New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas will likely be one of the most coveted wide receivers in fantasy this season, but is he worth the risk?
With Alvin Kamara possibly missing time due to a suspension, Thomas is arguably the next best Saint to pick on your fantasy team, yet the uber-talented wideout carries an enormous amount of bust potential.
The 2019 Offensive Player of the Year is two years removed from his last NFL game in 2020, and he stepped onto the field just seven times that season due to a nagging ankle injury. It’s also worth noting for fantasy purposes that Thomas hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 16 of the 2019 season, so don’t expect his production to miraculously and exponentially grow.
As with many players returning from long-term injury, the trend in fantasy football predicts very middling overall production from Thomas in 2022, as he’s forecasted to score far below the number of fantasy points he averaged in his last two full seasons (345.1 points).
Considering Thomas’ advanced age and injury history, several fantasy experts are down on Michael Thomas including Sports Illustrated’s Michael Fabiano.
"Would anyone in the fantasy world really be that surprised if either Landry or Olave led the Saints wide receivers in targets this season? I would argue no, and their ADPs are 113.6 (Olave) and 133.8 (Landry), making them far more likely to be better bargains than Thomas.I’m not suggesting that the former fantasy superstar should be off your board completely, but with continued health questions and a certain decline in targets, I couldn’t confidently draft Thomas as more than a No. 3 wide receiver or flex starter."
Saints’ Michael Thomas has extremely high bust potential in fantasy this season
According to the National Fantasy Football Championships website, Thomas is currently ranked as the 37th wide receiver coming off the board. Cardinals’ DeAndrew Hopkins sits higher than Thomas, and Hopkins will miss six games due to suspension this year.
Any fantasy manager knows formerly injured players are walking liabilities, and Thomas unfortunately is no exception.
What doesn’t help his fantasy case is the numerous changes taking place in Saints camp this offseason — Dennis Allen is the new head coach, Jameis Winston is the starting quarterback, and Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave will likely start as WR2 and WR3 on the field.
Part of Thomas’ 2019 unbridled success could be attributed to Sean Payton’s coaching and Drew Brees’ trusty arm, and this upcoming season Thomas will have to work harder to establish chemistry with Winston, who has a bit of a streaky record himself.
On top of that, Thomas will face much more competition for targets with Landry and Olave in the lineup, and the jury’s still out on Thomas’ exact return date. His rehab has reportedly been going well and the star receiver could be healthy enough to start in Week 1, but lasting the entire 17-game season? That’s a tall order to ask from someone who’s been out of the game for the past two years.
In short, the fantasy experts seem unwilling to invest significant draft capital on Thomas and for good reason. He’s a high-stakes, high-reward player who seems more likely to break than make a fantasy roster in 2022.