Nobody saw their dynasty fantasy football stock dip more over the past year than New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas. The two-time All-Pro battled injury and inconsistency all year long and finished his season with a goose egg against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Drew Brees almost certainly set to retire, some Michael Thomas owners are panicking about his future outlook. However, a further dive shows that there is no reason to worry about the long-term value of the superstar wide receiver.
Fantasy Football: Don’t Worry About Michael Thomas in Dynasty
To say Michael Thomas didn’t live up to expectations in 2020 would be the understatement of the century. Widely considered the WR1 prior to the season, Thomas finished the regular season as the WR95 with just 40 receptions for 438 yards and no touchdowns. This obviously isn’t what fantasy owners expected, as Thomas finished as one of the biggest busts in the league.
However, almost all of his poor performances can be explained away by a hilarious amount of bad injury luck. Thomas suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 1, forcing him to miss the next seven games. Even when he returned, he wasn’t himself and re-aggravated the injury later in the season. He returned for the postseason, but still wasn’t fully healthy and now has to undergo multiple surgeries to fix his busted ankle.
Saints’ WR Michael Thomas is likely to have surgeries on both the torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his high ankle this offseason, per source. He knew it was likely Drew Brees’ last year and didn’t want to miss out trying win a Super Bowl with him.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 19, 2021
Michael Thomas is far from the first player to try and play through a high-ankle sprain. Historically speaking, players that suffer this type of injury never look quite right upon their initial return but find their old form in the following season. Ultimately, this disappointing season isn’t all that uncommon for a player in his position. A full recovery typically takes 10 to 12 weeks, so Thomas should be back to his old self by the start of the regular season.
The Quarterback Situation
Of course, Thomas returning to health is only one part of the equation. A big reason for Thomas’ success over the past few years is his unparalleled chemistry with Drew Brees, and that won’t be there in 2021. Fortunately, we have a pretty good idea of who will be there, and we know Thomas can succeed with another quarterback under center.
Chances are, Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill will be the starting quarterback for the 2021 New Orleans Saints, and Thomas should be able to be an elite wide receiver with either option. Sean Payton chose Hill over Winston earlier in the year, so it’s safe to assume that Hill will have the first shot to win the starting job.
Thomas was the WR15 in PPR during his four games with Hill while averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game. This is obviously solid production, but it’s also worth noting that he did this while clearly not 100% and without finding the endzone. Additionally, one of these four games was the infamous Kendall Hinton game, and the lopsided nature of that affair caused the Saints to stop throwing the ball early in the contest.
The fact Thomas played this well under these circumstances should make you feel great about his odds of sustained success in 2021. However, this wasn’t the first time Thomas thrived without Brees running the offense. Brees missed five games in 2019, forcing the Saints to roll with a very rusty Teddy Bridgewater. Even with the subpar quarterbacking, Thomas recorded 42 receptions for 551 yards and three touchdowns over Bridgewater’s five starts. If extrapolated over a full 16-game sample, Thomas would’ve recorded 134 receptions for 1,763 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Ultiamtely, this is all one long way of saying that Michael Thomas is going to have a great year in 2021. He should be back to full strength in 2021, and he doesn’t need Drew Brees to be an elite fantasy wideout. Hold on to Thomas in dynasty, and try to pick him up everywhere you don’t have him.
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