It has taken Denver Bronco tight end Julius Thomas three years to crack the starting lineup. Thomas was drafted in 2011 in the 4th round. He played his extremely short college football career at Portland State. Thomas only played his senior year of football, but it was good enough for the Broncos to draft him. Thomas' first love was actually basketball. He played all four years at Portland State, setting school records and collecting over 78 wins in just 121 games.
During his rookie training camp in 2011, it appeared Thomas was primed to start for the Broncos. He was impressing his coaches early on. Unfortunately for Thomas, he struggled with injuries much of his rookie season and only played games due to injuries. In 2012, Thomas struggled with injuries again and would not play any games his second year. It wasn't just injuries that kept Thomas off the field. He failed to get a good grasp on the newly implemented offense catered for quarterback Peyton Manning.
It appears to have taken Thomas 3 years to get where the Broncos had hoped he'd be at, but he's finally showing signs. Thomas has the ability to be like fellow ex college basketball greats TEs Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez. He displayed his talents Thursday night when the Denver Broncos dominated the Baltimore Ravens 49-27 to open up the season. Thomas finished the night with 5 catches for 110 receiving yards and 2 TDs. What might be even more impressive is that he averaged 22 yards per reception and was able to pick up 4 first downs in just 5 receptions.
With Thomas' performance last night, he is quickly making a name as a must have tight end in fantasy football. That's why it's all the more important to make a waiver claim on the Bronco tight end while he's still available in your league. Thomas will soon be one of the most added players next week. It's a little unrealistic to expect him to put up 28 fantasy points a game, but Thomas has the potential to be right up there with the top guys like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Tony Gonzalez on a consistent basis. Yes, Julius Thomas has to compete for balls with Eric Decker, Demayrius Thomas and Wes Welker, but don't be too concerned. Peyton Manning will throw 40-50 balls a game with the less than impressive running backs. Also, with Julius Thomas' 6-5 stature and weighing in at 250 pounds, he is a mismatch waiting to happen for linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. Manning will target Thomas on a consistent basis and expose those mismatches for big yards just like he did week 1. So while you still have the chance, add Julius Thomas in as many fantasy football leagues as he's available. He will be an excellent starter or a fantastic bartering piece with a team needing an upgrade at tight end. Regardless of the situation, Thomas has the ability to improve your team quickly.