This seems like a "Well, duh" statement for anyone who watched last night's game, but Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said last week that he expects tight Julius Thomas to have a "big role" this season.
"We've had some injuries at tight end, and Julius Thomas is a guy that I'm sure not many people know about but he has taken advantage of the repetitions he's received with the first team," Manning said. "He's an athlete, he's a big guy that can really run and he really is taking advantage of the time with the starters and has made the most of it. I think he'll play a big role for our team this year."
Of course, Thomas caught two of Manning's record-tying seven touchdowns Thursday night.
I said on Twitter after the game last night that "I feel like we just witnessed a Kevin Ogletree moment from Julius Thomas." After a night to sleep on it, that's probably too harsh. I'm not saying that Thomas, like Ogletree last year, will have a big opening act and then just 24 catches for the rest of the season. It was more of a broader statement that Thomas just had the best game of his season, people are climbing over their grandmother to own him in fantasy, and I think he will be a relative disappointment for the rest of the year. I still consider him a TE2, outside of the top 12 at the position. I think he will be inconsistent -- or rather consistently not good. Specifically, I think we will see a lot of 30-40-yard games out of him, because a large number of passes will continue to go to Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker . Plus, Eric Decker should be much better than last night, and that running game will improve as the season continues.
Could Thomas be one of the biggest draft steals or waiver-wire finds this year? Sure. It helps that he has Manning throwing the rock. And he should be owned in all leagues right now; not doing that much is gross negligence. But for those who think Thomas is going to be a top-10 or even top-12 tight end this year, I am not in that camp.