Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas

29-Year-Old Wide ReceiverWR
New Orleans Saints
IR
Injury Toe
Est. Return 2/13/2023
2022 Fantasy Outlook
A lot has transpired since Thomas led the league in catches back-to-back years, culminating with an NFL-record 149 in 2019. Things quickly went downhill from there, starting Week 1 in 2020 when he injured his ankle near the end of the game. He missed the next six weeks, plus three more games late in the season, though he averaged 6.2 catches for 70.2 yards in a six- game span in the middle to help the Saints earn a playoff bye in Drew Brees' farewell campaign. It's likely Thomas was never truly healthy, and the same was true after a few months of rest, which eventually meant surgery in June 2021. The timing led to talk of frustration, with Thomas perhaps annoyed about the circumstances of his original injury on a meaningless snap, while coach Sean Payton reportedly was frustrated the wideout didn't have surgery at an earlier date and hadn't spent much time with the team's medical staff. Whatever the case, Thomas landed on the PUP list and later was ruled out for the year after a setback — supposedly a different injury to the same left ankle. The Saints expect Thomas back for Week 1 this season — for real this time — while Payton stepped away and has been replaced by long-time defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. The team added rookie wideout Chris Olave and veteran slot man Jarvis Landry, but Thomas could return to a high-volume possession role if he resembles his old self. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#73.52
ADP
$Signed a five-year, $96.25 million contract with the Saints in July of 2019.
Needs surgery, likely out for season
WRNew Orleans Saints
Toe
November 3, 2022
Saints head coach Dennis Allen said Thursday that Thomas needs surgery to address a dislocated second toe on his right foot, Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.Football reports. Allen said Thomas will be placed on injured reserve and is likely out for the season.
ANALYSIS
Allen noted that he doesn't have a precise timeline for Thomas' recovery from surgery, but the wideout isn't on pace to make it back this season after he unsuccessfully tried to rehab the toe injury, which he sustained Week 3. Thomas will have now played in just 10 games over the past three seasons, creating significant questions about his long-term outlook as he heads into his age-30 season in 2023. With Thomas out of the mix for the second half of the season, rookie Chris Olave is projected to serve as the Saints' No. 1 wideout the rest of the way, with Jarvis Landry (ankle), Marquez Callaway and Tre'Quan Smith offering depth behind him. Thomas is on the Saints' books through the next two seasons at cap hits of $28.26 million and $27.51 million for 2023 and 2024, respectively.
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NFL Stats
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Fantasy/Red Zone Stats
See red zone opportunities inside the 20, 10 and 5-yard lines along with the percentage of time they converted the opportunity into a touchdown.
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Advanced NFL Stats
How do Michael Thomas' 2022 advanced stats compare to other wide receivers?
This section compares his advanced stats with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average. The longer the bar, the better it is for the player.
  • Air Yards Per Game
    The number of air yards he is averaging per game. Air yards measure how far the ball was thrown downfield for both complete and incomplete passes. Air yards are recorded as a negative value when the pass is targeted behind the line of scrimmage. All air yards data is from Sports Info Solutions and does not include throwaways as targeted passes.
  • Air Yards Per Snap
    The number of air yards he is averaging per offensive snap.
  • % Team Air Yards
    The percentage of the team's total air yards he accounts for.
  • % Team Targets
    The percentage of the team's total targets he accounts for.
  • Avg Depth of Target
    Also known as aDOT, this stat measures the average distance down field he is being targeted at.
  • Catch Rate
    The number of catches made divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Drop Rate
    The number of passes he dropped divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Avg Yds After Catch
    The number of yards he gains after the catch on his receptions.
  • % Targeted On Route
    Targets divided by total routes run. Also known as TPRR.
  • Avg Yds Per Route Run
    Receiving yards divided by total routes run. Also known as YPRR.
Air Yards Per Game
74.3
 
Air Yards Per Snap
1.72
 
% Team Air Yards
6.5%
 
% Team Targets
5.7%
 
Avg Depth of Target
10.1 Yds
 
Catch Rate
72.7%
 
Drop Rate
0.0%
 
Avg Yds After Catch
1.7
 
% Targeted On Route
22.2%
 
Avg Yds Per Route Run
1.73
 
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2022
2021
2020
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2018
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2016
2022 NFL Game Log
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2021 NFL Game Log
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2020 NFL Game Log
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Snap Distribution / Depth Chart
Snap Counts
Snap %
New Orleans SaintsSaints 2022 WR Snap Distribution See more data like this | See last season's snap counts
#% of Team Snaps

44161%
14270%
32845%
4924%
29641%
6532%
23733%
9647%
13018%
00%
12717%
6432%
10014%
6733%
7811%
00%
243%
00%
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Receiving Alignment Breakdown
See where Michael Thomas lined up on the field and how he performed at each spot.
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This Week's Opposing Pass Defense
How does the Buccaneers pass defense compare to other NFL teams this season?
The bars represents the team's percentile rank (based on QB Rating Against). The longer the bar, the better their pass defense is. The team and position group ratings only include players that are currently on the roster and not on injured reserve. The list of players in the table only includes defenders with at least 3 attempts against them.
TB
@ Buccaneers
Monday, Dec 5th at 8:15PM
Overall QB Rating Against
77.4
 
