Week Seventeen Analysis: The Broncos are sitting in the two seed right now. A win could give them home field advantage, but a loss could mean that they're playing next weekend. So, it's pretty safe to say that you will see Demaryius Thomas and Peyton Manning until this game in hand. Thomas' 102 yards and a score last week marked his third Daily Double of the season and his fifth score in the last six games. This week's opponent is a Chiefs team that isn't passed on often since their run defense is so terrible. However, last time the two teams met, Thomas had 84 yards and a touchdown. He could do that again in the first half.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Will the real Cleveland defense please stand up? Here are two groups of quarterbacks. Group number one: Vick, Dalton (twice), Eli, Romo, Palmer and Cousins. All threw for over 250 yards and multiple scores against the Browns. Group number two: Brady Quinn, Charlie Batch, Philip Rivers, and Joe Flacco. Those are the guys who've been held under 200 yards by the Browns. I consider Peyton Manning more of a group one guy, which make Demaryius Thomas a great play this week. While Thomas totaled only 13 yards on four catches last week, that's the exception to Demaryius' rule. Thomas has had 10 games this season with more than 75 yards and has scored four times in the last five weeks.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Demaryius Thomas has now topped 75 yards or scored in all but one game this season, as he's cemented himself as Peyton Manning's go-to guy. Thomas has had at least seven targets in eight of his last nine games. He stacks up as a sure-fire starter in your fantasy playoffs this week too as he faces a mediocre Ravens secondary. In the last five weeks, Baltimore has faced two back-up quarterbacks from Pittsburgh and fared very well, but have been lit up by the three other groups of wideouts. In those three games, the Ravens allowed seven wideouts to top 50 yards and five touchdowns.
Week Fourteen Analysis: There's no way around it. Demaryius Thomas is the number one receiver in Denver. He's scored four times in the last three weeks and has topped 75 yards in five of his last six games. In his first matchup against this week's opponent, the Oakland Raiders, Thomas gained 103 yards on five catches. Since then, Oakland has only gotten worse. The Raiders have allowed two touchdowns to a wide receiver in three of the last four weeks, and have yielded 100-yard games to A.J. Green and Josh Gordon in the last two weeks.
Week Thirteen Analysis: Here's a stat for you. Demaryius Thomas has topped 75 yards or scored in 16 of his last 18 games. Seven of those games were with Tim Tebow at the helm. He's been even better since Peyton Manning landed in Denver. This season Thomas has bested 100 yards or scored in nine of 11, and this week he faces the worst secondary in football. Most of the poorest pass defenses in the NFL have had at least a few weeks where they've bounced back to adequate, but not the Bucs. Tampa has allowed over 200 yards to opposing wide receivers in nine games and allowed a touchdown to a wideout in six straight.
Week Twelve Analysis: Demaryius Thomas is quickly becoming a household name. In the last seven weeks, Thomas has topped 100 yards, scored or both in six games. As Peyton Manning's deep threat, Thomas leads the NFL with 10 receptions of 30 or more yards. This week the duo will try to go deep against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have allowed 18 fewer wide receiver receptions than any other team in the NFL, which is an amazing feat for the worst team in the league. However, Kansas City has allowed the third-most receptions of 30-plus yards are tied for the second-most touchdowns allowed to opposing wideouts.
Week Eleven Analysis: Demaryius Thomas is quickly becoming a force among fantasy wide receivers as he's topped 75 yards in five of his last six and bested 100 yards five times this season. It's interesting to note that while Thomas has put up some huge yardage totals in day games, he has not scored in a non-prime time game in his last nine games. I'm guessing he bucks that trend this week against San Diego. In the Week 6 matchup with the Chargers, Peyton Manning threw touchdown passes to Eric Decker, Brandon Stokley and Thomas, as San Diego had no answer for the Broncos offense in the second half of that epic comeback win.
