An undrafted rookie free agent in 2007, Pierre Thomas has emerged into a very productive running back in the NFL. However, he continues to be overlooked in both real football and fantasy land. Last season, Thomas recorded a career-high 77 receptions, the most among any running back in the league. Playing for one of the most high-powered offenses in football, Thomas is going to continue being very productive for fantasy owners.
Stop sleeping on him, people.
Obviously, playing alongside Drew Brees in that Saints offense is probably very fun. And although he only scored two rushing touchdowns last year, opportunities will consistently be there, as the Saints have ranked inside the top-10 in red zone scoring attempts per game in each of the last six seasons. And a year after leading all rushers in catches, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did it again this year. Darren Sproles is in Philadelphia and Brees is the best intermediate/short-yardage passer in football. Last year, he targeted the running backs and tight ends in the passing game a healthy 63 percent of the time, while Thomas and Sproles combined to catch 148 balls.
Seemingly every season, the Saints implement a new version of their committee approach. This season, guys like Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram will be quite involved, which obviously hurts the value of Thomas. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the two (especially Robinson) steal some goal line work away from Thomas. Robinson is very similar to the running style of former Saint, Chris Ivory, and showed great flashes during last year’s playoffs. Also, Thomas doesn’t tend to see a strong volume of carries, posting 34 career outings with double-digit carries (via FootballGuys). But Brees and Sean Payton trust him more than any other back on this roster, so he should still see enough work to matter in fantasy.
Thomas is currently being drafted in the 7th round of drafts, which is far, far too low. The guy finished as the 23rd-best fantasy back last year, making him an RB2, and now Sproles is out of the equation. New Orleans threw the ball 62 percent of the time last year, the 5th-most in football, so I think, barring injury, Thomas can haul in another 70 balls, making him an absolute stud in PPR formats. If he can just improve on his rushing touchdowns, we could be looking at a top-15 back, rather than top-24.
Bye Week: 6
Projected Round: 6th-7th
Auction Value: $6 (via ESPN).