Cornerbacks
74.0
 
Safeties
67.5
 
Linebackers
93.5
 
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2022 Michael Thomas Split Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Michael Thomas
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4 days ago
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NFL Game Previews: Steelers-Colts Matchup
10 days ago
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Target Breakdown: Week 11 WR/TE Usage & Week 12 Waivers Preview
11 days ago
Rookie wide receivers Treylon Burks and Wan'Dale Robinson reached 100 yards for the first time, but only Burks will have the opportunity to build on his breakout performance.
NFL Game Previews: 49ers-Cardinals Matchup
16 days ago
Erik Siegrist previews the Monday night game as Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers face the division-rival Cardinals in Mexico City.
Target Breakdown: Week 10 WR/TE Usage & Week 11 Waivers Preview
18 days ago
Jerry Donabedian looks at all the big developments for pass catchers from Week 10, including major injuries to Cooper Kupp and Zach Ertz and a breakout game for rookie Christian Watson.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
What a disastrous season for last year's consensus top wide receiver. It started with a Week 1 high-ankle sprain that lingered into October, then Thomas was suspended for punching a teammate in Week 5, injured a hamstring along the way and didn't return until Week 9. After posting two 100-yard games with backup Taysom Hill at quarterback, Thomas aggravated his ankle and missed the season's final three games. He returned for the playoffs, with moderate success against the Bears before being shut out completely by the Buccaneers. After the season, Thomas had surgeries on his left ankle and shoulder, revealing he was never truly healthy all year. Prior to 2020, Thomas was the all-time leader in catch percentage by a mile and had just set the record for catches in a season with 149. From 2018-19, Thomas had an absurd 274 catches and averaged nearly 9.5 yards per target, despite ranking near the bottom of the league in aDOT. That's what happens when you catch virtually every pass thrown in your direction. At 6-3, 212, Thomas is big, rangy and athletic, but he's not fast (4.57 40), reeling in only seven 40-yard catches in his four-and-a-half-year career. Thomas runs precise routes, finds soft spots in zones and has excellent hands - he's the ultimate chain mover and possession target. That is, he was with Drew Brees (the completion percentage and accuracy king) under center. With Brees hanging it up, Thomas is a long shot to keep up his historic catch rate, but one should be careful not to regress him too much. Sean Payton's system is still intact, and Thomas, who had two 100-yard games with Hill while playing injured, was also effective in 2019 with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback for seven games, i.e., in the long run Thomas should be fine even if Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill aren't great. That said, it remains to be seen when the star wideout will see his first game action in 2021. After undergoing an ankle procedure in June, Thomas was placed on the PUP list to start the season, ruling him out for at least the first five games and six weeks (the Saints have a Week 6 bye).
After smashing the catch-percentage record in 2018, Thomas took down bigger prey last year, breaking Marvin Harrison's single-season receptions record and winning Offensive Player of the Year in the process. Thomas maintained his otherworldly catch rate (80.5 percent, second all time only to his 2018 mark) and averaged 9.3 YPT, eighth among the league's 30 100-target WRs, despite playing six games with a backup QB and seeing a massive bump in targets (185, 1st). Thomas' 1,725 receiving yards were also good for seventh in the record book. At 6-3, 212, Thomas has excellent size, runs precise routes and might have the best hands in the league. His rapport with Drew Brees is off the charts, and no player is more reliable at catching short passes and moving the chains. Thomas also led the league in red-zone targets (26) and scored nine times (T-4th), but he doesn't have deep speed (4.57 40) and isn't likely to make the big play - only three catches of 40-plus yards last year and seven in his four-year career. Despite leading the NFL in targets by a wide margin - he had 28 more than No. 2 Julio Jones - Thomas was merely tied for ninth in catches of 20 or more yards (17). Thomas' average depth of target (aDOT) was 8.1 yards (24th), and his 11.6 YPC ranked 23rd among 30 100-target WRs. Bottom line, with Drew Brees set to return in 2020, Thomas is arguably the safest pick on the draft board. He's 27, has missed only one game in his career (in 2016) and relies on short receptions from the NFL's all-time leader in completion percentage.
