No Marshall, no problem for Orton

Posted Sept. 27, 2010 @ 3:40 p.m.
Posted By Michael Blunda

Broncos QB Kyle Orton was supposed to fail without elite WR Brandon Marshall around this season. So far, he doesn't seem to be too affected by his top wideout's departure.

All Orton did on Sunday vs. the Colts was chuck the ball 57 times for an absurd 476 yards, one TD and one interception. Through three weeks, he ranks second in the NFL in passing yardage (1,078) and third in attempts (125) while completing 66.4 percent of his passes with a 97.4 passer rating.

Yes, this is the same Orton who was known as a game manager with the Bears and doesn't have a true No. 1 receiver on his roster. But he has developed into a prolific passer in head coach Josh McDaniels' scheme, and he has found new guys to throw to. Jabar Gaffney stepped up with 12-140-0 on Sunday, and Brandon Lloyd stunningly ranks No. 2 in the league in receiving yards (339) while gaining 24.2 yards per catch. Add in emerging rookie Demaryius Thomas and steady slot option Eddie Royal, and Orton suddenly has a decent crop of targets at his disposal.

Given the Broncos' lackluster rushing attack, Orton is going to be asked to throw a ton this season, so it's possible that he could continue producing at this rate and be one of the fantasy shocks of the year. At the very least, he deserves to be owned in all leagues and considered a starter in quite a few of them.