In 2020, seemingly out of nowhere, the Washington Football Team’s Logan Thomas — a former quarterback converted to tight end — would up finishing eighth in standard fantasy football scoring and fourth in leagues that reward receptions. Most casual gamers likely were not familiar with him, and now he should have elevated fanfare across the drafting community.
But will he live up to the hype of being TE10 in the current average draft position (ADP) charts? On the surface, after finishing as the fourth-best player at his position in PPR, Thomas going as the 10th tight end, on average, is an apparent bargain.
A situational examination indicates it may be far closer to an appropriate market valuation. In 2021, several of the factors that led to Thomas thriving a year ago may no longer work in his favor:
- Wide receiver Curtis Samuel joined the offense in free agency, and the former Carolina Panther is not only well-versed in the Scott Turner offense, but he also thrives as a short-to-intermediate weapon — Thomas’ domain.
- Running back J.D. McKissic will reprise his role as a pass-catching outlet from the backfield. As his 2020 involvement grew in the second half of the year, he out-targeted Thomas by seven over the same span from Week 9 on. Incidentally, Thomas saw the same difference in looks in the first seven games.
- No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin saw nearly two fewer targets per game in the second half of the year as Washington cycled through four quarterbacks after its Week 8 bye last year.
- With the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions easing across the nation, a more traditional offseason program will be in place, which bodes well for younger players. Washington has second-year receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden challenging for the No. 3 role, and any step forward in his development potentially cuts into Thomas’ share of the pie. Rookie receiver Dyami Brown (Round 3), veteran slot guy Adam Humphries, Steven Sims Jr., Cam Sims, and Kelvin Harmon (knee) all will compete for WR roster spots and, ultimately, touches during the regular season.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick takes over at quarterback, and while he should bring some stability to the aerial game, there’s no telling what kind of, if any, chemistry he will have with Thomas. We saw three inexperienced quarterbacks a year ago, plus a safety-minded Alex Smith, rely heavily on the tight end position — that simply may not translate to the gunslinger mentality Fitzpatrick possesses, especially if he has a cast of viable options among the wide receivers.
Thomas finished the season with 110 targets, or 19.2 percent of the team’s total target share. He represented 94.8 percent of Washington’s looks among the tight end position, and he fortunately doesn’t have any competition to speak of in this regard.
Last year, only two other players — Travis Kelce and Darren Waller — saw more than 110 targets from this position. Those two stars, plus Zach Ertz, accomplished the same in 2019. The year before that, only four players, including Ertz and Kelce, managed to reach the 110-target mark.
Looking at it from another angle, last year, Kelce accounted for five more receiving touchdowns than Thomas and more than twice the yardage. Waller generated 46 percent more yards and three extra touchdowns.
With the addition of Samuel, and the likely improvement of the reserve receiving corps at large, there’s a stronger than not probability Thomas will see a noticeable reduction in passes coming his way. That is not to say he won’t have a meaningful role, but we haven’t seen enough from Thomas to believe he is ready to either score more touchdowns or rack up huge yardage figures to offset the expected dip in volume.
Fantasy football outlook
In terms of value, his ADP of 9:04 isn’t terrible. His placement as the 10th tight end chosen is fair, as well. Where we caution gamers to avoid getting themselves into trouble is by assuming he will either manufacture comparable stats or even have a snowball’s prayer in you know here to exceed last year’s strong showing. It was a combination of factors outlined above and an overall depreciated contribution by tight ends not named Kelce or Waller that created a perfect scenario for his statistical outburst.
Thomas turns 30 years old July 1, and while that’s far from ancient in today’s NFL, he is at the age where athletic traits tend to begin their decline. He’s more likely to benefit from Fitzpatrick’s ability to keep plays alive and improvise within the red zone than to thrive via volume. Thomas is more likely to turn in a few big games rather than steadily contribute. And he’s more likely to help fantasy rosters in deeper leagues than more casual ones.
Don’t be afraid to invest once the position starts to thin out in the middle of PPR drafts, so long as you recognize there’s a capped ceiling below the standard he set in 2020’s fantastic breakthrough season.