Going into training camp for the 2014 season, the Denver Broncos had 4 tight ends under contract who were on the roster for the Super Bowl. Shortly into camp, the Broncos released the most established TE on the roster, Joel Dreessen, due to lingering knee issues that would cause him to miss the season. That left the team with 3 established tight ends who were also the only tight ends to make the final roster.
Last year, Julius Thomas set the football world on fire with a breakout season. Jacob Tamme has been a consistent receiver throughout his career and has the most time served with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. Virgil Green has seen very little playing time before this season, mostly as a blocker and has been underutilized as a receiving threat.
Against the St. Louis Rams this past Sunday, Thomas went down in the first half of the game, and with him went the Broncos aerial attack. Tamme replaced him, seeing 10 targets, while catching 4 balls. Manning repeatedly forced balls to Tamme that were not catchable, as Tamme was not credited with a drop. Tamme is capable of filling the void at tight end and becomes a mid-tier TE1 for Sunday's contest, if Thomas is a no-go.
The other tight end, Green, is a general unknown when it comes to his receiving chops. He has missed the past few games due to a calf injury that has dogged him since training camp. I have wrote in the past of Green's potential and his elite athleticism.
Sunday may be his chance to showcase his abilities, if he's active. If tomorrow comes and Green is active, while Thomas is inactive, I am okay with starting Green as an emergency replacement for Thomas, as he may very well have his coming out party against the Dolphins.
If you are a Thomas owner and he is unable to play, the long and short of it is you are in a unpleasant situation. If you have yet to find an adequate replacement and are in a deeper league, the Broncos backups may be your best options on short notice.