Rapid React: Demaryius Thomas Traded to Texans (Fantasy Football)
Just ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, long-time Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas will be traded to the Houston Texans. The teams will swap seventh-round picks next year, and Denver will receive Houston’s 2019 fourth-round pick. Thomas had been involved in trade rumors for weeks leading up to the move. The Broncos made the move to free up cap space and get something in exchange for Thomas, who the team did not plan on bringing back in 2019. The nine-year vet ranks third in Broncos history in receptions, and second in receiving yards and receiving TDs.
The move made complete sense for Houston who just lost Will Fuller to a torn ACL. Rookie wideout Keke Coutee is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury, and his status is uncertain for Week 9. In the midst of a five-game win streak, the Texans landed a receiver with years of high-end production and a Super Bowl pedigree to pair opposite All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins. With Deshaun Watson just hitting his stride, this is a home-run addition for Houston.
In a very ironic twist of fate, Thomas’ first game as a Texan will be played at Mile High against the Broncos this Sunday. This is surely one of the most exciting trades of the season, and now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at how this move will impact the fantasy landscape of some Broncos and Texans players.
Demaryius Thomas (WR – HOU)
Thomas has been underwhelming thus far based on preseason expectations, but he has still played some good football. He has averaged a healthy seven targets per game in Denver this year, racking up a 36-402-3 line in eight games. Despite his modest stat line in 2018, Thomas has a proven record of performing at an elite level. From 2012 – 2017, he averaged over 1,300 yards receiving and 8.5 TDs per season. He has played second-fiddle to Emmanuel Sanders this season with Case Keenum at the helm, but his value will go way up in Houston with Deshaun Watson throwing him passes.
Watson just torched the Dolphins for five TDs last Thursday night, and he looks like he’s back to 2017 form. Will Fuller leaves 6.5 targets per game up for grabs, and with Keke Coutee uncertain this week, expect Thomas to immediately get involved in a revenge game in Denver. After Week 9, DT gets a bye to become acclimated to Watson and the playbook. He’s a high-end WR3 with major upside.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR – HOU)
He’s a top-5 play at WR every week, and this trade doesn’t change that. Hop continues to excel at the highest level, and he had a catch last week that would’ve made Odell Beckham Jr. turn his head in disbelief. At the halfway point in the season, he’s on pace for over 1,500 yards and 10+ TDs.
The loss of Will Fuller was a blow to Hopkins’ outlook, likely drawing more double coverage. With Demaryius Thomas on the field, Hop should still be able to draw some one-on-ones. He’s a set and forget player, and his production won’t take a hit.
Keke Coutee (WR – HOU)
It was fun while it lasted. Coutee burst onto the scene in Week 4, grabbing 11 balls for 109 yards in his NFL debut. He followed that up with a 6-51-1 line in Week 5 before two forgettable performances in Weeks 6 – 7. He missed Week 8 with a hamstring injury, and he may not play in Week 9.
Coutee is a promising rookie, and he was a hot waiver wire addition this week as the de facto number two in Houston. His value takes a huge hit with the addition of Demaryius Thomas, and it’s unlikely the Texans rush him back into action. He’ll be a WR4/5 with upside when he returns, but his outlook is trending down following this trade. Save your FAAB bucks for someone else.
Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU)
Watson’s value should rise after the Texans acquired Demaryius Thomas this week. The move gives Houston two possession receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Thomas, and neither are injury-prone like Will Fuller and Keke Coutee. Watson seems to be getting better as the season goes on, and he looks to be fully recovered from his torn ACL that ended his promising rookie campaign. Continue to fire Watson up as a QB1. This passing attack will be very fun to watch.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR – DEN)
He’s surprisingly the overall WR3 in half-PPR scoring this year, and he’s been Case Keenum’s go-to receiver all year long. He’s gone 50-660-3 adding a rushing and passing TD to his already productive season. He leads the Broncos in targets (65) only narrowly over former teammate Demaryius Thomas (56). Those targets have to go to someone, and the receiving corps is thin behind Sanders and rookie Courtland Sutton.
Sanders was already a WR1 with his excellent play this year, and he should see an even heavier target volume moving forward. Even with more defensive attention headed his way, expect Sanders to finish this season as a top-12 wideout.
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
The talented rookie from SMU was taken in the second round of this year’s draft to be Denver’s star WR of the future. He’s had a good showing considering his third spot in the pecking order in the Bronco’s passing attack. Sutton only has 17 receptions on the year, but he’s turned them into 324 yards and two scores. He’s third in the NFL with 19.1 yards per reception, and his upside is great because of his big-play abilities.
Sutton will slide into a starting role at WR opposite Emmanuel Sanders, and he’ll absorb a fair share of Demaryius Thomas’ seven targets per game. Denver’s schedule after the Week 10 bye is great, featuring games at the Chargers, Raiders, and 49ers, and home games against the Browns and Steelers. Pencil him in as a WR3, but expect some big games down the stretch.
Case Keenum (QB – DEN)
He hasn’t been a startable fantasy QB this season, and losing Demaryius Thomas does nothing to help his value.