Do not sleep on tight end Julius Thomas in fantasy drafts

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julius thomas
Oct 25, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas (80) celebrates after a catch against the Buffalo Bills during NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end is always a nightmare for me in my fantasy leagues. That may be an understatement. Last year I was fortunate enough to get Delanie Walker in one of my leagues, who finished the season with seven touchdowns, and 800 yards receiving.

There was one league where I recall Hunter Henry, Cameron Brate, and even C.J. Fiedorowicz got plucked off the waiver wire. In other words, a revolving door of inconsistency.  What can I say? I have never been the guy to go after Rob Gronkowski. Nothing against him, but stocking up on wide receivers and running backs is more important to me in that stage of the draft. Previous years have seen the likes of Scott Chandler, Brent Celek, and Josh Hill on my rosters. Who the hell is Josh Hill?

Now that I have shared all that, why would you possibly take advice from me about a tight end? To put it simply, I am going to be proven right about Julius Thomas this year.


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Last year I drafted him and it did not go well with only four touchdowns and less than 300 yards. Overall, his time in Jacksonville was a disaster. There were injuries, no real chemistry with him and Bortles, and the Jags just stink, to be honest.

In the offseason, the Jags dealt him to the Miami Dolphins, whose head coach, Adam Gase, was Thomas’ offensive coordinator in Denver. With the Broncos, he was one of the leagues’ top tight ends. The importance of this alone can’t be understated. Just think about it, Thomas played the best football of his career under coach Gase. There is familiarity, respect, and a good working relationship. It is true he will not have Peyton Manning behind center, but Ryan Tannehill is an above average quarterback, who improves every season.

Julius Thomas’ best seasons in Denver
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
Year Age Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch%
2013* 25 DEN 14 14 90 65 788 12.1 12 74 4.6 56.3 72.2%
2014* 26 DEN 13 10 62 43 489 11.4 12 35 3.3 37.6 69.4%
Care Care 57 42 290 185 2018 10.9 33 74 3.2 35.4
4 yr 4 yr DEN 36 25 159 109 1282 11.8 24 74 3.0 35.6
2 yr 2 yr JAX 21 17 131 76 736 9.7 9 34 3.6 35.0

The Dolphins didn’t target their tight ends that much last year, only 73 times. Dion Sims was on the other end of almost half of those. Sims is in Chicago now, and Anthony Fasano is the only other guy that will take targets from Thomas. Probably not many.

Thomas comes in hoping those numbers can go up, and improve on the Dolphin’s 26th ranked passing offense.  All the news coming out of Dolphins camp surrounding Thomas is positive, with offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen saying he thinks “Thomas can be a ten-touchdown guy.” On top of all that, Thomas himself said it’s “probably the best I’ve ever felt.”

Although it’s still early in the summer, Thomas’ ADP on Yahoo is 128, making him TE19. To be honest, Thomas is not my first choice at tight end. I have two guys ahead of him, but believe me, if he slides, I will not be upset at all. He might not put up the same numbers he did in Denver, but 850 yards and 10 touchdowns for Thomas is not unrealistic. By the end of the season, he should finish with a top 12 ranking at that position.

– Chad Miller is a Staff Writer for cover32/Fantasy and covers Fantasy Football. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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