8 March 2011

By Andy Boyum
In July of 2010, after ten years and 1.35 million units, Chrysler Group discontinued production of the PT Cruiser. A mere three months later, the New Orleans Saints were considering ceasing production of their cruiser of a similar name.
From ’07-’09, Pierre Thomas, a.k.a. PT Cruiser, was one of the most impressive backs on a per-play basis with 326 carries for 1669 yards – 5.12 ypc – and 16 touchdowns. The young and vibrant, yet undrafted back was surely in store for a breakout season in 2010 with plenty of, if you’ll excuse the poor pun, tread left on the tires.
Before the season began, Thomas signed a one-year $1.684 million tender offer from the Saints in hopes of working out a long-term deal in the future. In Week 3 vs. Atlanta, Thomas injured his ankle in what would turn out to be one of the most frustrating injury predicaments to plague players, coaches and fantasy owners alike. What was supposed to be a minor tweak turned into a ten-week-long ordeal that even had Sean Payton and the powers that be pondering a possible trade to New England, and to eventually bring in Julius Jones.
With an ADP of 33, fantasy owners had high-hopes for Thomas to propel himself into the upper echelon of fantasy backs. Following a two-and-a-half month layover and fantasy playoffs beginning many owners felt as though they could not in good faith insert Thomas into their lineups. That is, if they were lucky enough to make the playoffs at all. They would be proved correct. “PT-23” finished the season out with 122 yards rushing on 37 carries and a score.
After sitting out Week 17, he completed his contract-year campaign with an abysmal 3.24 ypc and was designated to the IR in the week leading up to their wild-card matchup with the Seahawks. Suddenly, Who-Dat Nation was not the odds on favorite repeat as NFL Champion. continue reading »

Despite being limited to 83 carries last year, the Saints signed Pierre Thomas to a four-year deal, according to Pierre Thomas has yet to reach 150 carries in a season, which begs the question if PT23, stands for part-time 23. He had always been effective posting 4.8, 4.8, and 5.4 yards per carry in his first three years. Last year he was down to 3.2 ypc. He was more active in the passing game though, catching 29 passes in six games.
He’s just 26 and doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear. His main problem is staying healthy. He’ll never be a 200+ carry back in the Saints’ system, which should help him stay on the field.
He’ll be a risk/reward type player for fantasy owners, though he won’t go as your RB2 anymore, thus decreasing the risk.
In other news, former Saint tight end Jeremy Shockey signed with the Panthers. They have big-time issues at quarterback, and Shockey isn’t the player he once was, but at this point he’s probably the second best target (after Steve Smith) the Panthers have. Shockey should be a decent TE2.
Tight End Owen Daniels signed a four-year deal with the Texans. Health is always an issue for the talented tight end, but he is an explosive player when he’s on the field. Daniels is a quality TE1 that should come at a discount because of his past injuries. Make sure you add a solid TE2 if you pick Daniels.
The Lions won’t retain Kevin Smith. He’s been injured much of his career so we’re not sure what he can bring to the table. Depending on where he lands, he’ll be a decent late round flier pick.
Darren McFadden could have a tougher time finding running lanes as Robert Gallery won’t be back. He’s a skilled guard, but he also has a injury history, which is a common denominator for all the players in this article.
Extension is the latest word on the CBA. Hopefully they figure something out soon.

Written by Eric Stashin of


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Many people think that 2010 will finally be the year that Pierre Thomas fully breaks out and explodes onto the scene.  My question for those people is…  Why?


Don’t get me wrong, Thomas is a solid running back and could emerge as a Top 10-15 RB, but that’s about his upper limit in my mind.  However, he’s currently the 16th running back being drafted (with an ADP of 29.00 according to Mock Draft Central).


Basically, he’s being drafted about where I think his best-case scenario is.  I know, he’s likely to finally be the #1 running back in New Orleans, but there are a few reasons that I’m skeptical heading into the season.


First of all, the presence of Reggie Bush.  While Thomas may get the bulk of the carries, Bush has proven to be a dynamic third down/change of pace back.  He’s going to be in the game as a receiving option and a playmaker, but don’t discount his ability to run the ball as well.


Granted, the team is not likely to hand the ball off to him time and time again, in order to keep him healthy.  Still, this past weekend he proved just how dangerous he could be on the ground rushing seven times for 49 yards and a touchdown.
continue reading »

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Pierre Thomas combined for a modest 1095 total yards (793 rushing) and 8 TDs (6 rushing) last year. He entered the season with high expectations, but the start of the season was derailed because of a knee injury. He came back with a vengeance piling up 126 yards and 2 TDs against Buffalo. He followed that game up with 132 total yards and a scored against the jets. From there it was a mixed bag, alternating between solid and subpar performances. He only got 12 carries in the final three weeks and 31 in the final five with just 1 TD.


