Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) missed practice again Thursday. If Olsen is sidelined, Ian Thomas is an intriguing Sneaky Start against the Falcons. In seven games without Olsen last season, Thomas averaged 4.0 receptions for 38 yards and 0.29 touchdowns. Last week, Thomas's playing time spiked to 43% and he caught 4-of-4 targets for 24 yards, and that was with Olsen seeing three targets in 52% of the snaps.
CAR TE Ian Thomas - Week 17 Fantasy Football Outlook
Week 17 at New Orleans Saints
Ian Thomas had a decent game against the Falcons last week, catching four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. He’s had at least four targets in each of his past four games since taking over as the starter following another injury to Greg Olsen. While he hasn’t lit the world on fire, the Panthers are getting a look at his long-term potential as a starter with the future of Olsen in limbo.
This week, Thomas is risky, but has some streaming upside. With a young quarterback behind center, it’s possible he’ll lean on his tight end as a check down option. The Saints have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year, but they aren’t really playing for anything this week. Thomas is risky, but if you need a streamer, he has enough upside to consider him in deep leagues.