Michael Thomas is one of the most interesting fantasy players to evaluate this season. In 2019, he posted an absurd 149-1,725-9 line, making him an easy first-round pick heading into last year. Last season, between injuries and disciplinary issues, Thomas was limited to seven games and finished with a 40-438-0 line. It was his first time in five seasons playing less than 15 games. This off-season, Thomas underwent ankle surgery and will reportedly miss the first few weeks of the regular season. So should you draft Michael Thomas in the middle rounds of your fantasy football drafts?
2021 Fantasy Football Profile: Michael Thomas
There really aren’t enough superlatives to say about a healthy Michael Thomas. If you take out last year as an outlier, Thomas’ averages over his other four seasons are 117.5 receptions, 1,378 yards, and 8 touchdowns. That’s ridiculous. The New Orleans Saints have a weak receiving corps behind Thomas, meaning when he returns he should have a massive target share. The fact that he is currently being ranked as the WR30 on ESPN means you could potentially get a top ten wide receiver in the mid-rounds of fantasy drafts. If Thomas can return to his all-pro form when he gets back from injury, he may wind up winning you a fantasy championship.
While Thomas is a phenomenal talent, there is more risk than ever this year in drafting him. His ankle problems from last year have now carried into this season, as he most likely won’t return until October. The relationship between Thomas and the Saints also seems to be fractured, as head coach Sean Payton recently criticized Thomas for not having his June ankle surgery sooner. Whether or not Thomas deliberately waited because of a doctor or to send a message to the team is up for debate, but nonetheless is something to consider. The other variable to factor in is the Saints change at quarterback. Drew Brees has now retired meaning it will be Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill under center in Week 1. Winston has had accuracy issues in the past, meaning Thomas’ efficiency could decline if Winston starts next year.
#Saints HC Sean Payton says the Michael Thomas surgery should have happened earlier than it did. Clearly disappointed by the whole thing.
Thomas is set to miss the start of the season as he recovers.pic.twitter.com/tp2h9HR6Xu
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) July 28, 2021
Michael Thomas has incredible upside when healthy, but his status to start the season makes drafting him risky. If he falls in your draft, feel free to take the gamble. But you should not be reaching to draft him thinking he will replicate his 2019 season. Thomas is most likely going to return in late October, and even then who knows if he will be healthy or how long it will take him to return to his old self. Missing half of the fantasy regular season is never good, but championships are won in the playoffs. Drafting Thomas comes down to how confident you are in the team that you built being able to win early on in the year without him. Fantasy football is all about eliminating risk, especially in the early rounds, and there may not be a more risk-reward type of player than Thomas this year.
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