The NFL Trade Deadline shook up a bunch of passing games this week and second-year deep threat Demaryius Thomas is one of the biggest names to benefit from it. Here’s a look at Thomas and some other guys you’ll want to pay close attention in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (3 Percent Owned)
The departure of Brandon Lloyd has freed up an open spot across from Eric Decker, and while Eddie Royal is likely to fill it for now, it’s a position that is better filled with Thomas’ skills.
The former first-round pick from Georgia Tech has yet to live up to expectations, totaling just 22 catches last year and failing to play so far this season due to an Achilles injury and a broken finger. Still though, his skills are much more utilized as a deep threat on the outside with Royal coming out of the slot.
Thomas is expected to make his season debut this Sunday, but expectations should be tempered. He’s unlikely to get a full load of snaps and it’s still debatable as to how well Tim Tebow will be able to throw the deep ball.
With that being said, Thomas is a tremendous long-term pickup. He should have no trouble filling Lloyd’s deep threat role as he gets closer to 100 percent. Pick him up and stash him if you have space.
Greg Little, Cleveland Browns (22 Percent Owned)
For the past few weeks Little has had a big part in this offense and that’s unlikely to change.
In Week 6, his first as an “official” starter, Little received 12 targets against the Oakland Raiders and pulled in six of those for 72 yards. His day could have been much better, too, as he came a few feet away from finding the end zone in the third quarter.
Little has gained a lot of attention since becoming the starter last week, but he probably should have been added a few weeks ago. After a quiet Week 1, the North Carolina rookie has received 30 targets in four games (7.5 per game). He may be behind Mohamed Massaquoi on the depth chart, but Colt McCoy has looked Little’s way just as much.
Not only does he now have playing time locked down, Little is the perfect receiver for this offense. Even though McCoy throws the ball a ton, he makes a lot of short-yardage throws. Little, a converted running back, is terrific after the catch and has the ability to turn a lot of those short throws into 15-yard gains.
If he’s still available, pick him up immediately, no matter the size of the league.
Damian Williams, Tennessee Titans (3 Percent Owned)
Williams’ role in this offense has been steadily increasing since the injury to Kenny Britt and now he’s the legitimate No. 2 opposite Nate Washington.
Before the Titans’ bye in Week 6, Williams put up a nice game against a good Pittsburgh Steelers defense, pulling in six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown – his second touchdown in as many weeks.
Besides Washington and tight end Jared Cook, Williams is really the only other main target for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He should continue to get a bunch of looks and is establishing himself as a red zone target. Deeper league owners should take a long look.
Dane Sanzenbacher, Chicago Bears (5 Percent Owned)
“The Sanz” is an option for very deep leagues, so tread carefully. He only got three targets this week against the Vikings, but he pulled in one of those for his third touchdown of the season. He now leads the Bears in red zone targets with seven.
The Bears got ahead early against Minnesota otherwise he probably would have gotten more overall targets, but he’s still been very productive in this offense. In Chicago’s three losses, Sanzenbacher has averaged eight targets and scored twice.
As a mostly underneath, Wes Welker-type option, the un-drafted rookie from Ohio State thrives when Chicago is forced to pass and Jay Cutler doesn’t have a lot of time to throw. The offensive line looked a lot better last week, but we’ll see if they can keep it up.
As long as Cutler continues to need to get it out quickly, Sanzenbacher is a nice PPR and red zone target.
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