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Who is the Broncos starting running back for fantasy football in 2023?

We take a look at the running back situation for the Denver Broncos in 2023 as you prepare for fantasy football drafts.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last year was supposed to be a breakout year for Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams. After a promising rookie season in 2021, the expectation was that Williams would gain an edge in Denver’s backfield alongside Melvin Gordon and run away with it. Instead, Williams tore his ACL early in the season, just one more thing on a long list of missed expectations for the Broncos in 2022.

But this year, the Broncos are betting on Williams to return to form, and if he does, he could be a solid bounce back candidate on a team that’s made a big bet they’re a much better squad than the one we saw on the field last year.

Broncos starting running back: Javonte Williams

Williams saw action in just four games before going down last year, finishing with 204 yards on 47 carries and another 76 receiving yards on 16 receptions. The year before that he and Gordon each had 203 rushing attempts, and Williams had 903 yards and four touchdowns to show for it. He also had 43 receptions for 316 yards and three touchdowns, giving him an edge over Gordon in total touches.

Williams avoided the PUP list to start training camp and is expected to get some snaps in preseason games. Sean Payton, the Broncos’ new head coach, was optimistic during the offseason that Williams would be ready, and it seems like he is.

Who is Javonte William’s backup on the Broncos RB depth chart?

With both Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray gone, the Broncos added veteran Samaje Perine in the offseason. He’s second on the depth chart behind a healthy Williams, but if Williams has any setbacks with his knee, Perine would be in line for a heavy workload.

Even if Williams remains 100% healthy, Payton has a history of using a pair of running backs in his offenses, so you can still expect Perine to see action as part of a committee.

Perine spent the last four seasons backing up Joe Mixon with the Cincinnati Bengals. He saw 95 carries last season—his highest total since his rookie year with Washington—rolling up 394 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also caught 38 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns. He’s in line for a bigger workload this season, making him someone fantasy football managers will want to keep an eye on in their drafts.