New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is in the midst of one of the most impressive three-year stretches in NFL history. Since entering the league in 2016, Thomas has an NFL record 321 receptions which is an average of just under seven catches a game. In PPR formats, Thomas is already netting you six to eight points just off catches. That kind of PPR value is enormous. He is the clear-cut number one option in New Orleans and they seem perfectly fine with that as they elected not to add any wide receivers via the draft or free agency. After what has already been an incredible start to his career, how much better can Thomas get? Let’s dive in and find out.
Michael Thomas 2019 Fantasy Football Preview
Michael Thomas was one of the most unstoppable weapons in the entire NFL in 2018, finishing the year with 125 catches, 1,405 yards, and nine touchdowns. He was looked to over and over from quarterback Drew Brees and he did not disappoint, posting an otherworldly 85 percent catch rate.
What makes his season performance even more impressive was the fact that he did all of this while seeing plenty of double teams due to the lack of talent surrounding him at wide receiver. Each and every week, defenses entered the game knowing Thomas was who they had to stop, and they simply couldn’t do it.
Whether he was double-teamed or not, Thomas almost always came down with the ball and then still managed to do real damage after the catch. Of Thomas’ 1,405 yards, 477 of them came after the catch. That’s nearly one-third of his total yardage. Any time a receiver can be a threat with the ball in his hands, his value skyrockets and Thomas is as threatening with the ball as it gets.
Looking ahead to the 2019 season, I don’t see much reason for change. As I mentioned earlier, the Saints haven’t added any new pieces to the wide receiver room and Thomas is on the verge of signing a massive deal that should keep him really happy in New Orleans. The only new pass catcher for the Saints will be tight end Jared Cook who might actually help Thomas when it comes down to the red zone. Teams have been doubling Thomas constantly down there which has made it difficult for him to get into the end zone. That should change this year. Teams will have to pay attention to the big-bodied Cook which should give Thomas more one-on-one opportunities.
One of, if not the biggest, factor in a wide receiver’s success is his quarterback. Thomas has a pretty good one in Brees, ever hear of him? I always feel more comfortable with a receiver knowing he has a trustworthy quarterback throwing him the ball. For Thomas, he has an all-time great throwing to him which should keep him in the elite receiver group as long as Brees continues to play.
Another huge element to this offense is do-it-all running back Alvin Kamara. Having such a tremendous weapon in the backfield always benefits receivers because defenses will be forced to commit more men to the run giving Thomas plenty of one on one chances. What makes things even better is the fact that Kamara is such a threat in the passing game that defenses can’t just put a linebacker on him. Defensive coordinators will need to commit safeties to cover Kamara on a weekly basis giving Thomas a lot more room over the top.
Average Draft Position
Michael Thomas is currently the third wide receiver coming off the board (10th overall) behind only DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams. Getting a talent like Thomas at 10 would be a massive steal. He has the talent and volume to potentially finish as the league’s top receiver and you’d be getting him at a discount at 10th. A dream scenario would be to grab Thomas at that 10-spot range and then get yourself a top running back a few picks later in the second round. In a pass-happy NFL with PPR scoring taking over, you must prioritize the wide receiver position. Targeting Michael Thomas in the first round would be one of the best ways to ensure that your team is competitive all season long.