Fantasy Football: Calvin Johnson vs Demaryius Thomas


In a perfect world for Georgia Tech football fans, when they make their Fantasy Football teams for the 2014 NFL season, they would love to have both Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas on the same team.

Any Georgia Tech fan that was able to build their fantasy football team with both of these receivers in the wide receiver slot deserves some kind of “General Manager of the Year” award  or a round of adult beverages on the house at the local pub.

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Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas are ranked No. 1 and No.2 among receivers in most fantasy football projections going into 2014. The question is “Who is the better receiver to own at the end of the day, Calvin Johnson or Demaryius Thomas?”.

People are going to say that there is really no argument to be made here.  Calvin Johnson is clearly the better receiver in Fantasy Football and you would be an idiot to pass him up for Demaryius Thomas.

Hold up just second! It is not as clear cut as you think going into this season. Before making that judgment, one would have to look at each receivers situation going into 2014 and then make a decision.

“Megatron’s” situation is going to be a little bit different going into this year simply because there are going to be a few more weapons at Matthew Stafford’s disposal going into 2014.

Johnson was targeted 156 times by Matthew Stafford in 2013 which is an average of 11 targets per game. If Johnson played a full season he would have had an estimated 178 targets on the year.

With the addition of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron into the mix, this is going to be virtually the first time that Johnson has actually played with legitimate receiving options opposite himself.

What does this mean? Calvin Johnson could actually face less triple-teams and see more double-teams this year. That does sound crazy to say, but the additions of Tate and Ebron could make life easier for Megatron.

The flipside to that, however, is that with new weapons on the field, as well as a new coaching philosophy on offense, Stafford might be a little more apt to look at other options besides Johnson on the field.

That is where the potential targets this season factor in.

If Johnson was estimated to get 178 targets in a full season of work last season with virtually no other receiving options on the field, with the options on the field this season, that number could and should shrink down to around the 156 targets that he got through 14 games last season.

Now of course 156 targets is not bad at all, but consider that just two seasons ago in 2012, Johnson was targeted 205 times and you begin to see a possible decline in his targeting from Stafford.

The possible decline in targets is going to be a good thing for Johnson, since it should keep him healthier, but it is a bad look for fantasy owners since, in the end, the name of the game is “touches”.

Demaryius Thomas is going to be going through the opposite situation.

There is going to be “addition by subtraction”, meaning that Thomas should be getting additional targets, because of the subtraction of Eric Decker signing with the New York Jets.

Thomas has been the model of consistency at wide receiver ever since Peyton Manning took over under center.

Demaryius has been durable, playing in 16 games each of the last two seasons. Also, his stat line looks almost identical down to the amount of targets.

In 2012, Thomas was targeted 141 times by Manning. Thomas caught 94 passes for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In 2013, Thomas was targeted 143 times by Manning. Thomas caught 92 passes for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Did you see the consistency? Now you have to factor in that those targets to Thomas should go up with Decker running routes in New York.

True, the Broncos did add Emmanuel Sanders to the receiving corps, but he has to build a rapport with Manning first so his targets are going to be limited early on.

Thomas has the trust of Manning already, and with that comes more passes being thrown Thomas’ way.

Factor in that Thomas is going to have a chip on his shoulder because John Elway still has not given him a new deal, and Thomas is going to have something to prove, though he has proven it already.

This could have been summed up by which QB you would want your receiver catching the rock from out of Manning and Stafford, but that would have taken the fun out of this.

When it comes down to it, you would have to trust Manning and Thomas more than Stafford and Johnson, that is why in the end for 2014 Thomas is a better fantasy pick than Johnson.

This whole article was splitting hairs though!