Peyton Manning is 3 touchdown passes away from adding his name to another record. The chase for 509 is a true look at Manning's greatness. If he reaches the mark Sunday, it will be in his 246th game, which would be 56 games faster than Brett Favre. It can officially be said that Manning is an anomaly, one which will never grace a football field again after his illustrious career comes to an end.
I cannot in good conscience end this introduction on a positive note. A certain player is gnawing at me; Julius Thomas. Oh, Julius Thomas, you frustrating man. Why won't you block? As Shannon Sharpe once said, "he can't block the sun out of his eye." It's frustrating that Thomas is putting up record-breaking numbers for a tight end.
Yes, it is frustrating. Allow me to explain why. Thomas is not an elite player. Elite players do not post a +4.5 receiver rating according to ProFootballFocus, but a -3.5 blocking rating. Elite players post more than a single 100-yard receiving game. Watch any other game around the NFL, and you'll most likely be treated to tight end play where blocking is not omitted.
Thomas recently said "it's so easy" after catching a touchdown pass, referring to how easy it is to catch TD passes. My question to Thomas is, why can't blocking be "so easy?" What makes catching touchdowns more important than blocking? Most importantly, why is there no one to hold Thomas accountable? Enough of that, lets get started with our Start 'Em/Sit 'Em.
Start 'EmJuwan Thompson
This may come as a surprise, as I do not see the Broncos RBs having much success as they did last week against a stout Niners run defense and considering my views on who to sit (below). That being said, I fully expect Thompson to get more work this week than Hillman, due to his physicality. Thompson is a big guy. He's strong and looks to initiate contact. I expect him to have a couple touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air.
It's time, right? Eventally, some team is going to double team Julius Thomas. Surely it's going be the Niners. For whatever reason, Welker has not been targeted much since returning from injury. Look for that to change, as the Broncos face a suspect group of corners. Welker is my bet to catch Peyton Manning's record-setting 509th TD pass. Time to dust Welker off and place him in your starting lineup.
From a fantasy perspective, I am a huge Ronnie Hillman fan. He has great speed, acceleration and agility, to go along with solid vision. In his first career start, Hillman was the first Bronco running back of the season to rush for 100 yards. He looked explosive and displayed great vision against a solid run defense. That being said, don't bank on Hillman repeating the results of his first start. Denver faces a Niners team that sports the 5th-ranked run defense, allowing just 79.8 yards per game, to go along with 3 touchdowns on the season. While I am still a big fan of Hillman and a huge believer in him, I advise sitting him this week.
Sanders posted his worst numbers as a Bronco against a suspect New York Jets pass defense. I don't like his matchup this week against a big, physical defense with great safety play. Chances are, Sanders will still end up starting for you, but be forewarned; this is not an ideal matchup.