Ian Thomas steps into this season as the starter now that Greg Olsen is in Seattle. Olsen and Thomas combined for 112 targets last year, so there should be plenty of opportunity for the third-year tight end. Tight ends often take time to develop and the combination of natural progression and increased opportunity could catapult Thomas into fantasy starter material. He’s a nice combo player, with suitable blocking skills and solid enough hands and athleticism. He lined up in the slot or out wide on 60% of his offensive snaps last season.
Thomas hasn’t been great when given the opportunity to be the guy. Olsen was on and off the field the past two seasons and Thomas’ production was still lacking the kind of pizzazz you typically look for in an explosive pass catcher. He struggled last season, catching just 16 of the 30 balls thrown his way and he’s only scored three touchdowns over his first two years. While the opportunity is solid, expectations for improvement are purely speculative at this point.
2020 Bottom Line
Thomas is basically free with an undrafted ADP in most formats. That’s pretty good value for a player with his target potential. While Thomas has had limited success when he’s been given full snaps thus far, his age and the tendency for tight ends to take a little time to develop make him a potential breakout candidate. As a TE2 that won’t cost you anything but a roster spot, he’s worth a gamble.