Even though Julius Thomas came out of nowhere last year, he is now one of the safest bets to finish as the highest-scoring tight end in fantasy football for the 2014 season.
When you think of the elites at this position, the names of Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Vernon Davis are always in the mix. When you look at the situation that each of these players are in, however, they may not be as appealing as you think. Tight ends generally put up the same type of production year to year, but Thomas has the potential to finish 2014 as a the highest-scoring tight end.
When you break down the potential season for Graham, his contract issues cannot be ignored. Football players are just like the rest of us when it comes to their job, and if they aren’t happy, that will pop up in their production. Graham is naturally talented enough to put up ridiculous numbers even if he wasn’t trying, but overuse and a chip on his shoulder could take him down a notch. Will he finish as the best tight end in fantasy football for 2014? Probably, but owners could also be set up for a letdown if they place a first-round pick on the star for the New Orleans Saints.
For where I have been landing him in mock drafts, I think Gronkowski is a great pickup in the fourth round. With that being said, however, what will you do if Gronk can only play half of the season? I have been backing him by drafting Zach Ertz or Eric Ebron, but drafting Gronk is a huge risk. Right now, drafting him in the fourth round would mean missing out on Percy Harvin, Pierre Garcon, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Mathews, Frank Gore and Matthew Stafford. The talent is there, but Gronkowski hasn’t played a whole season since 2011.
Finally, there may be too many mouths to feed for the San Francisco 49ers. With Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd crowding the offense, Davis may have a tough time getting his usual targets. The 49ers seem obsessed with throwing the ball with the addition of Johnson and Lloyd — a good sign for fantasy players — and Davis is very end zone friendly as he only went five games without a touchdown in 2013. Again, Colin Kaepernick will have a ton of options when the season starts, and Davis may not be able to repeat his performance from last season.
Thomas now enters as one of the safest options at tight end, because he essentially has no where to go but up. He only had one catch since 2011 before last season, and he only played one year of football in college. With another year under his belt and Peyton Manning needing an additional target to replace Eric Decker‘s 11 touchdowns, Thomas is set up for a big year. Even with the signing of Emmanuel Sanders, Thomas is going to get the looks when Manning is driving the ball near the end zone.
Thomas is currently being drafted in the third round according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, and he is a great value as the potential top tight end in your fantasy football league.