WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
HT: 6-3, WT: 224, Born: 12-25-1987, College: Georgia Tech, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 0
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: P Manning (7), J Graham (8), Demaryius Thomas (9), M Lynch (10), D Bryant (11)
Position: C Johnson (5-WR1), Demaryius Thomas (9 - WR2), D Bryant (11-WR3), A Green (12-WR4)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: C Johnson (5), E Lacy (6), Demaryius Thomas (7), J Graham (8), D Bryant (9)
Position: C Johnson (5-WR1), Demaryius Thomas (7 - WR2), D Bryant (9-WR3), A Green (11-WR4)
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At wide receiver in the NFL, there’s Calvin Johnson and there’s everybody else. However, near the top of the “everybody else” category resides Demaryius Thomas. He’s worked diligently to become one of the best in the game, and his hard work has payed off with big-time production. Last year Thomas caught a career-best 14 touchdowns. This helped him secure the 2nd-best fantasy wide receiver title in 2013. Thomas has had similar numbers in both receptions (94 in 2012, 92 in 2013) and receiving yards (1,442 in 2012, 1,430 in 2013) over the last two years. This type of consistency is invaluable for fantasy owners. On a weekly basis Thomas can be relied on as well. In 2013 there were only four weeks where Thomas didn’t score 9.4 or more fantasy points. Getting a starter with tremendous upside to get you around double-digit points each week is incredible. He’s got one of the best size/speed combinations in the league. Thomas is too big for most cornerbacks to handle, and this makes him a real threat in the red zone. He’s also fast and agile. Thomas can take the top off the defense with his speed, but he also has the moves to be dangerous on wide receiver screen passes after the catch. Thomas is the favorite receiver for Peyton Manning in the league’s most dangerous offense. Let that soak in when you’re considering other top receivers like Dez Bryant, Julio Jones or A.J. Green in the early portions of your fantasy draft. Thomas is consistent and should finish this year as a top-5 fantasy wide receiver.
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|2||Kansas City Chiefs|
|3||at Seattle Seahawks|
|6||at New York Jets|
|7||San Francisco 49ers|
|8||San Diego Chargers|
|9||at New England Patriots|
|10||at Oakland Raiders|
|11||at St. Louis Rams|
|13||at Kansas City Chiefs|
|15||at San Diego Chargers|
|16||at Cincinnati Bengals|
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Despite the impressive final stat line, Demaryius Thomas had an up and down game. His connection with Manning was shaky in the first half, as several passes- including a potential touchdown- wound up going just off his fingertips. Thomas' first touchdown was one of the few plays where the two were truly in sync, as it was a perfect throw where only an athletic freak such as Thomas could get it. Most of the rest of Thomas' production came on short throws where Demaryius simply used his after-the-catch skills to make something happen, such as his 78-yard touchdown on a screen pass that showcased his straight-line speed, or his final reception where he dragged three defenders for five yards to get the game-ending first down.
Week 2 - Demaryius Thomas was Denver's most consistent wide receiver on the day, but also its least targeted as Denver's game-plan didn't call for much deep passing. Thomas managed to haul in five of his six targets, but the one exception is surely one he wishes he could have back. Thomas was open downfield on his lone deep target of the game, but couldn't hang on to a ball that hit his fingertips.
Week 3 - Against Oakland it was clear that Denver's game plan revolved around the quick passing game, and Demaryius Thomas' usage reflected that fact. Normally known for his skills as a deep threat, Thomas had a chance to showcase his run-after-catch skills as Denver fed him a steady diet of screens and quick passes, with nine of his eleven targets coming within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Demaryius did have a costly 3rd-down drop on one of his rare deep targets, but the miscue was a blip on an otherwise strong night where Thomas had a couple of opportunities to show off his hands. Thomas' final catch of the night came on a rare poor throw from Manning, who put the ball low and away but saw Demaryius make a strong reaching grab and secure the football before any defenders had a chance to make a play on it. Demaryius also had an 11th catch that doesn't show up on the stat sheet, as he went up to field Oakland's last-gasp onside kick.
Week 4 - As he has for much of the season, Demaryius did the majority of his damage against Philadelphia off of screens and quick passes, with all ten of his targets coming within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. While he didn't have a chance to show off his deep speed, Demaryius had a great game simply using his size and strength to overpower a defense filled with poor tacklers. Despite not running any intermediate routes, a whopping 8 out of Thomas' 9 catches resulted in a first down or a touchdown as he simply bulled his way past the first down marker or over the goal line. For the season, nearly two thirds of Thomas' yard have come after the catch, as Thomas has been targeted deep on just 10% of his passes compared to over 30% in 2012.
Week 5 - Demaryius had a quiet day, finishing with just 6 targets and hauling in 5 of them for 57 yards. As has been his norm for the season, he did the majority of his work in the short passing game, with his lone deep target falling incomplete. Demaryius did have a very nice 40-yard catch-and-run on Denver's first offensive play of the day, but it was called back due to a rare Louis Vasquez penalty. Thomas also had some key conversions on Denver's final drives. Otherwise, Peyton Manning preferred to spend his afternoon attacking Dallas' linebackers, throwing for more than 200 yards to Denver's backs and tight ends.
