Nabbed a comment about Thomas earlier, so I figured I’d type up a quickie or at least try and make it a quickie as there are a few mitigating factors when evaluating Thomas.
I almost never recommend going after the low-numbered parallels as that’s up to you, but at Daniel Thomas’ current price point he seems like one of the better pre-season buys in both the short term and the long term.
Taking A Quick Look at Daniel Thomas’ prices, here’s what I see:
Donruss Elite Standard TOTC Rookie Cards /299: $10-$15ish
All of these prices seem ridiculously low to me considering Thomas’ talent and I’d gravitate towards Topps Inception at this point.
The first thing dragging the prices down are rumours that Daniel Thomas is running soft, but Tony Sporano recently cleared things up:
Daniel (Thomas) like any other young running back, ok, and I mentioned this yesterday, he only has to be told things once; so usually when you tell him something once he does it. It’s not different than Clyde (Gates) running a route, (Charles) Clay doing what he’s doing, (Mike) Pouncey doing what he’s doing. You know these young guys that just think, they have to understand tempo of practice, tempo of drill, what you’re trying to get accomplished here and I don’t want the runners taking plays. I think it’s a lousy indicator for the offensive line when a runner takes a play and he’s going at one speed and they’re going at another speed. You know it makes them think they have to hold these blocks a lot longer than they have to hold them and it makes him think the hole is going to be there longer than it really is. I mean and the facts are the only way you get timing down is if you go full speed. Daniel (Thomas) had a couple plays in the last two practices where I’ve had to tell him hey, I want you to hit this fast. And as soon as you tell him that he does it. He’s pretty good that way.
Normally, when a coach busts a first year player, he does so to motivate him rather than actually publicly comment on his abilities, but in this case there is the lingering issue of the Larry Johnson signing.
Reggie Bush’s signing probably drove prices down, but I believe that most people figured Miami would keep one of either Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams who would’ve probably hurt Thomas’ value more. Backs sharing the field with Bush still get plenty of carries and almost always benefit from goal line carries, so I have trouble viewing his signing as a negative when compared to retaining either Ricky or Ronnie.
Even with all of these factors stacked against Daniel Thomas, I think the biggest problem may actually be Miami’s schedule. The Dolphins offensive line should come together to be one of the top-five lines in the league this year, but golly do they have a brutal schedule despite current models. Much of Miami’s ease of rushing schedule comes from the Buffalo Bills who should be one of the most improved defences in the league now that they feature Dareus, Williams, Carrington, and Edwards up front with Kelsay, Davis, Barnett and Merriman at linebacker. Not to mention the beef that New England added during the off-season. There are soft spots in the schedule though, particularly where you’d expect Thomas to really find his groove.
So why am I recommending Thomas again?
One of my favorite indicators for production is fantasy football average draft positions and one-for-one trades. More often than not, the crowd knows best.
Daniel Thomas was recently traded for Beanie Wells and Kellen Winslow. In one-for-one deals, names like Moreno, Best, and Michael Bush pop up.
In terms of ranking Thomas, he’s floating around guys like Marshawn Lynch, Ryan Grant and Joseph Addai while being picked ahead of Beanie Wells, C.J. Spiller and his backfield-mate, Reggie Bush.
A lot of people are down on Thomas due to the problems I mentioned earlier combined with questions about Miami’s overall offense and I can see their point, but a cheap runningback is hard to turn down. Hell, Ryan Williams is out for the year and he’s still around Thomas’ prices.
What’s your worst case scenario, anyways?
There’s a soft spot in the schedule from week seven versus Denver to pretty much week 11 or 12 versus Buffalo or Dallas, respectively; so it’s probably worth the gamble.