Obtained by the Miami Dolphins this offseason for a seventh-round draft pick, Julius Thomas joins the Dolphins after two fairly quiet seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
However, it wasn’t long ago when Thomas was taking complete advantage of playing with one of the best quarterbacks of all time in Peyton Manning and scoring touchdowns at an incredible rate.
Thomas tallied 12 touchdown receptions in each of his two seasons as a starter alongside Manning in Denver before leaving in free agency to Jacksonville where he proceeded to record a total of nine touchdowns in two years.
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The two years spent in Jacksonville flew under the radar of most fantasy owners as Thomas appeared in 12 games in 2015 before playing in just nine last year. After finishing as the third-ranked tight end in 2013 and the seventh-ranked tight end in 2014 with the Broncos, Thomas wasn’t a tight end you wanted in your starting lineup in 2015 and ’16, finishing as the 15th and 29th-ranked player at his position.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Thomas in 2017. Will he regain form and flirt with double-digit touchdowns once again? Or will he be unable to shake the injury bug and once again not factor into fantasy football?
Thomas currently possesses an average draft position that lands him in the 12th round amongst the likes of Jack Doyle of the Colts, Coby Fleener of the Saints and Eric Ebron of the Lions.
While Thomas may be an option for you later in your fantasy draft, it’s unlikely that you’ll lean on him as your weekly starter. In 2017, Thomas projects as a decent backup and someone you can hope to get six to eight points from if you need to start him due to your starting tight end being on bye or missing time due to injury.
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Thomas could be a solid tight end to target if you take a chance on a player like O.J. Howard of the Buccaneers or Hunter Henry of the Chargers. If you take one of these players you’re most likely using them as your starting tight end, and a player like Thomas may be a consistent alternative in case Howard struggles as a rookie or Henry suffers from a sophomore slump.
Tight ends haven’t exactly been pumping out fantasy production since Ryan Tannehill has been the quarterback with the Dolphins. Here’s a quick look at the Dolphins leading tight end in regards to fantasy football during the Tannehill era:
- 2012: Anthony Fasano, No. 28 ranked TE
- 2013: Charles Clay, No. 7 ranked TE
- 2014: Charles Clay, No. 16 ranked TE
- 2015: Jordan Cameron, No. 29 ranked TE
- 2016: Dion Sims, No. 33 ranked TE
From the list you’ll see that a Dolphins tight end has finished as a TE1 just one time since Tannehill has been under center. While Thomas may be the most physically gifted of the tight ends Tannehill has played with, it still doesn’t change the fact that tight ends playing with Tannehill haven’t been reliable fantasy football options.
With that being said, I project Thomas to finish the 2017 season with 45 catches for 475 yards and four touchdowns, which limits him to a backup role on your fantasy football team. He’s currently my 16th-ranked tight end.