Tell any Fantasy owner before the season that their No. 1 receiver was going to catch 105 passes for 1,304 yards, and everyone would sign up for that kind of production. But that's what Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas had in 2015, and he was considered a bust. He only scored six touchdowns, which was a decline of five from the previous season and ended a three-year stretch of him scoring in double digits in touchdowns, but he still finished as the No. 13 receiver in standard leagues, including eight games with double digits in Fantasy points. And that was with some terrible quarterback play from an injured/declining Peyton Manning and an inexperienced Brock Osweiler. Thomas will get a new quarterback this year in either Paxton Lynch or Mark Sanchez with Manning retired and Osweiler in Houston, so he should be able to post at least the same stats, if not better. He remains a low-end No. 1 receiver in all leagues, and he's worth drafting in Round 3 in standard formats and Round 2 in PPR. Let other Fantasy owners think he's a bust with his stats from last season. We're counting on him bouncing back and once again playing at a high level in 2016.
Thomas snatched four of eight targets for 63 yards in Saturday's win over the Rams. Among Thomas' grabs was a 43-yard connection that he nabbed with one hand while being interfered with. The play showed off what Thomas is capable of providing presumed starter Trevor Siemian. It wasn't all good news, however, as Thomas continues to achieve the amazing while struggling with the basics. Siemian missed Thomas on a simple crossing pattern early and then Thomas failed to bring in a pass over the middle that hit him in the hands.
Thomas caught two passes for 43 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's preseason opener against the Bears. Thomas hauled in an easy 32-yard touchdown from Mark Sanchez on a blown coverage by the Chicago defense. Sanchez turned in a mixed performance, while Trevor Siemian avoided mistakes but also didn't make many big plays. Regardless of which quarterback wins the competition, Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders figure to gobble up a huge portion of Denver's targets. Even in an offense that wants to focus on the run, there's potential for Thomas to top 1,300 yards for a fifth consecutive season.
Thomas caught 105 of 176 targets for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. He was unable to maintain that level of production in the playoffs, tallying just seven catches off of 21 targets for 60 yards in three games. Those who watched Thomas week in and week out may have been surprised by the fact that the star receiver managed to collect over 100 catches in 2015. Thomas often seemed distracted or a little off, dropping key passes and just missing deep connections with Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler. Thomas entered 2015 with 23 100-yard games in his previous three seasons, but had just four this season and had just one game, Week 17, in which he topped 100 yards and hauled in a touchdown. All four of Thomas' 100-yard games came in games where Manning played at least a half, so Thomas will likely need to work on his rapport with Osweiler or whoever else lines up under center in Denver in 2016. The nature of Thomas' contract gives him a lot of leeway as he will be in orange through at least 2017, but if he doesn't begin stepping up more in big moments in 2016, the pressure will mount on Denver's top receiver.
Thomas secured one of six targets for eight yards in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl victory over the Panthers. The 28-year-old barely made his presence felt on the season's biggest stage, suffering a decrease in receptions for the third straight postseason game. Thomas' tough afternoon was a combination of the Josh Norman's tight coverage in the secondary and a lack of time for Peyton Manning on several occasions. He also took a hard hit from Luke Kuechly in the first quarter that may have had a lingering effect on the receiver the rest of the game. Thomas was able to draw a key fourth quarter third-down pass interference penalty in the end zone on Norman that gave Denver new life, and eventually led to C.J. Anderson's decisive one-yard touchdown. The six-year veteran will head into the offseason with more questions than usual following a pedestrian second half of the 2015 campaign, but still figures to slot in as Denver's No. 1 receiver to start the 2016 season.
Thomas gathered in two of seven targets for 12 yards during Sunday's AFC championship game win versus the Patriots. No matter who was under center during the current campaign, Thomas put together a prototypical final line, though end-zone visits declined to a four-year low. A quarterback shuffle spurred by Peyton Manning's mid-season implosion was at the crux of the issue, but once the sheriff opted to take time off to rest a torn plantar fascia, Thomas reeled in five of his six touchdowns with backup Brock Osweiler. In parts of four games with Manning since that moment, Thomas has combined for eight receptions (on 20 targets) for 85 yards and no scores, which can't be ignored heading into Super Bowl 50 against the Panthers' 11th ranked pass defense.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||24.63|
|6||10/14||@San Diego Chargers||4||18.38|
|8||10/30||San Diego Chargers||4||18.38|
|10||11/13||@New Orleans Saints||28||25.13|
|12||11/27||Kansas City Chiefs||21||23.44|
|15||12/18||New England Patriots||22||23.78|
|16||12/26||@Kansas City Chiefs||21||23.44|
|3 Year Avg||168||103||1451||10||66||14.09||205|