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Ruptured Hope: The Fate of Demaryius Thomas

Sometimes life can simply be cruel. Such is the case with talented youngster Demaryius Thomas, who ruptured his achilles tendon on Wednesday. Some dynasty league owners may think it’s just a blip on the radar and not anything too significant since it’s only February.

They’re wrong.

While a ruptured achilles tendon may not be a death sentence to an ordinary Joe, it’s a very significant injury for a football player, especially one who relies on explosion. The achilles tendon connects the muscles of the calf to the heel bone and stretches out when a football player makes a cut or pushes off from the line of scrimmage.

Wide receivers rely on that element of explosion and power to get themselves open, jump for the ball, or make a quick cut in the open field.  With a surgically repaired achilles, this proves to be a much more difficult task.

Emaxhealth has a nice piece out there on the chances of NFL players returning from such an injury. They claim that 36% of all players who rupture their achilles never play again in the NFL and players who do return lose 50 percent of their power. Those are numbers sure to sober up any Thomas owner who is drunk with denial.

So, now what?

The Thomas injury is obviously serious and casts doubt on his future. However, he’s not the only player whose value is impacted. Here’s a quick look at the players who find their values changed based on this unfortunate event:

Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN

Many owners had Thomas stashed as a future No. 1 receiver, and for good reason. Owners saw a taste of what Thomas can do when he posted 97 yards and a touchdown in his debut in week two last season. Unfortunately, lingering injuries derailed his season and he finished with just 283 yards and two scores.

Thomas owners now have to hold on and hope he can be the exception to the rule. While he can no longer be earmarked as a future pillar on your team, he still has a chance to be a good receiver. In fact, he may even avoid the PUP list at the start of the season. It’s just too early to tell, but don’t expect the Broncos to push him back too soon.

However, if I had an owner in a league who thought they were “buying low” by offering me the equivalent of a late first round pick in a rookie draft, I’d jump all over it.

Tim Tebow, QB, DEN

Tebow needs all the help he can get and losing Thomas can’t be good for his development. They were said to have been building a nice rapport on the practice field last season and that’s obviously lost with this injury.

The Broncos will be leaning on some lesser talented receivers in the future and you have to figure John Fox will rely even more on the running game without Thomas in the fold.

Brandon Lloyd, WR, DEN

I still contend that Lloyd is squarely on the sell list, but this is going to keep him entrenched as the No. 1 option in Denver.

If I own Lloyd in a dynasty league, this is the time I really start to peddle him. Without Thomas in his way, he has a much better chance to post good numbers next season. However, considering his age and tendency to disappear for years at a time, I’d attempt to get something of value now if I’m not a contender. After all, he’s not going to help you three seasons from now.

Being able to leverage the Thomas injury in trade talks may be enough for you to fleece a contending owner into giving you something of real significance for Lloyd.

Jabar Gaffney, WR, DEN

Gaffney was probably going to be a casualty this offseason, but he’s pretty valuable to the Broncos at this point. With both Eddie Royal and Thomas nursing injuries, the receiving corps is getting pretty thin.

Gaffney is again worthy of a roster spot in a dynasty league.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, DEN

We’ve focused a ton on John Fox and the Denver running game here on DLF recently. This bit of news can’t hurt his chances of an increased workload. The chances of DeAngelo Williams coming to Denver is still a major cause for concern with Moreno, though.

Dez Bryant, WR, DAL

Bryant’s value isn’t directly affected with the Thomas injury. However, I’d contend that having the pressure off being compared to Thomas (who was taken ahead of him in the draft) has to be a little reassuring to him.

SUMMARY

In the end, the ruptured achilles is an awful injury for any receiver who relies on his speed and power like Demaryius Thomas. Dynasty league owners need to really evaluate their teams if they are counting on Thomas being a key contributor and act accordingly.

Good luck!

Ken Kelly
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Sensei John Kreese
11 years ago

What is your opinion on the broncos selecting AJ Green in this April’s draft? Do you see it as being a more likely scenario in light of this injury?

DLF_KenK
Reply to  Sensei John Kreese
11 years ago

I don’t think it is. Green could be worthy of the #2 pick in the draft, but the Broncos have a ton of more pressing needs, especially on defense.

I just have a hard time seeing a hard nosed, defensive minded coach like John Fox focusing on a skill position player like Green. They can get by with Lloyd, Thomas, Royal, Decker, etc.

toine
11 years ago

What about Eric Decker? What are his chances a seizing this opportunity? Or should I be looking to peddle him for something to the guy who just lost Thomas?

