Although Michael Thomas’ current ADP places him as the
next guy to go, he may not perform up to your expectations. Coming
off his 149-catch, 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns (23.4 FPts/G)
in 2019 fantasy owners would obviously like/expect/demand a repeat
performance, but based on recent history, that isn’t likely.
In fact, it’s only about a 20-percent chance.
If you look at the chart below, I analyzed every receiver who
saw at least 185 targets over the past 10 seasons.
There were 10 such wide receivers who saw the required number
of targets and only two managed to duplicate, or better, their
production. In 2013 Calvin Johnson matched his fantasy production
from the previous season and in 2015 Antonio Brown actually increased
his output. In the other eight instances, there were decreases
of as much as 42% with the average drop being 17.72%.
So, would you still select Thomas at No.5 if you knew he would
only score 19.25 FPts/G which the percentages say is 80-percent
Factors that might be cause for this reduction in output …
The Saints signed a quality wide receiver in Emmanuel Sanders
to play across from Thomas. Sanders has posted at least 850 yards
on just under 100 targets in each of the past two seasons. By
contrast, New Orleans hasn’t had a No.2 wideout see more
than 70 targets in the last three seasons (Ted Ginn Jr.), who
was second on the team last season with just 56 targets. Sanders
has produced as much as 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in his
best season (2014) and could steal a significant portion of Thomas’
Meanwhile, tight end Jared Cook had a career-best 8.9 FPts/G
in his first season with Drew Brees. Saints tight ends have been
getting more work the past three seasons, seeing 62 targets in
2017, 89 in 2018 and 100 last season.
Brees is 41-years-old. Old bones and muscles don’t recover
as quickly. He missed five games last season, the most since 2003.
Brees hasn’t thrown more than 32 touchdowns in three seasons.
In addition, Kamara was playing injured for much of last season.
Despite catching more than 80 balls for the third consecutive
season, his yards-per-reception dropped from 10.1 in his rookie
season to 6.6 yards in 2019. His yards-after-contact dropped from
8.51 in 2017 to 7.0 in 2019. If healthy, he’ll take up a larger
percentage of the Saints offense.
Factors for Thomas reproducing his career-best 23.4 FPts/G …
If “old man” Brees goes down again, the Saints have
a better passer off the bench in Jameis Winston. Although Teddy Bridgewater was 5-0 in five starts, Thomas was held below his
season average in four of five games. Winston can throw the ball
a lot better than Bridgewater as his 5,109 passing yards in 2019
I think Hopkins is a slightly better option. The new Cardinals
receiver has averaged 19.8 FPts/G over the past three seasons
in Houston. After the trade, he’ll be motivated to show
Houston how wrong they were to get rid of him. Hopkins comes to
an Arizona team that yielded 442 points last season (28th of 32)
and was a net -81 points, so will likely be playing plenty of
catch-up. He has a young star-in-the-making at quarterback (Kyler Murray) and he’ll automatically become the No.1 receiver
over aging Larry Fitzgerald and youngster Christian Kirk.
Adams didn’t score a touchdown until Week 12. Despite that and
missing four full games, he still averaged 17.7 FPts/G. Over the
offseason, Packers management failed to help quarterback Aaron
Rodgers’ offense, drafting a backup quarterback and a backup
running back, but no receivers. Which means we should be hearing
a lot of Rodgers-to-Adams again next season.
Cook averaged 21.2 FPts/G last season despite missing time due
to a shoulder injury. He recorded career highs in rushing attempts
(250), rushing yards (1,135), TDs (13), targets (63), receptions
(53) and receiving yards (519). The issue for not picking Cook
is he’s currently in the final season of his four-year rookie
deal that vastly underpays him and he is holding out for a McCaffrey-type
deal ($16 million yearly) while the team has apparently offered
in the $10 million range. A late draft day will help in knowing
Cook’s fate, but if he’s playing hard he could be
a better value.
I’m quite sure picking Michael Thomas won’t kill
your fantasy lineup, but he might not give you as much production
as you are hoping to get at the fifth pick.