Dynasty owners of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker undoubtedly jumped for joy when Peyton Manning inked with the Denver Broncos back in March. Two very talented wide receivers that could not be trusted on a weekly basis in 2011 because of Tim Tebow now had arguably the best quarterback ever to throw them the rock. What’s not to love?
However, that love is not translating over to early drafts on MFL. Demaryius Thomas is hovering on the board until the 17th wide receiver selected sometime in the fourth round. I doubted his recovery from his devastating achilles injury in 2010 as much as anyone, but he showed in 2011 that he is over it. This was further demonstrated with his dominating performances in June camp. He was a man amongst boys and played with a fire Denver personnel had not seen, and, while his health is playing a part, the new man under center that continually pushes his teammates is only helping. Thomas realizes Manning can make a star out of him, and he is taking every opportunity to make sure that happens.
Thomas did not get many opportunities in 2011 with the gimmick offense in place due to the limited Tim Tebow, but when he did get them he took advantage of them as evidenced by his big-play ability. He brought in catches of 25 yards or more in seven of his final 11 games, the most memorable of which was the game-winning touchdown against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round. If he can do that with an inaccurate Tebow throwing a dozen times per game, just imagine what he could do in a pass-heavy offense led by Manning.
I fully expect a hype train to take off after he carries his June camp domination into July and August, which will make acquiring him in the fourth-round a pipe dream, but if you’re drafting early take advantage of others asleep at the wheel. His floor is about where his current average draft position lies (2011’s 17th best wide receiver, A.J. Green, had 65 receptions for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns) and his ceiling is Top 5. Perhaps 100-plus receptions may not be in the cards, but 1,500-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns? Absolutely.