Ian Thomas
  • Ian Thomas

  • TE
  • , Carolina Panthers
  • 28
  • 260 lbs
  • 6' 4"
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Scouting report

by Brandon Niles

CAR TE Ian Thomas - Week 8 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 8 vs. Atlanta Falcons

Ian Thomas made it three weeks in a row now with only one target, finishing last week’s matchup with the Saints with one catch and 11 yards. He has a great matchup against the Falcons, who rank dead last in aFPA to opposing tight ends, but he wasn’t able to take advantage of the matchup before, so there’s no reason to suspect he’ll be able to do so now. Sit him. Drop him.

by Brandon Niles

CAR TE Ian Thomas - Week 7 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 7 at New Orleans Saints

Ian Thomas had nine yards on one reception last week against the Bears. He has a total of just six receptions on 11 targets all season, though he did find the end zone against the Cardinals a few weeks ago. Thomas has a fantastic matchup against a Saints team that ranks second to last in aFPA to opposing tight ends this year, but his targets aren’t high enough to warrant serious consideration in most leagues. He can be left on waivers.

by Brandon Niles

CAR TE Ian Thomas - Week 2 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 2 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ian Thomas had just two targets last week against the Raiders. He caught both of them for only 16 yards, and most concerning, he split snaps with Chris Manhertz. Thomas saw 66% of the team’s offensive snaps. Keep an eye on this situation before trusting Thomas in your starting lineup. We have him outside our top-20 this week, and if he turns in a few more games like this, he’ll be off most fantasy rosters.

by Brandon Niles

CAR TE Ian Thomas - Week 1 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 1 vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Ian Thomas had only 136 yards on 16 receptions last year, but he has shown promise in limited action with Greg Olsen out of the lineup, including 333 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a rookie two seasons ago. With Olsen now in Seattle, Thomas is battling with only Chris Manhertz for starter snaps. He has a nice matchup against the Raiders this week, on paper, who were 30th in aFPA to opposing tight ends last year, but upgraded their linebacking corps significantly. Hopefully Thomas is your second tight end, as it’s probably good to take a wait-and-see approach with him, even in a good matchup.

by Brandon Niles

CAR TE Ian Thomas - 2020 Fantasy Football Outlook

Fantasy Upside

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.

Fantasy Downside

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.

by Brandon Niles

CAR TE Ian Thomas - Week 16 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 16 at Indianapolis Colts

Ian Thomas struggled against the Seahawks last week in what should’ve been a very good matchup. He wound up with just two catches and 23 yards after scoring a touchdown in his previous game. This week, there’s a chance Greg Olsen returns to the lineup, but either way, fantasy owners should steer clear of the Panther tight ends. Rookie quarterback Will Grier is starting, which creates an unknown factor, Olsen’s status makes him difficult to trust and the Colts are ninth in the NFL in aFPA to opposing tight ends this year. Look elsewhere if possible.

by Brandon Niles

CAR TE Ian Thomas - Week 15 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 15 vs. Seattle Seahawks

Ian Thomas filled in nicely for Greg Olsen last week, catching five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. He was second on the team with 10 targets and demonstrated the size and positioning that made him a decent prospect in the draft last year. The Panthers are hoping he can be the heir apparent to Olsen, and he’s shown just enough to provide optimism on that front.

The Seahawks have really struggled against the tight end position this year, ranking 25th in aFPA this year. They allowed seven catches ad 116 yards to Tyler Higbee last week, giving Thomas upside in what should be a very good matchup. He’s risky, but if you’re looking for streaming options with upside, he’s worth grabbing for this week if Olsen remains out as expected.

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