Julius Thomas on record TD pace

Julius Thomas scored twice against the Jets and has a TD in every game this season. Elsa/Getty Images

We might be witnessing another record-setting performance by a Denver Broncos player -- and it's somebody other than Peyton Manning this time.

Oh, sure, Manning completed his 504th, 505th and 506th career touchdown passes on Sunday, moving within two of Brett Favre's all-time record, but it was the man who caught two of them who is on a staggering pace: Julius Thomas.

With those two receiving touchdowns, Thomas has nine this season, the most by any tight end in history through his team's first five games and matching Calvin Johnson's record for a player at any position through five games (2011). They also put Thomas more than halfway to Rob Gronkowski's single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end (17); Thomas is on pace for 29, which would not only shatter Gronkowski's record, but also Randy Moss' overall single-season receiving touchdowns record (23, 2007).

With Jimmy Graham's health now in question, Thomas has asserted himself an outstanding candidate for No. 1 fantasy tight end status. Thomas has a position-best 79 fantasy points and has done it in just five games; the No. 2 tight end, Greg Olsen, has 67 and has scored those in six contests. Gronkowski is tied for fourth with 57. Thomas' seasonal pace for fantasy points is 253, which would be 20 more than Gronkowski had when he set the tight end record for a single season with 233 in 2011.

But Thomas is not the all-time leader in fantasy points by a tight end (post-1960) through five games:

The return of Cam Newton?

Through his first four games of 2014, Cam Newton seemingly wasn't his old self. Fresh off ankle surgery, as well as a hairline fracture in one of his ribs during the preseason, he amassed 14 carries for 42 yards and no touchdowns for Carolina. To put those numbers into perspective, they were not only his worst rushing totals during any four-game span in his four-year career, they were his worst by eight carries and 62 yards.

So while Newton's fantasy owners are surely celebrating his 33-point Week 6 outburst, the most important takeaway was his rushing stat line: 17 carries for 107 yards and a score. Those represented a 16-point fantasy contribution with his legs alone, the third-most he has contributed in a single game thus far.

They gave Newton 18 career games during which he contributed double-digit fantasy points via rushing stats, tying him with Randall Cunningham for the third-most by any quarterback since 1960. Michael Vick (25) and Steve Young (19) are the only two who had more, and Vick is also the only one who has more games of 15-plus rushing fantasy points (nine) than Newton's six (which is tied with Steve McNair and Tobin Rote for second place during that time span).

During his career, Newton has accrued 366 of his 1,031 fantasy points via rushing statistics, a healthy 35.5 percent.


• Speaking of Peyton Manning: He's not on pace to shatter any season records; that's more a product of how high he set the bar in 2013 rather than how he has performed through five games in 2014. With his 21 fantasy points in Week 5, Manning has 115, and is on a season pace of 368. Only four quarterbacks since 1960 have scored more in a single season: Manning, with 406 in 2013; Aaron Rodgers, with 385 in 2011; Drew Brees, with 380 in 2011; and Tom Brady, with 378 in 2007.

Incidentally, Manning isn't even the leader in fantasy points by a quarterback this season. That honor belongs to Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, with 146, putting him on pace for 389 points, which would be second-most at the position since 1960.

• More records: Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray became only the second player in history to manage six consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts to begin a season, joining Jim Brown (1958). Still, Murray has a long way to go to match Brown's 1958 campaign in terms of fantasy prowess:

Brown, 1958: 184 fantasy points in his first six games
Murray, 2014: 116 fantasy points in his first six games

Brown would have finished the 1958 season with 267 fantasy points in 12 games, using ESPN standard scoring settings (NFL seasons were just 12 games then). That would be a 356-point pace in a 16-game schedule, a total exceeded only four times by any running back since 1960. Murray is on pace for 309 fantasy points, which would rank 19th among running backs since 1960.