Drew Brees has only missed one game due to injury his entire time with the New Orleans Saints. That is set to change moving forward, as news broke that Brees is going to miss at least six weeks after suffering ligament damage in his throwing hand against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. This news affects Alvin Kamara‘s and Michael Thomas‘, fantasy football outlook. Both are usually top-five options at their respective positions. Her is the Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas fantasy outlook without Drew Brees in the lineup.
Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas Fantasy Outlook After Drew Brees Injury
Kamara’s Week one stats compared to his Week two stats are very different. The one similarity is that he had 13 carries in both games. However, in Week one he went for 97 yards whereas in Week two he only plodded for 45. In addition, Kamara only caught one pass in Week two, versus seven passes against the Houston Texans in Week one.
It is very likely that the game against the Rams was his floor, but that may not bode well, considering the Rams got absolutely demolished by Christian McCaffrey the week before. The Carolina Panthers runner gouged the Rams defense for over 200 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns
On one hand, it could have been a point of focus for Los Angeles to not get handled by two dynamic running backs in consecutive weeks. But, the absence of Brees probably had a lot more to do with it. Week two, Kamara went up against stacked boxes on 38.46 percent of his runs. Compare that to just 7.69 in Week one. Teams just don’t fear Teddy Bridgewater the same way they do Brees. Until Brees is back under center it will be tough sledding for Kamara on the ground.
To further complicate things, Bridgewater didn’t target Kamara in the passing game like Brees did. Kamara saw eight targets in the pass game Week one, but only three targets in Week two. Getting the ball to Kamara has to be a focus in practice this week for Bridgewater, but it is tough to predict how that will translate on game day.
As of now, Kamara takes a big hit in fantasy. He still has elite talent and his versatility will help his floor. But the team will zone in on shutting him down to force Bridgewater to beat them through the air. Kamara is still a no-doubt RB1, but not quite the top-three option he usually is. Luckily, Brees returns by the end of the year, so those with Kamara on their rosters will just have to wait it out.
Thomas probably fares a bit better than Kamara without Brees in the lineup. Thomas had thirteen targets and ten catches in both Week one and Week two. He had about thirty yards less in Week two, but there shouldn’t be a ton of emphasis on that though. Bridgewater will undoubtedly continue to target the talented wide receiver, keeping his floor relatively high.
However, his ceiling takes a huge hit, mainly in the touchdown department. The Saints only managed to muster a measly nine points with Bridgewater in command, all of which came on field goals.
Last season, the Saints offense was one of the most explosive in the league, and they usually finished drives with touchdowns. In fact, the Saints only scored less than 20 points one time all of last year. Brees only had two games in 2018 where he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. This helped Thomas get to nine receiving touchdowns, tied for the seventh-most in the NFL last season.
Another thing to keep in mind is Thomas’ schedule until Brees returns. Over the next six weeks, New Orleans faces quite a few teams with decent corners. The Dallas Cowboys, who the Saints face in Week four, have Byron Jones. Week six he faces Jalen Ramsey and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Then in Week eight he see the Arizona Cardinals, who will have Patrick Peterson back from suspension by then.
It could be rough sledding for Thomas for a while.
The Bottom Line
Thomas’ situation is a little murkier considering the matchups he is facing soon. While Kamara will get by on volume, Thomas might not have that luxury. Bridgwater might get into trouble if he force-feeds his top receiver, especially against corners like Ramsey and Peterson. Those with him on their squad might want to look into trading soon. They might have to let him get a full game under his belt with Bridgewater in command though.
It is also worth noting that even when Brees comes back, Thomas has some tough matchups. He faces Desmond Trufant twice, and Richard Sherman Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers. It might take a package deal to get a good return for Thomas, but it could be worth exploring.