Demaryius Thomas will hopefully experience a bounce-back year in 2018 now that Case Keenum is the quarterback for the Broncos. After struggling through two seasons without Peyton Manning, which included catching passes from Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler, Thomas should finally have a capable quarterback in Keenum, who just helped Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs finish as top-20 Fantasy receivers in Minnesota in 2017. Thomas' production in 2017 were his fewest targets (140), catches (83), yards (949) and tied for his fewest touchdowns (five) since 2011. Now, it's hard to expect Keenum alone to help Thomas return to his dominant form -- Thomas had at least 92 catches, 1,430 yards and 10 touchdowns from 2012-14 -- but he should improve on his performance from last year. He remains a quality No. 2 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues, and he's worth drafting in Round 4 in all formats.
Thomas (toe) will sit out the final two days of the Broncos' mandatory minicamp, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports. Thomas tweaked his toe during Tuesday's session and is apparently dealing with some soreness. The wideout did indicate that he wanted to practice Wednesday, but it sounds like the Broncos opted to hold him out so he didn't experience a setback heading into training camp. Thomas shouldn't face any limitations by the time camp opens in late July.
Coach Vance Joseph said Thomas "tweaked" his foot Tuesday, which caused him to miss the team drills, Zac Stevens of BSNDenver.com reports. Joseph didn't seem to indicate any concern about the issue, but it's worth monitoring the star wideout's availability as minicamp rolls along. Assuming the issue doesn't impact him in the long run, Thomas should lead the revamped Broncos receiving corps with a good opportunity to reach 140 targets after doing so in each of the last seven seasons.
The Denver front office believes second-round pick Courtland Sutton can eventually emerge as the team's future top target, a role currently filled by Thomas, Troy E. Renck of Denver 7 News reports. Thomas is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2017 campaign, with his 83 catches and 949 receiving yards representing his lowest totals since Tim Tebow was slinging passes. The veteran's contract offers the Broncos a manageable dead-cap charge if he's cut next offseason, but it might be too soon to shovel dirt on his career in Denver. Sutton doesn't possess the breakaway speed Thomas had coming out of college, so the rookie's ascent is no sure thing. Furthermore, Thomas could benefit from above-average quarterback play for the first time since inking a contract extension in July 2015 after the team signed Case Keenum to take over as the starting signal caller this offseason.
The Broncos have exercised a $4 million option to keep Thomas under contract for the next two seasons, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post reports. Coming off a down season, Thomas may have been worried the Broncos would ask him to take a pay cut, but general manager John Elway said it wouldn't be an issue. True to his word, Elway exercised the option Tuesday, shortly after it was reported that Case Keenum will sign with Denver. Even if Keenum can't match his breakout 2017 campaign, he's a significant upgrade on Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, giving the 30-year-old Thomas a real shot at a bounce-back season. The Broncos also are expected to retain Emmanuel Sanders, but the rest of the offense is rife with question marks, including the future of lead back C.J. Anderson.
Broncos general manager John Elway said Wednesday that the team would exercise Thomas' $4 million team option for 2018, which triggers the final two years of the five-year, $70 million contract extension he signed in the summer of 2015, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post reports. There had been some speculation that the Broncos might request Thomas take a pay cut during the offseason in order to free up money to address needs elsewhere on the roster, but Elway's comments suggest Denver still views the 30-year-old as a quality No. 1 wideout, even after a down season in 2017. Elway also indicated that fellow starting receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) would be retained in 2018, leaving the Broncos to perhaps make some tough roster cuts on defense if they're serious about making a run at one of the free-agent quarterbacks set to hit the market in mid-March. With none of the three signal callers who started games for the Broncos in 2017 -- Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian (shoulder) and Brock Osweiler -- showcasing much potential, it's likely that the team's Week 1 starter for the upcoming season isn't yet on the roster. Until that position is settled, Thomas' odds of bouncing back in 2018 will remain muddled.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|5||10/07||@New York Jets||19||20.00|
|6||10/14||Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|8||10/28||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|11||11/18||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|14||12/09||@San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|17||12/30||Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||154||93||1112||5||55||11.96||137|