Week Ten Analysis: Demaryius Thomas has now gained 75 or more yards in six games, which equals his total from last season. The good news is, he's still got eight games to go. This week a trip to Charlotte will be a tough test. The Panthers are allowing only 134 yards per game to opposing wide receivers, which ranks them as the fourth-toughest defense against the position. However, the Panthers have also allowed two of the highest 18 receiving yardage totals of the season, when they allowed Roddy White to gain 169 yards and Ramses Barden to go off for 138 yards. That bodes well for Thomas since he's more of the yardage guy between himself and Eric Decker.
Week Nine Analysis: While the Bengals have only allowed four touchdowns to wide receivers all season, I'm calling out their success as fool's gold. Why? They've allowed the seventh-most passing plays of 20 yards or more this season. The Bengals have allowed this to happen against quarterbacks like Brandon Weeden (twice), Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Tannehill, which makes their positive stats that much less impressive. It just happens that Cincinnati faces off against the receiver that leads the NFL in passing receptions of 20 or more yards, Demaryius Thomas. He has 16 plays of 20-plus yards this season, and with Peyton Manning at the helm you can bet that the Broncos will take a few shots in Cincy this weekend.
Week Eight Analysis: There have been seven pass plays of 80 yards or more this season, the Saints are the only team that has allowed two of them. This week they face Demaryius Thomas, one of the two players who lead the league in receiving plays of 20-plus yards. Fresh off the bye, Thomas looks to continue to build that lead on Sunday night. There are few players who have been as good as Thomas in prime time. In his last four night games, Thomas has scored a touchdown and is averaging 107 yards. In his last seven day games, he has not scored. The Saints are allowing the third-most yards to wide receivers, 216 per game. A matchup can't get much better than this.
Week Six Analysis: Demaryius Thomas is one of only four receivers in the league averaging more than 100 yards per game, helped by his nine-catch, 188-yard effort against the Patriots last week. His opponent on Monday night is a Chargers team that has allowed an average of 203 yards and two touchdowns to wide receivers in the last three weeks. In two career games against the Chargers, Thomas has yet to record a catch (thanks, Tim Tebow), and that will change in a big way this week. Like Thomas, big bodied receivers, Marques Colston and Dwayne Bowe, have posted monster games against the Chargers the past two weeks.
Week Five Analysis: Demaryius Thomas has now topped 78 yards, scored or both in three of four games this year. In the four games of the Manning era, the Broncos are averaging 38 passing attempts per game. During the 11 Tebow starts last season Denver only threw 23 times per game. That's 15 more passes per game. This week, the Broncos face the team that ended their season last year, the New England Patriots. The impressive thing about this matchup is that in Thomas' two games against the Pats last season (with Tebow, no less) he averaged seven catches for 105 yards. I like Thomas in the shootout this week.
Week Four Analysis: Demaryius Thomas has been targeted 11 times in each of the last two games, but could only manage three receptions for 34 yards last week against the Texans. That was likely a product of a difficult matchup against Johnathan Joseph. This week Thomas takes on the Raiders. Oakland is on the wrong side of a trend that has shown them giving up an increasing number of receptions and yardage to wide receivers in each of the last three weeks. Last week the Steelers wide receivers pounded the Raiders for 19 receptions, 252 yards and two touchdowns in Oakland. Travelling to the elevation of Mile High and facing Peyton Manning won't be any easier for the Oakland secondary.
Week Three Analysis: It's hard to ignore the production that Demaryius Thomas has had in the first two games with Peyton Manning at the helm. With yardage totals of 110 and 78 and a touchdown in each of his first two weeks, he looks poised to be one of the top fantasy receivers in the game this season. Now, this week he comes up against a buzzsaw of a defense in the Houston Texans. Some memorable cornerback play from Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson have led the Texans to give up an average of a paltry 79 yards to wide receivers over the first two weeks. Granted, facing off against Ryan Tannehill and Blaine Gabbert in the first two weeks will help bolster some stats, but the Texans only allowed three 100-yard performances to wide receivers in all of last season.