New Orleans Saints
I’ve heaped praise on the Saints in nearly every installment of rankings yet, and quite honestly it’s getting a little tiring. But I’ve got to do it a little more, because damn do I love Michael Thomas. The Ohio State product is a magician on the field and nails every technical aspect of playing receiver. He runs sharp, crisp routes, his hands are bear traps, and his frame is big enough to shed defenders after the catch.
Thomas didn’t do much statistically at Ohio State, but anyone who watched him play could tell that he would feast with Drew Brees as his quarterback. Feast he did, blowing up as a rookie for 1,137 yards, nine touchdowns, and 92 catches. I drafted Thomas that year with a 10th round fantasy football pick, which probably felt as great as the Saints getting first round production from a second round pick. Alright, maybe not the same.
In his second season as a pro Thomas managed to improve his yards up to 1,245 and catches up to 104, though his touchdowns decreased to five. That gives Thomas a staggering 196 catches through just two seasons played, and there’s little reason to think he can’t get another 100 this upcoming year.
Starting opposite of Thomas last season was journeyman Tedd Ginn, who has experienced a late career resurgence. Ginn produced 53 catches for 787 yards (14.8 yards per catch), and scored four touchdowns. His hands have always been a question, but Ginn’s blazing speed at the age of 33 is a legit problem for defenses that are already scrambling for answers to the many other Saint weapons. Ginn scored three of his four touchdowns last year against NFC South opponents.
This off-season the Saints decided Thomas and Ginn needed a third wheel, and added former Bear Cameron Meredith. After going undrafted in 2015, Meredith was signed by the Bears and thrust into the spotlight in 2016. He responded well, going over 100 yards four times in the season, including a pair of nine catch, 130 yard performances. Unfortunately Meredith tore his ACL before the 2017 season and was placed on injured reserve. This off-season, New Orleans signed Meredith to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent and when the Bears declined to match, Meredith became a Saint.
New Orleans now boasts a dangerous trio of pass catchers, assuming Meredith returns to form. Ginn and Meredith can both take the top off of a defense, and Mike Thomas can beat you whichever way he chooses to on a given play. Oh, and their quarterback isn’t going to misfire very often either.