Recently, I read an article by NFL Talking Heads entitled “Top 5 mistakes to avoid on fantasy draft day”, and reason number two was to not rely too heavily on last year’s numbers. If a guy had a down year in 2016, I would be reluctant to be a buyer in 2017. You can’t have that mindset. Every year, and every draft I am guilty of this. Not saying players never have two bad seasons’ in a row, you just cannot base your decision solely, or even heavily, on what happened last year. One guy that this does NOT apply to is Denver Broncos wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas.
Looking at Thomas’ stats from last season: 90 receptions, 1,083 yards, and only five touchdowns, it is easy to dismiss him from draft consideration. Players have bounce-back years all the time, right? Sure, they do, but don’t expect one from Thomas. There are several reasons why I believe he is going to have another average year.
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First and foremost is the quarterback throwing the ball for the Broncos, Trevor Siemian, or Paxton Lynch. In a perfect world, you could have Peyton Manning passing to you your whole career and you will have years like Thomas did in 2013 and 2014. He put up over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in that span. As I am sure Thomas will tell you, this is not a perfect world.
Since then, which a declining Manning played in ten games, and Siemian played in 16, his numbers have dropped significantly to 2300 yards and 11 touchdowns. Simply put, it is hard to reach your upside when you have below average play from the quarterback position. Whoever the quarterback ends up being, they will face the 20th ranked strength of schedule, which will be no cakewalk.
If you still think Thomas can have a decent season, then add the fact that the Denver Broncos receiving corps face the 28th hardest schedule, according to fantasyscout.com. The Broncos face the NFC and AFC East this season, with some tough pass defenses including the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and New England Patriots. Not to mention two matchups against divisional foes, the Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders. They have their work cut out for them.
Listed 1-2 on the running backs depth chart is C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles, respectively. Perhaps Charles gets back to his old form. But if not, there is nothing there that will keep defenses honest in the run game. They will be serviceable backs I am sure, but don’t expect the run game to strike fear in anyone, initially at least. I like Charles, but he won’t put up numbers that will draw attention away from Thomas. Following this logic, I would stay away from Emmanuel Sanders as well.
Thomas has an ADP of 35 right now and is being taken ahead of Keenan Allen and Alshon Jeffrey. I have those two guys ranked higher than him. I think even Brandon Marshall, ADP 59, will have a better season than Thomas as well. If you are on the clock in the 3rd round and are looking for a receiver, taking one of these guys will be a smarter move than drafting Thomas.