Great question posed in this tweet:
So picture this:
You’re in a 10-team fantasy league. You have the 6th pick. You thought about taking Travis Kelce in the first round but ultimately went with the safe pick of Davante Adams. Rounds 2 and 3 came and went and now both George Kittle and Darren Waller are off the board. That’s okay. You were really high on Mark Andrews, TJ Hockenson, and Kyle Pitts anyway. You’ll just grab one of them in the fifth round. Unfortunately though, Pitts went early in the fourth, Andrews late fourth, and Hockenson early fifth.
You don’t want to reach for anyone else, so you head into the mid-rounds without any of the top-tier tight ends. As the draft moves into the late rounds, Washington’s Logan Thomas remains undrafted. The quarterback-turned-tight end is up there along with players like Rob Gronkowski, Jonnu Smith, and Hunter Henry. You know he had a good season last year (72 receptions, 670 yards, six touchdowns), but was that season a fluke or a sign of greatness to come?
Washington improved at the quarterback position, but it seems like they’re going to rely heavily on the run game in 2021. There’s also lots of competition for catches. Of course Terry McLaurin is going to be the ‘go-to’ guy through the air. JD McKissic is a solid pass-catching option out of the backfield, and the newly-acquired Curtis Samuel seems poised to play a big part in Washington’s offense. Is a tight end who bloomed late in his NFL career and could be the third or fourth option in their team’s pass game really worth drafting over someone like Gronk, Henry, Smith, Gesicki or even Trautman? I’m here to tell you… yes, yes he is.
Despite starting four different quarterbacks throughout the 2021 season, Washington still attempted the ninth most passes in the NFL last season — opting to toss the pigskin 601 times last season. While the team will likely try to run the ball more often early, the team will be facing one of the tougher schedules in the league, and even with their strong defense, could find themselves in several close games.
While Washington had the fifth-easiest schedule in the NFL last season, they are pretty much in the middle of the pack ahead of 2021. Tougher games means more passing situations. More passing situations means more opportunities for Thomas to rack (or RAC, HA! That’s comedy) up receptions.
There are obviously some factors that take away from Thomas’s expectations — namely, the absence of Alex Smith. Throughout his career, it was almost comical how often Smith would use his tight ends. Of his 199 career touchdown passes, 52 came to just two players: tight ends Vernon Davis (31) and Travis Kelce (21). That being said, Smith never threw a touchdown pass to Thomas in the six games Smith started. Thomas had less than five receptions in four of those games as well. Fitzpatrick didn’t use Gesicki that much either when he was the starter in Miami last year, but Gesicki did have three touchdowns in those seven games (and the most red-zone targets of all Miami receivers) and had a game with 27 PPR fantasy points. At the very least, Fitzpatrick is certainly a much bigger threat to take the top off the defense, which should open Thomas up down low.
Thomas has a very high floor at the tight end position. He should see the field very often, and has proven to have reliable hands. Keep in mind that despite recording just 67 yards and six touchdowns, Thomas still finished as TE4 last season. He also was one of many tight ends to attend the first annual Tight End University event, where tight ends from around the league shared tips and tricks with one another to help improve the overall talent level and spread the wealth of knowledge among the sport’s best tight ends.
Perhaps we could see the entirety of the tight end position improve in 2021. Travis Kelce was out there teaching other tight ends how to release. Anyone who uses those tips and tricks is sure to better themselves as a player.
Thomas certainly isn’t the flashiest pick at tight end. He’s unproven and is heading into the season with a quarterback he’s never played with before. That being said, Thomas will have several opportunities to make plays and his finish last season isn’t as volatile as someone like Robert Tonyan, whose fantasy success came primarily due to his surely unsustainable touchdown rate.
A lot of fantasy experts advise people not to reach for a mid-level tight end in the fourth or fifth rounds. As of right now, Thomas is being drafted as the 7.07 in ten team formats. You can draft your quarterback, both RBs, both WRs, and your flex all before getting to Thomas. That’s not bad at all. He could be an absolute steal.