Draft Day Debate: Who has a higher ceiling in 2013, Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas?

by Steven Barris

The outcome of Fantasy football more than any other fantasy sport can be decided in the early rounds.  As we all have grown to realize, many of the picks in the top three rounds end up being a lot better or worse than advertised.  That is why I pose to you the question above, since it’s a choice fantasy owners will likely face early on draft day.  Who has the higher ceiling and higher floor out of Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas?

Comparing these 2 players so far in their respective careers is basically like trying to split hairs.  Both players had their ups and down over the first two years of their careers in 2010 and 2011, with Bryant showing a little more promise than Thomas.  Then again, comparing Tim Tebow, who was Thomas’ QB in 2011, to Tony Romo who was Bryants’ QB in 2011, is like comparing Mark Sanchez to Tom Brady.

Thomas did break out in the 2011 post season with 10 catches for 297 yards and a TD in 2 games, and that was with Tebow.  Moving forward to 2012, these two had as comparable numbers as you can possibly have.  Bryant had 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 TD while Thomas had 94 catches for 1,434 yards and 10 TD.  So how do can you possibly choose between these two studs that are 25 and younger?  That’s what I am here to help you with. .  I strongly believe that if you have the pleasure of choosing between these 2 studs there will be no disappointment, but I do think there is a clear choice and it is Dez Bryant.

Bryant was a tale of 2 separate seasons last year.  From week 10 through week 17, 8 games, Bryant had an absolutely outrageous 50 catches for 879 yards and 10 TD.  That breaks down to averages of 6.25 catches for 110 yards and 1.25 TD per game, or approximately 18-22 pts depending on whether you are in a PPR league or not.  If you extrapolate those numbers over a 16 game season you come up with 100 catches for 1,758 yards and 20 TD.

We are talking someone who can challenge Calvin Johnson here. The “light” went on folks.  This is a light that figures not to turn off any time soon.  Sensational catches all over the place and the ability to find pay dirt regularly.  This is no knock on Demaryius Thomas, who with his own new toy, Peyton Manning, was consistently a monster last year.  He only had two “unstartable” weeks all year, in weeks 3 and 15, and other than that was the beacon of consistency.

Going beyond the 2012 season, what has changed?  The Broncos have gone out and gotten another world class wide receiver in Wes Welker.  They have also gone into the draft and selected Montee Ball out of the University of Wisconsin and seem committed to having a smash mouth running approach.  I am not always a believer in football that adding more talent necessarily takes away stats from another player.  We all saw TJ Houshmanzadeh and Chad Johnson co-exist and bless their fantasy owners for many years, but with that being said I think there are a lot of mouths to feed in Denver.  Eric Decker and Wes Welker are the type of WR that Peyton Manning loves to throw the ball to over the middle.  Those are his Dallas Clarks’ and Austin Collies’ from years past in Indianapolis.  You also have a team in Denver that could be one of the more dominant teams in the NFL this year, which beckons the question of will there be blowout wins for them where they just are eating clock the entire second half?

Taking a long look at Bryant heading into 2013 I see nothing but clear skies and beautiful pastures.  He still has one of the most gun slinging, Brett Favre-like mentality QB in the NFL in Tony Romo.  They have not added really anyone of mention to the mix at the WR position.  While Miles Austin is a fine NFL WR, he clearly has seen his better days and has taken a major back seat to Bryant.  The Dallas Cowboys head into this season in a similar mode as they were last year.  I feel strongly they will need to throw with Tony Romo and throw often to stay in games, as they have been doing for quite some time and Bryant is possibly the only receiver in the NFL who could sniff the overall talent of Calvin Johnson right now.

The final thing to think about is potential injury concerns.  Both of these players have had their share of nagging injuries over their first 3 years.  Bryant has missed 5 games in total while Demaryius has missed 11, though both players played 16 games in 2012.  Thomas’s history is much scarier than Bryant’s.  Thomas has had concussions, major ankle injuries, a torn Achilles and a broken pinkie all in 3 plus years.  Bryant’s injuries have been a lot more of the minor variety with pulled hamstrings and quads.  He did hurt his back and fingers in late 2012 but showed a warrior like mentality saying that opponents would have to break his leg in order to keep him out.

When it is your turn to pick in mid round 2, say a prayer and hope Dez Bryant gets to you.  With all that being said, you can do a lot worse than drafting Demaryius Thomas who will most likely finish a top 5 WR as well.  Who do you like better?  Bryant or Thomas?

Fantasy Throwdown: Wes Welker vs. Danny Amendola
Draft Day Value: DeAngelo Williams vs. Jonathan Stewart


  1. Dk says:

    Bryant because he doesn’t have to compete with Welker and Decker for touches

  2. Randy says:

    Definitely Bryant. Honestly, my main struggle will be choosing between someone like Bryant or my 2nd RB in round 2. Do you have any such advice on draft strategy? 🙂

    • Hi Randy –

      I will put it like this. My bedrock principle in all fantasy sports was to take BEST player available rounds 1 through 3. I don’t think it is important to focus so much on position early on in a draft. If you are sitting there choosing between Dez Bryant and Steven Jackson, I think Dez may have more upside. My advice – forget position and pick who you think will get more points, even if that may be a qb.

  3. @thegreatspinks says:

    Give me Thomas. Higher character guy, and I’m taking Peyton Manning over Tony Romo. The idea that Thomas has to compete with Welker and Decker is folly. For starters, Witten had 8 less receptions than Welker, both are safety valves. Decker and a healthy Miles Austin aren’t that different either.
    Thomas is the go to guy in Denver.

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