Michael Thomas set records as the lead wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints in 2019 with Drew Brees. He set an NFL record with 149 receptions while leading the league in yardage at 1,725. Suffice to say; everyone expected more greatness in the next two years. In 2020, he played in seven games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. He was not playing well in the games he played as well. Little did anyone know that he would skip getting a procedure on his ankle until it was too late. That would cause him to miss the entire 2021 season. After a season and a half off, Thomas is finally healthy and playing once again, so what can we expect?
Prior Seasons Recap
As mentioned above, Thomas was out for the last two years. In 2020, he put up 40 catches on 55 targets for 438 yards with zero touchdowns. He maintained his career average of yards per reception at 11.0 but struggled to do much. There would always be a decrease from his record-setting year but averaging only 7.8 targets per game after 11.5 the year prior was unexpected. So was the fact that Thomas decreased his average yardage per game by more than 45 yards a game. Now, he will be without Drew Brees and two years older, so what can we expect from an aging Thomas in an offense with more competition for targets like Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry?
2022 Season Projections
The Saints’ offense is in flux this year. They’re awaiting word on if Alvin Kamara will be suspended for his arrest in Vegas during the Pro Bowl. Likewise, how QB Jameis Winston does post-ACL tear remains to be seen. They added WRs Landry and Olave to help support the offense. Thomas could find himself as the third option on the offense, or at least the second. This is the first year without Sean Payton helming the team in over 14 years. Changes will occur. This is despite the hiring of Payton Disciple, Dennis Allen.
I still project Thomas for a solid season at 29 years old and coming off nearly two entire missed seasons. He won’t be the same player he was when he was younger. Yet, he should lead the team in targets and receptions. I would be surprised if he doesn’t unless an injury occurs. I predict he misses two games at some point just because of the uncertainty. Those stats equate to a 14.3 PPR ppg score. That’s a good number for a WR3 in dynasty.
Buy/Sell Michael Thomas
I can guarantee that if you held onto Thomas this long, it would be hard to trade him. However, I would. I would hold him until after Week 1 or right before the regular season. His price will never be higher. He’s 29 and coming off multiple injury-plagued seasons. If you can snag two seconds out of him, do it. Thomas won’t rise in value due to his age and history. You acquire him only if you want a WR3 for your flex as a contender. He’s a risky play this year and for the future.
Thomas is finally healthy after two injury-lost seasons. At 29, he will be pushing to play in an NFL game for the first time since he was 27. Thomas will have to adjust to a new-look offense with changes at QB, WR, and coaching. If he can stay healthy, he should be on pace for a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 finish. That’s a big if. That’s why it’s worth avoiding him in dynasty. If you have him, I will sell him now. Take the win rather than be stuck with a sinking ship.
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As always, May the Force be with You…