The 2023 fantasy football season was rife with disappointments, but none stung as deeply as the saga of Michael Thomas. While Jonathan Taylor’s challenging year could be attributed to bad luck, there was no masking the truth about the New Orleans Saints wide receiver and his injury-plagued season.
Despite being aware of the situation, many of us still clung to the hope that the Michael Thomas of 2019 would resurface last year. The initial three weeks played into this doomed optimism, with the two-time All-Pro amassing 16 receptions, 171 yards, and three touchdowns. However, that was the extent of it. A persistent toe injury, callously labeled as week-to-week for most of the season, left fantasy managers utterly powerless.
Due to Thomas’ history of injuries, his trade value plummeted, relegating him to valuable bench or IR slots. Nevertheless, a sliver of hope endured until his final sidelining in November. Those, like myself, who had him on their roster, experienced the full weight of the fantasy trauma this situation induced.
Is it prudent to endure more futile practice updates and vague recovery timelines? No player is beyond consideration for the right offer. The question remains: what does Michael Thomas’ fantasy football outlook hold for 2023 before we embark on this potentially agonizing journey again?
The Fantasy Football Player Once a second-round draft pick, Michael Thomas possessed one of the NFL’s most dependable floors and an exceptional ceiling, until his ankle injury in 2020. He ranked as WR No. 7 (PPR) in his rookie 2016 season, held No. 6 in the following two years, and soared to No. 1 in 2019 after his record-setting 149-catch season. Thomas commanded remarkable target volume, scored nine touchdowns on three separate occasions, and was a guaranteed 1,100-yard performer at his lowest. He ticked all the boxes for a league-winning player.
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However, this feels like a distant reality, given his persistent injury woes. Drew Brees and Sean Payton are no longer part of the New Orleans landscape, and uncertainty looms over Alvin Kamara. The Saints, once a source of fantasy stardom, are now shrouded in doubt. Trusting this franchise on draft day is a considerable gamble.
Yet, one significant X-Factor could help sustain Thomas’ viability.
The Team Thomas’ value hinges greatly on his health. If he manages to play most of the 2023 season—an admittedly colossal if—another hurdle emerges: his role in the revamped offense. Chris Olave showed promise in his rookie year, amassing 72 receptions, 1,042 yards, and four touchdowns. He is expected to make significant strides with Derek Carr as QB.
Does this position the veteran Thomas as an odd one out? When Thomas is on the field, he delivers. His in-game production with the Saints remains undisputed until proven otherwise. However, the 30-year-old is likely to take a backseat to the young Olave, somewhat capping his scoring potential.
Nonetheless, a rejuvenated Carr could facilitate multiple productive fantasy football players. Despite his limited exposure over recent years, Thomas’ undeniable skill can’t be disregarded. A game-changer who aids the Saints beyond stat accumulation, he might find synergy with Dennis Allen and the team’s infrastructure, even without Payton.
Michael Thomas’ 2023 Fantasy Outlook Determining the value of the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year isn’t straightforward; it depends on your draft position and the wild cards on your roster. An unpredictable team might be swayed by Thomas’ presence.
Compromise becomes essential. If he’s on your radar, selecting several “safe and reliable” wide receivers to mitigate risks is advisable. Players like Terry McLaurin, who may not boast the flashiest names, could be crucial additions. That said, Michael Thomas’ pre-draft ranking at No. 45 WR in PPR and an ADP of 118 in Yahoo leagues are enticing propositions.
Despite the concerns raised, Thomas could be a steal in the late rounds. However, draft him as a starter with caution. As a wise adage goes, safeguarding your well-being takes precedence.