Week 6 - Demaryius Thomas was not targeted often against Jacksonville, but he made the most of his limited opportunities. Thomas finished 5th on the team in targets with just 5, but he still led the team in receiving yardage. After five weeks of being used mostly as a screen receiver, Manning and Thomas finally hooked up deep not once but twice, on receptions of 31 and 42 yards, and on a third attempt Demaryius drew a 25 yard defensive pass interference penalty. The game served as a reminder that Demaryius is capable of much more than he's shown so far this year, and also that he only needs a few opportunities to turn a forgettable afternoon into a productive one.
Week 7 - After a season where Demaryius had seen very few targets deep down the field, Denver decided to prominently feature the deep pass to Demaryius against the Colts. Unfortunately, Thomas and Manning struggled to get on the same page, as Manning's deep accuracy was frequently off, and Demaryius misplayed a few catchable balls. Demaryius' touchdown reception came on the lone deep hookup he managed with Manning all game, as Demaryius managed to slip behind a pair of Colts defenders for the 31-yard score. On the very next play, Demaryius dropped a very costly (and very catchable) two point conversion attempt. Demaryius was able to make a few plays with his run-after-the-catch abilities, including a key conversion of 3rd and 8 on a WR screen, but on the whole, the game against Indy is probably one he'd like to have back again.
Week 8 - Demaryius Thomas was Denver’s most-targeted receiver against Washington, and he was the only receiver who was consistently involved in the offense during all four quarters. Two of Peyton Manning’s three interceptions came on passes intended for Demaryius Thomas. On the first, Demaryius fell down coming out of his break, setting up DeAngelo Hall for an easy pick 6. On the second, Demaryius passively waited for the ball to come to him, and the physically-outmatched DeAngelo Hall made an aggressive play for it and simply muscled the ball away from him. Outside of those two poor plays that directly resulted in turnovers, Demaryius’ day largely consisted of running deadly screen plays, which Denver consistently executes to perfection, leaving Thomas free to use his superior size and speed to outrun or out-muscle any would-be tacklers. On his touchdown reception, Denver managed to get three blockers in front of him, and Thomas simply raced 35 yards untouched to the end zone.
Week 10 - Sunday was clearly Demaryius Thomas’ day, as Denver involved him early and he rewarded them with a fantastic game. Thomas led the team in targets (10), receptions (7), yards (108), and touchdowns (3), marking the first 3-touchdown game by a Broncos receiver this year. Demaryius was twice targeted on deep passes, catching one of them for 28 yards, but did the bulk of his work as he has all season long, in the short game. Thomas’ second touchdown of the day came off of play action on a little crossing route over the middle, but his first and third touchdowns are the ones that will make the highlight reel. On the first, Thomas caught a screen and his momentum was carrying him to the sidelines and out of bounds, but he managed to switch the ball to his inside arm, twist, and wave it over the pylon as he leapt out for a score. The third touchdown came on another screen, as the Chargers’ defender tried to jump the route and missed, leaving Demaryius with the ball in space. Thomas did a small juke to get the defenders ahead of him off-balance, then simply turned on the jets and ran straight up the field for the 34 yard score. Thomas was quiet after that until the final drive of the game, when he twice converted for a new set of downs as Denver ran the clock out on the Chargers’ attempted comeback.
Week 11 - For the third consecutive week, Demaryius Thomas led the Broncos in targets, as nobody in Kansas City’s secondary was a match for his size and speed. Demaryius only managed to convert 5 of his 13 targets into receptions, but he made those receptions count, gaining 6-yards to convert a 3rd-and-5, taking a screen for 29 yards on 2nd-and-10, and making the offensive play of the game for Denver when he caught a perfectly thrown deep ball in stride on 3rd-and-5 and rumbled for 70 yards before finally being brought down inside the 10 yard line.
Week 12 - Demaryius Thomas caught the game-tying TD pass for Denver late in the 4th quarter, but outside of that, his day featured precious few highlights. In a game where the referees were letting both the receivers and the defensive backs get away with physical play, Demaryius struggled to get free from the stifling coverage of Aqib Talib. Thomas received only two targets in the first three quarters, both of which were dropped. Demaryius did not register a single reception until that game-tying drive in the 4th, which featured a pair of 11 yard gains on 1st down and a 15-yard pickup on 2nd and 20. Thomas’ only other reception was a key 4-yard conversion on 3rd and 2, and he also drew a pair of deep targets on 3rd-and-long that died in the wind and had no real chance at being converted.
