It’s no secret that fantasy football changes regularly. Sometimes regression hits players fast. Other times it is just a down year. Once numerous down years occur, it becomes a trend. I believe that DeVante Parker will have a better fantasy finish than Michael Thomas.
I’m not saying to go out and draft Parker ahead of Thomas. That would ruin all the value of the selection. Value is the base for most decisions; Fantasy is no different. Both players, when fully healthy, are true game-changers. Unfortunately, that has been a problem for both.
However, Parker has been on the field more consistently since they had productive 2019 campaigns. Thomas, of course, was the WR1 in 2019.
Michael Thomas – The Fantasy Present
Thomas has better career numbers, but the fact that he played with Drew Brees and Sean Payton can’t be understated. Thomas rarely had target competition. Instead, he was peppered by Brees in an offensive created by one of the better Head Coaches in the league.
It is not 2019; Thomas hasn’t had a 100-yard game since Tom Brady was on the Patriots. His legendary coach and quarterback combination have moved on to different careers.
Jameis Winston is now the signal-caller for the Saints. Throughout his career, he has typically favored throwing down-field. We saw Payton able to reign Winston in, but how will new Head Coach Dennis Allen handle his occasionally erratic QB
Thomas is now joined by Jarvis Landry and first-round pick Chris Olave. Jarvis Landry gets open in many of the same areas of the field that Thomas does. So why would they add a redundant skillset to a cap-strapped team? They also made multiple moves to draft Olave in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Eagles traded the No. 16 overall pick, No. 19 overall pick and a 2022 sixth-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for the No. 18 overall pick, a 2022 third-round pick, a 2022 seventh-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 second-round pick. Jeff Kerr CBS Sports
Washington received the Saints’ No. 16, 98 and 120 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft in exchange for the No. 11 overall pick. The Commanders used their new first-rounder on Penn State wideout Jahan Dotson. Nick Shook NFL.com
All of these moves stem from Michael Thomas not being healthy yet. According to Dennis Allen, the Saints are saying he should be ready for training camp. Thomas had an entire year plus to get himself back to 100%. All the moves they made to add insurance behind Thomas has to be alarming to the fantasy community.
Thomas is an ultra-rare talent on the field when he’s a full go. However, ankle injuries are always tricky, mainly when repairing multiple ligaments, as Michael has gone through. He is fighting through injuries, a new HC and QB, and various weapons added to the target share. I’m not sold on Thomas walking back into a tremendous season.
The Underdog: DeVante Parker
DeVante Parker is just two years removed from a 1200-yard and nine touchdown season. Much like Thomas, though, this is not 2019, and Parker has suffered his own missed time since then. Parker’s best year came with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was arguably the best quarterback in his career. DeVante was constantly double-teamed or game plan for a rather underwhelming Miami supporting cast.
After a year of being phased out of a changing offense, Parker was acquired by the Patriots to be the difference-maker on their offense. He immediately becomes a red zone threat being a larger stronger WR.
Mac Jones is most likely the most talented passer to play with Parker. The Patriots’ skill-position group is also one of the deepest he has ever played with, truly taking away the ability to double cover anyone. I understand the Pats are murky in the fantasy circles but one of the skill players has to have a great season.
Can already feel the chemistry coming from them in this OTA video below.
Parker has shown he can be a threat for fantasy managers, 2019 was the year that he was the most consistent. New England has a number of solid rotational players at WR so they should be able to give Parker a lot of usages but not wear him out to injury.
Many players in the fantasy football community who dismiss the Patriots’ offense probably will disagree with this take. I think that Mac will elevate this team to another level, I know they will run the ball a ton, but I think they will let Jones have the keys to the castle.
New England has a clear need for an impact number one receiver Parker fits the bill, in addition to the supporting cast easing coverage and the volume of passing possibly increasing put Parker in a sleep category.
I think Thomas and Parker finish relatively close to each other. Thomas has a redraft value of the fourth round while Parker has a value of the 12th round. I have Parker finishing as the WR 26 with 78 receptions 1089 yards and 12 TDs. Parker is going to take some of the Hunter Henry touchdowns. I have Thomas finishing as the WR 28 with 88 receptions 1000 yards and six TDs
I can’t stress this enough this isn’t a draft Parker over Thomas or a pass on Thomas article. I just think that Thomas still isn’t 100% and has more competition than people realize. Also, people are sleeping on Parker both in fantasy and in real life. So, I decided to make one of my fantasy hot takes
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