For Jacksonville Jaguars fans there hasn't been a whole lot to smile about lately. The team is forever fighting to overcome division offensive demons, the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, and trying to scrape past defensive stalwarts the Tennessee Titans. Theirs is not an easy division to compete in.
This spring the team focused on fortifying what turned out to be one of the league's worst in 2010. That left little room for improving the offense whose only legitimate weapon has been Maurice Jones-Drew. Veteran receiver Torry Holt is gone, and last year's surprise breakout, Mike Sims-Walker is now the team's number one receiver. That means someone else has to step up and help this team in the passing game.
My money is on sophomore wide out, Mike Thomas. Who? I know, common name, tepid fantasy offense. It's no wonder he's not on many fantasy owner's radar. In fact, at only 5'8" he seems an unlikely fantasy sleeper. But don't let any of that dissuade you.
Thomas is so overlooked going into this season he's being drafted alongside Terrell (I'm still unemployed) Owens and Carolina's likely QB, Matt Moore.
Can you say opportunity?
Here are some very good reasons why Thomas is a strong 2010 fantasy football sleeper candidate.
ADP: 220 overall - 63rd WR selected
By the numbers
Player G GS Target Rec Yard TD A. xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx 11 11 86 48 625 2 B. Mike Thomas 14 4 62 48 453 1 C. xxxxxx xxxxx 16 16 97 47 589 5 D. xxxxxx xxxx 11 9 87 47 589 4
- All three players above had basically the same number of receptions in 2009. The difference is players A, C and D were their team's #1 receivers while Thomas was his team's third option. Both players A and C started all of their games, and Player D started all but two, while Thomas only started four. Add to that, his target to reception ratio beat all three players above.
- Player A was San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree, Player C was St. Louis Ram Donnie Avery, and Player D was Kansas City Chief Dwayne Bowe.
- Other players with 47 receptions included Pierre Garcon, Nate Washington, and Hakeem Nicks, and yes, Thomas' conversion of targets to receptions beat them all.
- Thomas averaged 9.4 yards per reception last season in a very limited role. This year he will line up alongside Sims-Walker and will undoubtedly play beyond his ADP, and perhaps into reasonable fantasy value as a WR3 or even a low-end WR2 on your fantasy team.
- While I like Mike Sims-Walker, it is hard to say how he will produce as the team's go to guy. For that reason I like the opportunity Thomas has not only to be fantasy viable, but even challenge Sims-Walker as the team's best producer. Sims-Walker is going 59th overall and is the 21st WR drafted in most leagues. Too high for a guy who only gave us one fantasy worthy half of a season.
Summary: Thomas simply has too much upside on a Jaguars team that will need someone to bail out QB David Garrard on a regular basis. I think Thomas will play an almost Wes Welker type role for the Jags, and while he won't put up Welker like numbers, I'd take a poor man's version for the value price Thomas is currently going for.
ADP taken from our friends at MyFantasyLeague.com