The Denver Broncos knew they were getting a football miracle-worker when they signed Peyton Manning to a five-year, $95 million deal last off-season. In his first year with the Broncos, Manning not only made tim (13-3) instant Super Bowl contenders, but he turned Broncos receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker into fantasy football stars. However, as good as Thomas’ 2012 campaign was, it could be record-breaking in 2013.
In his second NFL season and first as a general starter (2011), Thomas received 70 targets from Tim Tebow, catching 32 of them for 551 yards and four touchdowns. In Manning’s first year in Denver, Thomas’ targets and touchdowns more than doubled (141 and 10) while his receptions nearly tripled (94). That made believers out of fantasy owners very early on during the 2012 season and will undoubtedly propel Thomas into at least the top three rounds in ever 2013 fantasy football draft.
Thomas finished the 2012 season as the fifth overall scorer among receivers in standard leagues and sixth in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues. Only six receivers caught more passes than Thomas in 2012, only five caught more touchdown receptions and only three recorded more yards.
The funny thing about those numbers is Manning and company claim they weren’t all on the same page through the first quarter of the season. That’s completely understandable for a quarterback in his first year with a new team, but it’s mind-blowing when looking at Manning and Thomas’ overall number for the season. If anything, it forecasts huge things for Thomas in 2013 when a full year and another full off-season to work with Manning. Look for Thomas in the late second to early third round of your standard league and the early second round of your PPR league.