DLF_KenK
Reply to  toine
11 years ago

It’s too early to say with Decker. He could step up for sure, but Thomas may not miss all that much time and he certainly won’t be given much of a chance to develop ahead of him.

His chances certainly aren’t hurt by this, but I think the educated guess is at this point that Thomas won’t be an A+ player as a starter as they hoped, he’ll be more of a B- starter.

11 years ago

I’m hoping, as a Decker owner, that he can shine in the offseason workouts while Thomas and Royal recover from their injuries. He, too, has injury concerns. But before his season ending injury during his last year in Minnesota, he was projected as a 1st round pick. So the potential is certainly there.

DLF_KenK
Reply to  joebidwell
11 years ago

Yeah, he’s certainly a “cross your fingers” type of guy. DLF owns him in our Experts League that we play in with Rotoworld, ESPN, etc. and we’re holding on at this point.

Unfortunately, we have Thomas, too.

11 years ago

decker could be the next ed mccaffery? thomas still could thrive as more of a possesion type wr then a speed burner. he has great size and hands and will now have to develop route running and reading Dbacks to be a great wr. tebow will need that too if he is to succeed.

DWonderland
11 years ago

just offered Moreno for Mathews straight up. for some reason i like Moreno’s upside slightly more than Mathews but
i think i want to wait to see what happens with DWill before pulling the trigger. thoughts?

DLF_KenK
Reply to  DWonderland
11 years ago

Risky move. I think both are best served as No. 2 runners for sure. My concern with Mathews is the presence of Tolbert. He’s already in a situation where he’ll split time. At the moment, Moreno isn’t.

I’d rather have Moreno right now.

Misfit74
11 years ago

Thanks, Ken. Good stuff! 🙂

I think this does help Eric Decker’s chances at significant playing time. Gaffney’s contract could make him a salary-cap casualty, though 2.4 million isn’t crazy for a WR. With Royal and Thomas both seriously injured, it’s hard not to love Brandon Lloyd even more – despite his possibly short shelf-life. Hopefully John Fox sticks with Orton for at least 2011. For the sake of all Denver’s offensive fantasy players.

One question I would have is what other players who suffered from the same injury have or haven’t returned closely to their pre-injury form?

DLF_KenK
Reply to  Misfit74
11 years ago

The last few offensive players I can think of are LenDale White, Limas Sweed, Reggie Kelly, Brandon Stokley and Kory Sheets.

DeMeco Ryans, Donald Butler and Marlin Jackson also ruptured theirs on the defensive side over the last year.

Stokley and Kelly were never the same. Neither was LaVar Arrington.

Admin
Reply to  DLF_KenK
11 years ago

Ken, I’d have to disagree with you a little bit about Brandon Stokley. He actually had two really nice seasons (and probably his 2nd and 3rd best of his career) right after he came back from the achilles injury in 2007/2008.

DLF_KenK
Reply to  Eric Dickens
11 years ago

Maybe, but he averaged only 582 yards and four touchdowns in those two seasons. I doubt he was even on too many rosters in 2007/2008. That’s a far cry from his 1,077 and 10 touchdown campaign he had in 2004.

There are some variables there, though. He was in Denver instead of Indy, had only 543 in 2005, etc.

I just never saw the ability to cut and move like I saw pre-injury with him, though his explosiveness was never really THAT incredible.

He’s a tough one to gauge statistically because his career performance is lackluster at best, save one season.

I’m just going on the eye test there.

Reply to  Eric Dickens
11 years ago

stokely was’nt that great to begin with. he had the luxury of playing with manning. (see austin collie, pierre garcon, blair white, etc…..) what would they be on denver?

11 years ago

hopefully we don’t have to compare the game stats of brandon stokely to thomas? if so we might as well give up on thomas now.

Krystal Hindsman
11 years ago

my problems spots is my loose inner thigh and a round fat in my lower tummy. I tried your 3rd exercise and I could feel the firmness of my outer thigh. thanks Joey

phorts
10 years ago

Oh Boy. Ken would rather have Moreno over Mathews? Yikes. Bet he wishes this article would disappear forever!

DLF_KenK
Reply to  phorts
10 years ago

Yeah, that faded pretty quickly, didn’t it! Such promise wasted because of injury and poor performance.

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