The Injury Files: Michael Thomas
In this series of articles, I’ll be looking at players who missed significant time last year and how it’s affected their Fantasy Football value for the 2022 season. Some of these guy’s may have had people step up in their absence, their team signed another player to fill the void or they could be heading to a new franchise off the back of an injury. I’ll be diving into several players, at numerous positions and how their value differs from last off-season.
For part 3 in this series, I’ll be diving into a former Fantasy Football first round pick. The former NFL Offensive Player of the Year. The NFL record holder for most receptions in a single season(149). A 3-time Pro-Bowler. The list of accolades really is as long as his arm. After his record breaking 2019 season, MT was often the only wide receiver drafted in the first round of 2020 drafts. Occasionally joined by Tyreek Hill and/or Davante Adams. Up to 2019, Thomas had never finished outside the top 10 at his position.
But Week 1 of 2020, Thomas left the game vs. Tampa Bay with a high ankle sprain. The 29 year old missed the next 3 matches and was set to return in week 5. Following the injury, MT had some off-field issues, punching teammate CJ Gardner-Johnson in practice. He eventually returned in week 9. MT went on IR on December 19th with the lingering ankle injury. He did return for the playoffs.
The California native underwent ankle surgery in July 2021. And, on November 3rd, it was confirmed he would miss the whole 2021 season due to a setback in the rehab after his surgery. Before these significant injuries, Thomas had only missed 1 game in his NFL career, back in 2016.
Can’t guard Mike, or can you?
Thomas’ draft capital has taken a dramatic tumble since before the 2020 season. Before the 2021 season he was available as the 33rd wide receiver off the board as opposed to the 1st, one year earlier. 2020 injury and off-field issues aside, we see a remarkable rise in numerous players at wideout which would also have had an effect on his ADP.
Stefon Diggs – ADP: WR23 – End of season ranking: WR3
Justin Jefferson(Rookie) – ADP: WR49 – End of season ranking: WR6
DK Metcalf – ADP: WR20 – End of season ranking: WR7
Looking on to 2022, MT has current draft position of the WR26(Underdog Fantasy ADP). This is still incredible value for someone who has never finished lower than a WR1 when healthy. Of course, he doesn’t have Drew Brees anymore. Under center for 2022 in New Orleans is Jameis Winston again, who had his own injury issues last season and never got much of a chance in 2020 when Brees was still in town. Much like in 2020, 2021 had some meteoric risers at WR which is again, part of the reason MT has such low draft position.
Cooper Kupp – ADP: WR18 – End of season ranking: WR1
Ja’mar Chase(Rookie) – ADP: WR29 – End of season ranking: WR5
Deebo Samuel – ADP: WR36 – End of season ranking: WR3
Hunter Renfrow – ADP: WR84 – End of season ranking: WR11
Final thought for 2022
I don’t see Mike’s value skyrocketing before the season. As with all players coming off injury, it’s best to approach drafting them with caution. Winston will need to get a rapport going with MT due to the depleted receiving corp in Louisiana. For the level he can get to, if you’re able to take a punt after round 5 or if you have a couple of wide receivers on your roster by this point, the upside is definitely there. I personally cannot wait to see the MT bounce back season. Even with the rise of other guys and the new signal caller, I’m grabbing him wherever I can in drafts this year.
Lewis – @Lvenes1