Week 13 - On Denver’s first offensive play, Demaryius Thomas took a quick slant for 14 yards, but injured his shoulder in the process. He remained very inconsistent for the remainder of the day, and his injury obviously played an important role in that. Peyton Manning’s interception on Denver’s first offensive series came on a pass to Demaryius. After the game, Manning said “That third down to him, in that type of play, usually he can go up and make it. He couldn’t even reach with his other hand. He goes up with one hand and obviously tips it, and it ends up getting intercepted. I probably told him he could have told me that earlier, that he only has one hand, and I might not have thrown to him.” Demaryius then sat out Denver’s second series, but was able to return to the field by the third. Demaryius had a pair of drive-killing drops, with the first being a tough-but-catchable ball and the second being an easy short reception over the middle. On his next target, though, Demaryius showed why Denver stuck with him despite his injury. With the Broncos pinned deep on their own side of the field, Manning fired a pass on 2nd-and-10 that hit Demaryius in stride 20 yards down the field, and then Demaryius rumbled for another 57 yards after the catch to put Denver in the red zone. On his next two targets, Demaryius used his after-the-catch skills to convert a 3rd-and-13, and then drew a defensive pass interference penalty to convert 2nd-and-15.
Week 14 - As usual, Demaryius Thomas led all Broncos receivers in snaps played and routes run against the Titans. With Manning attempting 59 passes, there were plenty of targets to go around, and Demaryius received his turn with 10, including a whopping 4 inside Tennessee’s 10 yard line, which Thomas converted into a 7-yard gain on 1st-and-goal from the 8 and, later, a 4 yard touchdown on 1st-and-goal from the 4. Thomas’ other two end-zone targets resulted in an incomplete pass and a dropped touchdown. Thomas also took advantage of Peyton’s recent deep success with a 38-yard reception to begin the 3rd quarter as Denver drove for the go-ahead score. All-in-all, a strong showing, even if it faded in a bit among all the other strong showings on Denver’s record-setting offensive day.
Week 15 - Like everyone else on Denver’s offense, Demaryius Thomas was rendered largely invisible by Denver’s tiny offensive snap count. Demaryius received only five targets all evening, catching four of them. Three of Thomas’ four receptions netted a first down, with the fourth gaining 6 yards on 1st and 10. The lone incompletion directed his way came on his only deep target of the game. Demaryius had a chance to show off his after-the-catch skills on his second reception of the game, gaining 21 yards on a short pass to the right, but otherwise San Diego did a fantastic job at swarming him immediately after the catch and limiting his ability to gain extra yards.
Week 16 - Demaryius Thomas was involved early and often in Denver’s game plan, including on a 20+ yard end-zone target on the first drive that wound up just outside of his reach. That was a precursor of things to come, as Thomas finished the day with a season-high 14 targets, 5 of them deep down the field. He hauled in one of those deep targets for a 36-yard touchdown, as he split a pair of defenders for the score. Otherwise, most of his damage was done as it typically is, taking short passes from Manning and fighting for extra yards.
Week 17 - Denver opened the game against Oakland with a screen-heavy game plan, which seemed to suit Demaryius Thomas just fine. Thomas continued to be a terror with the ball in his hands, catching all six of his targets and making the first defender miss. Thomas did get one deep target on the game, and he made the most of it, getting wide open behind Oakland’s defense and taking a beautiful deep pass 63 yards to the house. Like most of Denver’s regular starters, Demaryius did not play after halftime as he enjoyed a well-deserved rest.
Week 19 - Demaryius Thomas was the most-targeted Bronco against the Chargers, hauling in 8 of his 10 targets for 54 yards and TD. All of Thomas’ receptions were caught within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, as Manning relied heavily on him in the short passing game. San Diego did a fairly good job of limiting his yards after the catch, but Thomas was still Manning’s best and most reliable receiver for the day.
Week 20 - New England cornerback Aqib Talib left the game against Denver early with an injury, and Demaryius Thomas capitalized on his absence with 7 receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. Thomas had already burned Talib with a 29 yard gain on 3rd and 10, but with Talib out, nobody on New England was able to slow Thomas down. Demaryius spent most of the rest of the day matched up on Alfonso Dennard, who gave up gains of 26 yards on 2nd-and-20, 27 yards on 1st-and-10, 30 yards on 1st-and-10, and a 3-yard touchdown on 1st-and-goal as Demaryius got open early, often, and all over the field.
Week 21 - Demaryius Thomas set an NFL record for most receptions in a Super Bowl, but the record surely feels hollow, as Thomas had a below-average game. Denver lined him up on the left side of the formation often to avoid Richard Sherman, leading to a lot of targets. Clearly, the WR screen was an important part of Denver’s game plan. Unfortunately, Denver was completely unable to get it going, as Seattle shut down all short receptions immediately, limiting or even entirely preventing all yards after the catch. Demaryius’ first eight receptions gained 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 yards. Two of those receptions did convert on 3rd down, but one of them was almost disastrous- Thomas caught the ball a yard short of the first down with enough room to push ahead for an easy conversion, but he shockingly decided to give up a few yards first looking for the bigger play, only making it back to the first down marker by a few inches. His other third down conversion was a strong play where he showed more than his usual physicality in using his size to contest a 50/50 ball. Thomas finally got something going down the field with a 10 yard gain and a 23 yard gain on back-to-back plays, but he allowed the defender to punch the football loose at the end of the 23-yarder. After that, Denver’s last hopes were gone, and all that remained was catching a few more passes over the middle against a soft Seattle zone defense to pad his reception total.