Michael Thomas is a two-time All-Pro, a two-time league-leader in receptions and was the NFL’s best wideout in 2019. But it’s been a long time since we’ve seen him reach those lofty heights. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen him, period; Thomas hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2020. He did appear in two playoff games that season, and then reaggravated a lingering ankle injury the following summer, requiring surgery. After a setback in November, Thomas announced he wouldn’t play at all in 2021. So, what’s his status as we prepare for the 2022 season?
New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said in March that Thomas’ rehab is going well and that the team expects to have him in the fold this season. After Thomas’ name was bandied about in trade rumors, he agreed to a restructured deal with the Saints in February and will reassume his role as their WR1.
2022 Fantasy football outlook
Providing that there are no further setbacks, Thomas will be one of the more interesting players in fantasy drafts this summer. He’s only 29, and it hasn’t been that long since he was the league’s best receiver. But after such a long layoff — and with Drew Brees or Sean Payton no longer around — will he still be that same guy we remember? The safe guess is no. He can still be productive, but this new era of Saints offense won’t be as aggressive — or as good — as the previous one. Prime Brees is head and shoulders above Jameis Winston, so it’s fair to expect a considerable drop-off for Thomas from his 2019 highs. He’s been a fourth- or fifth-round pick in early fantasy drafts this spring. It’s much too early to tell if that’s a mistake or a bargain. He should remain a target hog as the Saints’ receiving corps remains thin behind him and first-round rookie Chris Olave, but Thomas’ upside is nowhere near what it was a few seasons ago.