Along the way Mike Bell vultured 654 yards and 5 TDs and Reggie Bush added 725 total yards (390 rushing) and 8 TDs (5 rushing). He had over 15 carries just once during the year (Week 4 vs. Jets). He seemed to pick it up a bit in the playoffs though rushing for 143 yards and a TD on 36 carries with 12 catches for 111 yards and 2 TDs.


He again enters the season with optimism thanks to Mike Bell’s departure to Philadelphia. PT is going on average with the 27th pick (16th RB). I personally have him higher (click to see my RB ratings). He is a perfect RB for the Saints’ system and picks up yards in chunks. Last year he averaged 5.4  yards per carry. Despite Reggie Bush’s presence, he still managed to catch 39 passes last year.


In the nine games last year in which he had 10+ carries he averaged 93.7 total yards with 7 TDs. In six double-figure carries games in 2008 he averaged 112.8 total yards with 9 TDs. He doesn’t need 20+ carries to do serious damage. As long as he gets about 15-18 touches he is capable of putting up RB1 numbers.


Without Mike Bell stealing his carries, PT is almost guaranteed to have that kind of usage. That, of course, is provided he stays healthy.


Prediction:  1300 total yards (1000 rushing), 8 TDs (7 rushing), 35 receptions


What do you expect from Pierre Thomas?



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The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints are a fantasy friendly bunch. Big things should be in store for them in 2010 as well.

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule: Moderate
On paper they have a cakewalk (Rams in Week 14), a dogfight (Ravens in Week 15), and a tough divisional match-up (Falcons in Week 16). The Baltimore game is in the road, and they could possibly run into some tough weather.

Five Star Fantasy Options
Drew Brees – Brees is easily one of the premier QBs (fantasy and reality) in the league. Throwing for 4000+ yards and 30+ TDs has become commonplace. He’s as consistent as they come.

Marques Colston – He has more weapons to share with Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson’s development, but he is still the go-to-guy.

Four Star Fantasy Options
Pierre Thomas – Staying healthy is the key, but PT is one of the most versatile backs in the league. He could approach 1500 total yards and double-digit scores.

Three Star Fantasy Options
Reggie Bush – Bush is obviously more valued in PPR leagues, but he has some value in standard leagues as well. He could easily approach 1000 total yards and 8-10 TDs.

Two Star Fantasy Options
Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson – I like both of these young WRs, but I value Meachem a little more. Meachem had 722 yards and 9 TDs. Henderson had 804 yards and 2 scores.

Jeremy Shockey – His mouth could lead you to believe he’s better than he actually is. He will get some yards, but he’s just as likely to injure himself.

Saints Defense/Special Teams – Their D isn’t great, but they are well coached. Darren Sharper is a perfect fit for this defense racking up INTs.

One Star Fantasy Options
Lynell Hamilton – Hamilton will take over for Mike Bell. He’ll need a PT injury to have consistent value.

Lance Moore – Injuries cost him last year, and given the success Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem shared, he could see few opportunities in 2010.

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.


Chris Johnson said yesterday that despite skipping offseason workouts he doesn’t have a problem with the Titans. Of course, today he tweets “Just got off the phn w/ my agent & its not gd news I’m feeling lk @Revis24 rt now at least dey offering him something dey not offering me nothing”. That doesn’t sound like  somebody without some animosity. This situation could get ugly if it drags on.


Marshawn Lynch attended his first offseason workout today for the Buffalo Bills. Lynch is third on the depth chart at this point behind Fred Jackson and rookie C.J. Spiller. The odds of a trade, perhaps to Seattle, remain high at this point.


Pierre signed his one-year tender yesterday. A long-term deal is in negotiations. With Mike Bell in Philly, PT could put up some serious fantasy numbers without costing you too high of a draft pick. Of course, he’ll have to stay healthy.


Finally, Ryan Moats signed with the Vikings. He gives the Vikings a veteran presence following Chester Taylor’s departure. He’ll compete for backup duty with Albert Young (12 career carries), Ian Johnson (practice squad last year), and rookie Tobey Gerhart.


