Why Pierre Thomas Is Just A Borderline Top 30 Running Back In PPR Formats (And Worse In Non-PPR Formats)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After catching 77 passes in 2013 and seeing Darren Sproles sent to Philadelphia it makes sense to view Pierre Thomas as a potential PPR monster. However, just because he should catch passes doesn’t make him an elite option, even with the boost in value.

There’s no reason to think that he isn’t going to catch passes once again this season, though even without Sproles it’s hard to bank on him matching last season’s total. Remember, last season was only the second time in his career that he’s caught more than 39 passes in a season (he had 50 in 2011).

It’s clear that he can catch the football and with Sproles gone you would expect the opportunities to be there. However, 77 receptions once again? It seems like a stretch.

Receiving Yards
As it is, when he caught the football last season it’s not like he routinely made big plays as he picked up 513 yards. That’s an average of 6.7 yards per reception and he owns a career mark of 7.9. In other words, his receiving yards isn’t necessarily a boost in value anyways. If he drops in receptions? It hurts that much more.

Rushing Attempts
He’s going to get some attempts, but is he going to match last season’s 147? Not likely, as he falls behind Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson on the early down depth chart after averaging 3.7 yards per carry last season. Will he get to 100? Perhaps, but even that is hardly a given.

Our early projection calls for 75 carries as a third down type back, which further hurts his cause.

Back in 2008 Thomas totaled 12 TD and he followed that up with 8 in 2009. Since then he’s posted years with 2, 6, 2 and 5. Those are hardly big numbers and certainly don’t help his cause to climb up the rankings.

Games Played
He’s only missed one game over the past three seasons, but earlier in his career he was constantly missing games. It would seem like it’s nothing to worry about, but it’s worth mentioning.

You take all of those things and we come up with the following projection:

Rushing – 75 carries, 300 yards, 2 TD
Receiving – 65 receptions, 450 yards, 2 TD

In a 1 pt. per reception league that would yield 164 points, which literally puts him just outside our Top 30 (he’s ranked 31st). If he is going to get more carries then we currently have him projected for then he obviously would fly up the rankings, but if he’s solely operating as a third down back it’s tough to envision.

There’s obvious potential and he certainly is more valuable in a PPR league than a non-PPR league (44th on our rankings). It all depends on the role he ultimately settles into. With Ingram and Robinson likely dominating carries, though, it’s hard to bank on.

Source – ESPN

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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings:

Top Running Back Handcuffs To Target (Terrance West, Christine Michael & More)
Should Fantasy Owners Ignore Antonio Gates In 2014?


  1. Andy says:

    My team have CJ Spiller, Arian Foster, Shane Vereen, Joique Bell, Trend Richardson and Piere Thomas in a league Non PPR 8 teams, 2RBs and a Fex .
    My Wide Recivers are great so i only worry about RBs.
    Should I keep Piere Thomas or pick Lamar Miller, Carlos Hyde,
    Terrance West, Jeremy Hill ,Devonta Freeman or DeAngelo Williams

  2. Husky8585 says:

    You make a strong case against drafting Pierre Thomas in PPR. Now, when do I get to author my rebuttal article for why owners in PPR leagues should target Pierre Thomas? 🙂

  3. Husky8585 – I welcome it! If you would like to write something up and send it over, I’d be more than happy to post it 🙂

    Andy – I would drop Thomas for West or Freeman (in that order(

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