A lot of times a wide receiver’s production is connected to the quarterback that shares the huddle with him. Demaryius Thomas, the Denver Broncos top receiver, had the privilege to play some of his career with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning.
Making a Case for Demaryius Thomas
With Manning’s guidance, brain, and arm, Thomas took the league by storm. With Manning as his quarterback, Thomas averaged 1,446 yards and over 10 touchdowns a season. However, Manning eventually retired in 2015 after beating the Panthers in the super bowl and Thomas hasn’t put up the same numbers since.
Stats have dipped for Thomas in the two years since Manning departed. He has put up around 1000 yards and scored two touchdowns each of the past two seasons. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they’re not what the now 30-year-old wideout is used to.
However, those numbers could and frankly should be blamed on horrible quarterback play the past two seasons. Most of those numbers came with Trevor Siemian throwing him the ball, who is no longer a starting quarterback.
A Change for the Better
This offseason the Broncos went out and signed former Vikings starting quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum had a career year last season, completing 67 percent of his passes for over 3500 yards while tossing 22 touchdowns to only seven interceptions.
Obviously, Keenum isn’t Peyton Manning, but he is a significant enough of an upgrade for Thomas to return to his pro bowl form. Keenum did wonders last season working with Vikings receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen and this season should be no different working with Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Expectations for 2018
So what can fantasy football players expect from Thomas this season? Well, last season Thielen put up 91 receptions for 1276 yards and 4 touchdowns. That is the type of production you can expect out of Thomas. Thomas will probably score more touchdowns than Thielen did last season since Denver doesn’t feature a tight end in its offense like Minnesota does. Thomas could top both Theilen and Diggs numbers from last season.
For a receiver with that type of production, fantasy players should be targeting Thomas at the beginning of the fourth round of their drafts. Thomas is only 30 years old, has killer speed and is still extremely talented. He now has a quarterback that can get him the ball and another receiver across the formation to keep some of the attention away from him.
Last Word on Demaryius Thomas
While some analysts don’t love Thomas this season, he has a lot of upside with little downside. His floor is what he put up last season with Trevor Siemian while his upside could be 100 receptions and 1400 yards. Owners aren’t taking on a lot of risk by drafting him in the fourth round of their drafts.
There also isn’t any injury risk with Thomas. He hasn’t missed a single game since 2012 and despite getting older, fantasy owners can count on him being there for all 16 games.
Fantasy players won’t regret taking him in the fourth round of their drafts. He should return to his pro bowl form in 2018.
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