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Julius Thomas fumble call was the wrong one (GIF)

Julius Thomas catchThe referees made a bad call by determining Julius Thomas fumbled in the second quarter of the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos playoff game on Sunday, but luckily the call didn’t hurt the Broncos on the scoreboard.

Denver had a 3rd-and-2 at midfield and Peyton Manning threw to Thomas. Thomas seemed to be bobbling the ball and never really had control, but the calling on the field was reception and fumble because he was stripped. After reviewing the play, the referees said the ruling on the field would stand.

Play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz laid out the three options for the call: incompletion, catch and down by contact, or reception and fumble. Very few people thought that they would call it a fumble, because it either looked like an incompletion or that Thomas was down before being stripped. But in what seemed to be a “ball don’t lie” type of twist, Chargers kicker Nick Novak slipped and missed on his 53-yard field goal attempt.

GIF via GIFD Sports

Julius Thomas nearly lost Peyton Manning’s record-breaking touchdown ball

Peyton-Manning-Julius-ThomasPeyton Manning set an NFL record for touchdown passes in a single season on Sunday with a beautiful 25-yard strike to tight end Julius Thomas, who deserves credit for making a nice over-the-shoulder grab. However, Thomas almost blew one of his most important assignments after scoring.

[WATCH: Peyton Manning breaks Tom Brady's TD pass record]

When Thomas got back to his feet after securing the touchdown, he dropped the ball on the ground and went to celebrate. Fortunately for the third-year player out of Portland State, teammate Eric Decker was quick to scoop it up. Decker stuffed the ball under his jersey and headed toward the sideline to give it to Manning.

“I dropped the ball so fast to do my usual thing and Deck picked the ball up so fast,” Thomas said, via Anwar S. Richardson of Yahoo! Sports. “I was like, ‘Why did Deck picked the ball up so fast?’ I’m not paying any attention and I came back to the sidelines and I’m sitting down on the bench and somebody said, ‘That was the one!’ Maybe I shouldn’t have dropped it so carelessly, I should’ve kept it.”

Crisis averted. Manning, who said he didn’t see Decker scoop the ball up and hide it under his jersey, joked that he was glad Thomas was unaware of the situation.

“Julius, it wouldn’t have surprised me if he had handed it to some babe up in the stands and tried to get her phone number in exchange for the ball,” Manning said. “That’d be right up Julius’ alley. That’s pretty in line with his thinking often times. Great catch, great route by him and, like I said, Decker’s catch was awesome, that’s probably one of the best ones of the year in my opinion.”

The fact that he used the word “babe” is so Peyton Manning it hurts. Kudos to Decker for paying attention. Thomas almost learned a valuable lesson the hard way.

Photo via @cjzero

Week 2 fantasy pickups include Julius Thomas, Julian Edelman, Terrelle Pryor

Julius ThomasWith the fantasy season having officially kicked off, we here at LBS are going to try to give you some advice throughout the season to help you win your leagues. Starting last Thursday and continuing into the weekend, a ton of fresh faces and even some older faces emerged as must-have fantasy pickups for Week 2. Those are the players we’ll be highlighting in this week’s column.

Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos: Many of you may have found yourselves checking your stat sheets and saying, “Wait, I thought DeMaryius Thomas was No. 88″ during Denver’s win over the Ravens last Thursday. The No. 80 you saw running all over the field untouched was Julius Thomas, a third-year tight end who — like Jimmy Graham — played basketball in college. Thomas caught two touchdown passes of more than 20 yards each in the second quarter before most of us could even figure out who he was. We now know that he’s a player who plays a very thin fantasy position and clearly has developed chemistry with Peyton Manning during training camp. He should be the No. 1 add heading into Week 2.

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots: Edelman has been a player Tom Brady trusts for several seasons now, but he could be more valuable than ever this year. Danny Amendola was clearly Brady’s favorite target in New England’s Week 1 win over the Bills, but he is already dealing with a groin issue that is expected to keep him out against the Jets. Rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins hauled in only four of his 14 targets against Buffalo and Rob Gronkowski is not expected back just yet. Shane Vereen, who is probably a better pass-catcher than runner, is also out for several weeks with a broken wrist. Someone has to catch balls on Thursday and possibly going forward. Edelman is the safest bet to be that someone.

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Julius Thomas a must-pick up fantasy player

Julius ThomasJulius Thomas was one of the players fantasy owners had their eye on entering the Denver Broncos’ season-opening game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, and he proved he is more than worth a spot on your fantasy roster.

Thomas caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Denver’s 49-27 whooping over the Ravens. Thomas showed what he could do in the second quarter when he was targeted on consecutive plays. First, Peyton Manning hit him for a 44-yard completion. On the next play, the two connected for a 23-yard touchdown over the middle.

Thomas had four catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns by halftime, which is probably when several owners looked to pick him up in fantasy. If he’s still available in your league, grab him.

Thomas was a fourth-round pick of the Broncos out of Portland State in 2011. He was buried on the team’s depth chart and missed most of last season after undergoing ankle surgery. He entered Thursday with one career catch, but he should post solid numbers this season.

Denver has plenty of receivers competing for catchers in the offense. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker will all see plenty of passes. But Manning will still throw to Julius plenty, especially when the tight end has single coverage because the other threats are receiving more attention.