There is no doubt that the biggest surprise of the Ravens vs. Broncos Thursday Night Week One season opener was the 2013 debut of Broncos TE Julius Thomas, who went off with 5 catches for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. I think many expected Broncos QB Peyton Manning to start the season on a high note. But 7 touchdown passes will either help you win your Week One matchup by a landslide, or will keep your opponent in a state of dismay until his/her players play on Sunday.
But lets get back to Thomas. Was this one of those first-week flukes? We saw it last year when Cowboys WR Kevin Ogletree started off huge with 8 catches, 114 yards and 2 scores against the Giants in the 2012 season opener. He was a waiver-wire darling then. That was until he fell flat for the rest of the season. Will Thomas be another Ogletree?
Thomas has some old-time Antonio Gates in him. Both were former basketball players and both are big targets. Thomas stands at 6'5, 255 pounds. In the first half of last night's game, Thomas had already racked up 4 catches for 97 and both scores. So once the Ravens game-planned their defense around him, Thomas was taken out fairly quickly in the second half.
So the biggest question to ponder. Is he worth picking up in ALL leagues? My fantasy research would say yes, but it comes with a little bit of skepticism. First off, the Ravens clearly headed into the game with the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker in their defensive game plan. That gave Thomas an advantage. Once the second half rolled around, Baltimore was able to keep Thomas down to only one more reception on the night.
The second thing that makes me skeptical is the fact that there are so many mouths that Manning has to feed on a weekly basis, it's hard to see Thomas being a fantasy factor on a consistent basis. He has to account for 3 receivers and whatever running back the team decides to throw out there on any given drive. That's something to keep in mind.
Is Thomas worth picking up if he is still on your wire? Absolutely. A guy doesn't do what he did and not come with some value. He was going in the 17th round in most standard twelve-team leagues, so chances are he is there on your waiver wire. Is he worth starting as a TE1 in Week Two? That I will hold off on. For now at least. There are going to be good games down the road. Defenses can't account for everyone in the Broncos offense. But claiming him and starting him next week is a bit too risky for me. I'd like to see a couple more weeks worth of playing time before I consider him over a Martellus Bennett or an Owen Daniels. The upside is there, but Thomas has to show me he's more than just a one-week wonder.