Michael Thomas was a big winner post-draft after the Saints failed to draft any notable pass-catchers. His price fell to the 3rd round for a few reasons, but I’m buying that value every time.
There were a few reasons why his price fell.
One, because of the season he had, or lack thereof. He had an injury riddled season, with a diva-like cherry on top. He allegedly punched a teammate in practice because he was called “slant boy.”
Well, slant boy should still get it done for you in PPR leagues in 2021, regardless of whether Drew Brees returns or not.
From Weeks 11-14, Thomas received a 33% (!) target share from Hill, the highest of any WR in that span. He averaged 7.5 catches on 9.5 targets for 85.8 yards – that’s pretty much the Michael Thomas we know.
And that was mid-injury Michael Thomas. One who would’ve had surgery if it wasn’t Drew Brees’ last season.
Look at what he did with Teddy Bridgewater in 2019: MT averaged 100 yards receiving during his 6 games. 33% target share!
Assuming Thomas is all systems go in camp, there’s no reason to fade him. This offense will revolve around him and Alvin Kamara, and if Hill or Jameis Winston don’t pepper Kamara like Drew Brees did, more targets for Thomas.
A stronger arm can actually benefit Thomas. One can argue that part of the reason Thomas runs the types of routes he has been running over the last few seasons is because of Brees’ skillset and short to intermediate accuracy.
But don’t get it twisted; Thomas can successful on a multitude of routes, and isn’t as one-dimensional as the narrative on him might make him seem.
Brees’ average depth of target and rank over the past two seasons among qualifying QBs:
2020: 6.6 (34th of 35) – only Alex Smith was worse
2019: 6.9 (30th of 32)
Taysom Hill aDOT was at 7.3. We know Winston’s will be high as well after finishing either 1st or 2nd in the league in aDOT during his last three starting seasons.
It’s tough to not let the frustrating vibe and aura around a player affect you taking them the following year, but we have to treat each season differently, and the price justifies any risk going into 2021.