's also clear the group has some questions about what Gary Kubiak's arrival means for the offense and the fact quarterback Peyton Manning is another year older, coming off a stretch run in '14 when he was clearly bothered by a leg injury.

But, if you have dug through the rankings yet, there are some items of note.

Manning No. 4 QB

At 39, Manning checks in at No. 4 among the quarterbacks, No. 39 player overall. He's behind Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. From a fantasy football perspective, Kubiak's promise to run the ball more, has impacted Manning's standing even as he finished No. 1 in touchdown passes in 2013 and No. 2 last season.

He could well be more efficient in an offense that protects him better, cocooned in a better run game. Kubiak is adapting his playbook -- that he's used for his career as an offensive play-caller -- to Manning, a quarterback who hasn't played in the kind of West Coast offense Kubiak has run through the years.

However, Kubiak is a shrewd offensive mind and will adjust, but until people see what he has in store for Manning, some wonder what it will all look like. In his time on Mike Shanahan's staff as Broncos offensive coordinator between 1995 and 2005, the Broncos attempted 550 or more passes in a season four times just before the passing numbers exploded league wide.

In his tenure in Houston (2006-2013) Kubiak's Texans attempted at least 550 passes five times, including 633 in the 2-14 finish in '13.

RB C.J. Anderson No. 7 RB

This will be one to keep an eye on during training camp. Kubiak has said Anderson is the starter and should act like it.

Anderson's vision and one-cut ability is a quality fit in the offense, brimming with production potential. But two things will determine if Anderson remains at the front of the line in fantasy -- his conditioning and Montee Ball's efforts to carve out some carries.

Former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, now with the Chicago Bears, said earlier this month he felt the need to rotate Anderson at times in games last season because Anderson's conditioning wasn't where it should be.

If Anderson shows in training camp he's ready for the work he'll get it, but Ball, No. 46 RB in the rankings, has promised to regain a starting job that was once his, so how the carries get divvied up in the preseason will still bear watching.

Ball's confidence took a hit before his season was ended with a groin injury in '14. He became tentative when the Broncos didn't often carve out much room up front -- the team's backs were hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on a third of the carries last season.

The Broncos wants to see him regain his decisiveness.

Two WRs in top 13

Demaryius Thomas is No. 2 among the wide receivers in the rankings, Emmanuel Sanders is No. 13 and Cody Latimer, who will likely be the team's No. 3 wide receiver, is No. 47 in the rankings.

Two big questions here. The first is what will missing much of the team's offseason work awaiting a new contract mean for Thomas. He has Manning's trust and is the unquestioned Alpha player at the position for the Broncos, but it's a new offense, with a new way of doing things.

Thomas is smart and a quick study, but will have to learn quickly once he does arrive -- he said earlier this year he intended to come into training camp even if it meant he would play under the terms of the franchise player tender. Sanders is the No. 2 wideout in the offense and will line up outside and in the slot.

The Broncos want Latimer in the lineup and believe he could be a match-up player in the scoring zone. The plan is when they go three-wide, Latimer and Thomas would be in the outside spots, with Sanders in the slot.

The question for defenses will be whether or not to put the third corner into the slot on Sanders or to move a starter inside and leave Latimer on a No. 3 corner.

More TE action

Overall, the tight ends will be a bigger part of things with the two-tight end look expected, at least for the moment, to be the base formation. Owen Daniels is the No. 15 tight end and he figures to reel in some catches that would have gone to the team's wide receivers, but the touchdowns figure to go to the wide receivers.

Virgil Green is at No. 32 among the tight ends, but Daniels and Green figure to get additional snaps since rookie Jeff Heuerman, who the Broncos were already planning to get a significant amount of playing time, with now miss the season with a torn ACL.

Defense worth a look

The Broncos' defense and special teams units are No. 6 in the rankings. And defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has promised to turn loose the pass-rushers and the Broncos can put a mix-and-match unit on rush downs that includes Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and rookie Shane Ray, so sacks and turnovers figure to be up over last season.

Miller is also in a contract year and poised to put up the numbers.