Julius Thomas could be a fantasy football bargain


The narrative is already starting to set in for newly acquired Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas – moving on from Peyton Manning, Thomas is virtually assured to be a disappointment. After accumulating 12 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons with a hall of fame quarterback, Thomas is now going to be catching passes from a 2nd year quarterback who only threw 11 touchdowns in his rookie year.

Consequently, Thomas’ fantasy football stock has dropped dramatically since signing with the Jaguars, probably too much. James Koh at NFL.com explains why Thomas could be a huge bargain in fantasy drafts this year:

"Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars: It’s not a huge bargain but still, seeing Thomas ranked behind Greg Olsen and Travis Kelce (of all people) has me scratching my head. Julius didn’t lose his athleticism or hands going from the Rockies to the swamps. His new quarterback is a HUUUUUUUUGE downgrade, obviously, but Blake Bortles will need all the reliable targets he can get. For me it’s a straight-up volume play. Who else is legitimately going to catch footballs in Jacksonville? Allen Robinson? Marqise Lee?? The fact that Thomas will be a talented safety blanket for a young quarterback means his floor is pretty darn high. I like him this year infinitely more than Olsen and think Thomas is a MUCH more stable play than Kelce."

Obviously Thomas’ production this year relies heavily on Bortles’ development during his sophomore season, but Koh is right in noting that the sheer volume of targets Thomas will see makes him a very enticing fantasy tight end. With Marcedes Lewis injured for most of last season, Bortles didn’t have a reliable target in the middle for basically the entirety of his rookie year. While he did develop a good rapport with Allen Robinson before he was sidelined with an injury, Bortles was working with complete unknowns at basically every skill position through most of 2014.

Thomas will almost certainly not duplicate his production from the last 2 years (24 touchdowns combined), but he could still put up numbers that will stack up with the top 5 tight ends in fantasy. He’s getting paid like it, so hopefully Thomas will pay off as the Jaguars primary offensive playmaker in 2015.

Next: Will the Davon House gamble pay off?

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