Michael Thomas: 2020 Dynasty Profile

Past Production

Here are Michael Thomas’ full NFL stats.

 Year  Games   Targets   Receptions   Yards   TDs   Fantasy Finish   Fantasy PPG   PPG Rank 
 2016  15  121  92  1,137  9  WR7  17.0  8th
 2017  16  149  104  1,245  5  WR6  16.2  6th
 2018  16  147  125  1,405  9  WR6  19.7  6th
 2019  16  185  149  1,725  9  WR1  23.4  1st
 2020   1  5  3  17  0  N/A  4.7  N/A

The Saints drafted Thomas with the 47th overall pick in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Saints had Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead established as their top two receivers with tight end Coby Fleener as a free-agent acquisition from the Colts. However, Thomas immediately established himself as the WR1 for the Saints, leading the team in receptions, targets, and touchdowns as a rookie.

Thomas played so well that the Saints traded Cooks to the Patriots after 2016, and they relegated Snead to a depth role. In 2017, running back Alvin Kamara emerged as the Saints’ second receiving target, but Thomas continued to dominate. He nearly doubled the production of the Saints’ WR2, Ted Ginn Jr. 

Then, in 2018, Thomas and Kamara made all other Saints’ receiving weapons completely irrelevant. Nobody outside of those two players had more than 46 targets. Thomas had similar targets to 2017, but he had more yards, receptions, and touchdowns. After 2018, Thomas made his way into the dynasty WR1 conversation, as he’d been a WR1 for three straight seasons.

Before 2019, the Saints extended Thomas, giving him a massive 5-year, $96.25 million contract through 2024, with $60 million in guarantees. Thomas made the Saints look smart during the 2019 season, where he had his best year yet. He improved his numbers in all receiving categories once again, setting the single-season reception record. Considering that Thomas played 63 of 64 games through four seasons and was a WR1 since day one, he was the dynasty WR1 after 2019, no questions asked.

2020 Performance and Outlook

Going into 2020, Thomas was one of the only wide receivers considered in the first round of redraft formats. While most expected a decline from his historic 2019 numbers, it’s been far worse than that. Thomas played in Week 1, having a poor game with three receptions for 17 yards.

In that game, Thomas suffered a high-ankle sprain, which ruled him out for Weeks 2-4. Thomas might have returned in Week 5, but the Saints disciplined him for punching a teammate in practice. The Saints expected Thomas back after their Week 6 bye, but he’s now on the injury report with a hamstring strain. Suddenly, the ironman is gone, and Thomas has missed almost half the fantasy season. I believe he will be a solid WR1 whenever he returns, but he comes with significant risk for the rest of 2020.

Dynasty Analysis

At this point, I’m not overly concerned with Thomas’ injuries from a dynasty perspective. He missed one total game in the previous four seasons, and he doesn’t have a history of injuries. His hamstring injury could be a compensation injury resulting from his high-ankle sprain, so I don’t want to overreact. Almost every NFL player gets hurt at some time in his career.

However, I’m far more worried about Thomas’ behavior. The Saints and head coach Sean Payton seem fed up with Thomas’ antics. They mentioned to the press multiple times that no player is bigger than the Saints’ organization, a pointed, public dig at Thomas. If the Saints decide to suspend Thomas at any point for conduct detrimental to the team, they can void his guarantees and move on from him.

I’m not sure how close the Saints are to parting ways with Thomas, and I’m not saying that Thomas is the next Antonio Brown, but Thomas is no longer my dynasty WR1. He remains my dynasty WR4, although if he comes back and starts producing, I might want to sell him if I can.

Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.


Columbia SPS Sports Management graduate.

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