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Mile High Morning: Drew Lock, Noah Fant selected as second-year fantasy football breakout candidates

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The Lead

Two Broncos are emerging on the national radar as they prepare for their sophomore seasons in the NFL: Drew Lock and Noah Fant.

ESPN's Field Yates picked Lock as one of two quarterbacks on his list of second-year players likely to become breakout fantasy stars in 2020; Fant was also picked as one of two tight ends.

Following his 4-1 stretch to cap the 2019 season, Lock has become a hot name this offseason — especially as President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway moved to surround him with talent in free agency and the draft.

"What is easy to see is that the supporting cast around him looks awesome," Yates wrote. "Courtland Sutton is a rising star, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler (the team's top two rookies) bring explosive skills, and TE Noah Fant should make a leap[.] … The case for Lock is rooted both in the enticing supporting cast he has around him and that we project him to improve."

Fant also is expected to benefit from that influx of talent and projected improvement from Lock. With more explosive weapons at wide receiver, Fant could see more opportunities if he's left with one-on-one matchups. With Fant's athleticism, that is a tantalizing concept.

"Fant is another buzzworthy name in the fantasy community this offseason, as he oozes potential based on his athletic upside alone," Yates wrote. "The skill pieces are in place for Denver to be a really fun offense this season, with Fant as an integral piece at a position in fantasy where more stars are needed.

Below the Fold

As our own Aric DiLalla wrote in his camp preview series, the Broncos will be counting on A.J. Bouye to return to his 2017 season form in his first year in Denver. The good news is that NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund's projects exactly that: "My model forecasts Bouye's production to look a lot more like his 2017 and 2018 output due, in part, to the net effect of playing in a better defense that features perennial Pro Bowler Von Miller and franchise-tag recipient Justin Simmons."

Broncos legend and Hall of Famer Terrell Davis has high hopes for the team's new rushing tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon III. In an interview with CBS Denver's Michael Spencer, Davis said, "You have two guys who are different style of runners, and that's always a plus. I think their play will be dictated probably based off of a game plan."

The Unclassifieds

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