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FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

Fantasy spotlight looks at the potential of New Orleans’ Michael Thomas this week. I have been waiting for this issue of Fantasy Spotlight because I am really excited to see what type of year Thomas is going to have in 2017. We will dissect his 2016 season and look forward to predictions for 2017 as well as where you should consider drafting him.

2016 Stats and Analysis

Michael Thomas had an impressive rookie season with New Orleans as he recorded 157 fantasy points in ESPN standard leagues and was the ninth-ranked wide receiver of the year. All this while missing one game, adjusting to a new league and system as well as being a No. 2 receiver behind Brandin Cooks. He averaged 9.8 fantasy points per game and was a consistent threat to opposing defenses. Thomas had eight games of more than 10 points and registered nine touchdowns. The lowest amount of receptions he had during a game was four but was looked upon by Drew Brees consistently. These are very good numbers for a rookie and a foundation has been set to see a big time jump in production in 2017.

2017 Prediction

I personally think Thomas is going to have a monster year. First of all, Cooks is gone. This elevates Thomas as not only a No. 1 receiver on his pass-friendly team but also a very serious contender for a WR1 in fantasy football. He will see the majority of the targets and with a year under his belt I believe will be able to adjust to defenses and be more prepared to blow the lid off defenses. Thomas has proven that he is capable of catching a major portion of targets (77 percent) and has the explosiveness to turn medium sized plays into big ones. Assuming Drew Brees doesn’t have a large falloff (because he is getting up there in years), I think Thomas is going to be the go-to guy in New Orleans.

You may wonder how having Adrian Peterson as running back affects Thomas’ value. This is a valid point, but I don’t think there is an easy answer. Mark Ingram wasn’t bad last year, but obviously with Drew Brees as your quarterback as an offensive coordinator you are going to lean toward the pass more often than not. However, I think Peterson will add a new dimension to the offense that will cause a major headache for defenses. Peterson will cause teams to respect the run game and open up lanes for Brees to pick defenses apart, which will lead to a major uptick in receptions and possibilities for Thomas. However, anywhere near the goal line New Orleans now has a very effective running back that the team can trust punch it in. Whereas last year or years before, the team might just trust Brees to throw it in and make a play. This could possibly reduce the number of touches and touchdowns Thomas receives near the endzone.

Conclusion

Given all that information, I still feel like Thomas is going to be big time this year. Drew Brees is just too good not to utilize the pass in a big way and Thomas built that chemistry with his quarterback last year. That will pay off this year, and as the new No. 1 receiver I think Thomas could very well put up WR1 numbers. The best part? I think that if you play is smart you could very possibly get Thomas for a WR2 price. He will be a guy I think most are aware of in the draft, but won’t make a point to go out of their way to grab. Thomas is a great target to get immense value from and really beef up your team with fantasy studs. Take a slight risk on Thomas and I think he will make will become one of the best bargains in fantasy this year.

Michael Thomas Prediction: WR1/2, Draft in Round 3 or later

I would love your input on my articles, feel free to send me a message or tweet me at @_daAdamBomb_ for advice or to suggest a player to put in the spotlight for the next article.

About Adam Stewart

Adam is one of our summer guest writers. We hope you enjoy his perspective.