Why do we have a player who had only 147 targets (11th) and 11.2 YPC (27th) ranked so high? Because Thomas caught a preposterous 85 percent of the passes thrown his way, giving him 125 receptions last year, the fifth most in NFL history. To put Thomas' season in perspective, consider there have been only 44 100-target wide receiver seasons in NFL history where a player caught even 70 percent of his looks. At 75 percent, that number drops to 11, and the all-time record for catch percentage before 2018 was Wes Welker's 77.2 in 2007. It's as though someone broke Randy Moss' single-season TD record (23) by scoring 30. Of course, we should expect some regression from an all-time outlier season even though Thomas plays with the completion-percentage king Drew Brees, who broke his own record with 74.4 percent in 2018. At 6-3, 212, Thomas has good size but below-average speed - 4.57 40 at the 2016 combine. He's an excellent route runner with good hands, but he's not running a lot of deep routes - his average depth of target was only 7.7 yards, last among the league's 100-target wideouts. As a result, he had only two catches of 40-plus yards and 17 of 20-plus (T-16th.) Thomas is used heavily in the red zone, however, with 29 targets inside the 20 (T-2nd), 14 inside the 10 (T-2nd) and eight inside the five (T-3rd.) Accordingly, he should again be a reliable source of TDs, even if he rarely scores from long range. The biggest concern for Thomas is probably his quarterback. Brees turned 40 in January, and he tailed off somewhat over the season's final six games including the playoffs, failing to crack 8.5 YPA in any of those contests and throwing only seven TDs and six picks over that span. Still, Brees had a tremendous overall regular season (8.2 YPA, 32 TDs and five picks), and Thomas is his clear top target and first red-zone look even with tight end Jared Cook now in the fold.
With Brandin Cooks in New England, Thomas was set to be the No. 1 receiver for the league's most prolific passing offense. But something strange happened: the Saints became a running team. It wasn't all bad. Thomas still had 149 targets (6th), 104 catches (3rd) and 1,245 yards (6th). But he scored four fewer TDs than in 2016 on three fewer red-zone targets, as tailback Mark Ingram doubled his rushing TDs from six to 12, and all-purpose back Alvin Kamara added 13 scores of his own. At 6-3, 212, Thomas has good size but below-average speed (4.57). He's a good route runner with steady hands, but he's not going to beat anyone deep - only one catch of 40-plus yards last year, two in his two-year career. Despite throwing less often, Drew Brees still attacks in the intermediate and deep areas of the field - Thomas was fourth with 22 catches of 20-plus - but speedster Ted Ginn was the home run hitter with five catches of 40 or more yards. Accordingly, Thomas' 8.4 YPT mark was a modest 11th among the league's 27 100-target receivers, despite playing with the QB who led the NFL in YPA at 8.1. (By contrast Ginn had 11.2 YPT.) Heading into 2018, Thomas is still the team's undisputed No. 1 target and should be drafted for volume and consistency. Just don't expect many big plays or an undue share of red-zone work, as Kamara and Ingram figure to again occupy a large share of the team's usage.
Few rookie wideouts pan out as their team's No. 1 targets. Thomas was an exception -- so much so that after the season, the Saints jettisoned their former top receiver Brandin Cooks for a first-round pick. At 6-3, 212 and with 4.57 speed, Thomas is athletically on the cusp of what's typically required for a bona fide No. 1, but he's surprisingly agile and quick for a tall receiver and has excellent hands and good ball skills. Most importantly he has the trust of Drew Brees from whom he caught an unheard-of 76 percent of his 121 targets. Thomas also saw a fair amount of red-zone work last year (19 targets, T-11th) despite missing a game, and his size and hands make him well-suited to operate there -- seven of Thomas' nine scores came on red-zone throws. Thomas isn't a major downfield weapon -- only one catch of 40-plus yards, and his 12.4 YPC average was pedestrian. (His 9.4 YPT was fifth best, but driven entirely by his absurd catch rate.) Even with Cooks gone it's unlikely Thomas will see the deep balls left behind. While Willie Snead (4.56 40) is suited more to a possession role, the team added home run specialist Ted Ginn to run those routes, so Thomas' target depth should remain roughly the same. While Thomas might not be a game-breaker, he's a quality intermediate target, red-zone threat and top option in a Drew Brees-led offense.
Drafted 47th overall, Thomas has a chance for a significant role as a rookie with long-time Saint Marques Colston no longer around. While Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks should start, both are small and not especially useful in the red zone. At 6-3, 212, Thomas is tall, athletic and agile. He's not fast - 4.57 40 - but he has good hands, solid ball skills and scored 18 TDs the last two seasons at Ohio State. Tight end Coby Fleener will also see red-zone work, and 6-6 Brandon Coleman should make the team, but Thomas is the favorite for the No. 3 receiver job.
More Fantasy News
Ruled out for Week 8
WRNew Orleans Saints
Foot
October 28, 2022
Thomas (foot) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Raiders.
ANALYSIS
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Still not practicing
WRNew Orleans Saints
Foot
October 27, 2022
Thomas (foot) didn't participate in Thursday's practice, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Doesn't practice Wednesday
WRNew Orleans Saints
Foot
October 26, 2022
Thomas (foot) didn't practice Wednesday, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Officially ruled out
WRNew Orleans Saints
Foot
October 19, 2022
Thomas (foot) has been ruled out for Thursday's game against Arizona, Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.Football reports.
ANALYSIS
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Misses another practice
WRNew Orleans Saints
Foot
October 18, 2022
Thomas (foot) isn't taking part in Tuesday's practice, John Hendrix of SI.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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