Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 8/15/12

When Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos giving them a much needed upgrade in the passing department over Tim Tebow, the expectations immediately increased for Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Going from a 50/50 guy to one of the game’s all-time greats will do that. Now in his third season, will Thomas realize his potential and join the ranks of third-year receiver breakouts?
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Thomas definitely showed potential last year. Most notably during the Broncos’ playoff run when he torched the Steelers for 204 yards on four catches, including the 80-yard game-winner. He was also the lone bright spot during the Broncos’ 45-10 thrashing at the hands of the Patriots with six catches for 91 yards. It was the second time he exploited the Patriots’ secondary as he went for seven catches for 116 yards in their first meeting.
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Thomas also lit up the Vikings’ porous secondary with four catches for 144 yards an a pair of scores. His other decent game was a four-catch, 76 yard effort against the Bills.
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Unfortunately mixed in with those solid performances were several sub-par ones. Given the level of quarterback play and the run-first approach the Broncos took last year, that should not come as a surprise.
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I don’t expect Denver to suddenly turn into the Packers or Saints with Peyton’s arrival, but I do expect a more balanced attack. Thomas should be more trustworthy on a weekly basis.
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According to MockDraftCentral, Thomas is slotting out as a WR2 in 12-team leagues. He is the 22nd receiver taken off the board. Meanwhile Eric Decker is number 34, which makes him a  WR3. My gut says that Decker will be more consistent while Thomas will have more monster games.
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All of this will depend on him staying healthy. Thomas has missed 11 games, five last year, in two seasons. Not to mention, Peyton Manning returning to the iron man that he was prior to last year.
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