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.
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 percent of all players who have such an injury 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 a serious 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. one 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.
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.