Saints Offense Without Thomas
The Saints have two losses this season. Should it be considered a coincidence that both came in the first two games they played without Thomas? Probably not.
Sure, New Orleans still performed well in terms of points scored without Thomas, but a lot of that has to do with the defenses they were playing against.
The Raiders, Packers, Chargers, and Panthers have all had their issues with preventing points from being scored. When they faced the Bears, an actually strong defense, Brees averaged just 6.83 yards/pass attempt, while the Saints as a whole went 2-13 on third downs.
Thanks to the work done by several analytically-minded writers, mainly those at Pro Football Focus, we have been made aware that the most valuable position, outside of the quarterback, is the wide receiver position.
What Thomas does for the Saints offense cannot be replaced by anyone else.
You can scheme up yards-after-catch production or a few deep receptions, but when you have a stable, consistent chain mover who can constantly get open on his own, it makes life so much easier for an offense.