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Mike Bell Speculation

24 September 2009

The Times-Picayune is reporting that New Orleans Saints RB Mike Bell could miss 3-4 weeks with his sprained knee.  Mike Bell, the Saints, and team doctors have not commented on Bell’s status for this weekend’s game, let alone his status a month from now.

The timetable is roughly that of Pierre Thomas.  The problem, though, is you’re not comparing apples to apples.  First of all, everyone recovers at a different pace.  Second, the extent of the injuries likely isn’t the same.

It’s all speculation at this point.  Take the Cowboys for example.  Marion Barber was slated to miss a week or two and he participates in practice the next two days.  What’s worse is you can’t even count on the injury report because team’s can list someone on the report every week (ahem Tom Brady) or they can choose not to list them (ahem Brett Favre).

The odds of Bell playing this weekend are slim.  Looking any further gets hazy.  We’ll have to see if he can practice.  Unless you are a game-changer like Brian Westbrook, practice is required to play.  Mike Bell is solid, but Westy he is not.  The Saints have an explosive passing game and Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush have proven capable of getting the job done out of the backfield.  The Saints are so confident in their system that Lynell Hamilton could be called upon this weekend.

I urge you not to overreact and drop Mike Bell until further information is revealed.  You can pick up Hamilton if have someone expendable, but check on Thomas’ status before you decide to plug him in on Sunday.  The same goes for the Cowboys situation.  You can plug in Felix Jones since he should produce whether MB3 plays or not, but do not use Tashard Choice, even in a flex spot, if Barber is going to play.  They don’t go until Monday so you’ll have to make that decision on Sunday.  When in doubt, I would lean towards using another option.

Going forward you’re likely to hear more injury timetables without the proper verification.  I’m not saying they are wrong, but I just caution you to make any rash decisions until all of the facts are revealed.

Mike Bell (sprained knee) is not serious.  There is a chance that he plays this week against Buffalo.  Look for Pierre Thomas to get more work.  It seems like the trio will get theirs every week.  It’s just a matter of who can stay healthy.  With their passing attack, they could probably drag Deuce McAllister off his couch and he’d be productive.

Troy Williamson (shoulder) is done for the year.  He’ll always have his preseason.

It appears that DeSean Jackson’s groin pull was a mild one and he should be good to go against Kansas City this weekend.  His role could be limited, and with the risk of aggravating his injury, it may be best to look for a replacement.

Marion Barber also looks to be fine after straining his quad.  With Felix Jones and Tashard Choice as options, Barber could have a limited workload against Carolina.

It appears that Matt Hasselbeck has a fractured rib and will miss their tilt with Chicago this week.  Seneca Wallace is an option in two QB leagues, but I wouldn’t consider in standard leagues.  When Wallace replaced Hasselbeck last year, he looked to Deion Branch.  T.J. Houshmandzadeh could see more targets.  I’d downgrade Nate Burleson and John Carlson if Hasslebeck can’t go.

Pierre Thomas’s knee will cost him a juicy matchup against Detroit.  Be sure to bump Reggie Bush up a few notches, and Mike Bell, who was already in my Fantasy Fill-ins for the week, shows up on the radar.  An unlikely RB2 for the first week, but the situation is almost too good to be true. 

Look elsewhere for your WR3s as both Kevin Walter and Bernard Berrian on game-time-decisions.  Who wants to deal with that in the first week?  There are better plays this week that won’t give you an upset stomach.

It looks as if Brian Westbrook will play on Sunday.  If you’re planning on using him, make sure you have a replacement RB on speed dial.

It looks as if Marc Bulger and Kyle Orton are going to get the nod this week.  Say it with me…Whoopty Doo.  If you’re in dire straights role with Orton, but if you are using Bulger you might as well pencil in a L for the week.

In relevant QB news, Carson Palmer will get the start for the Bengals.  He makes a nice start against Denver despite missing the bulk of the preseason.

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Pierre Thomas running

Pierre Thomas has been a trendy pick in fantasy football leagues this year.  The hype train has finally let Reggie Bush off.  Pierre Thomas is the more complete Running Back and will take the lion’s share of the carries as well as the goal line duties.  He has bulked up to handle the beating that 100+ additional carries will bring.  He gave a glimpse of what he can do with regular touches last year in Weeks 11-16 when he averaged 112.83 yards (79.16 rushing) on 15.5 carries and 3.2 receptions with 9 TDs.  Reggie will still get his touches, but Pierre is clearly the feature back.

Reggie Bush Leaping
That doesn’t mean that Reggie Bush should be an afterthought.  If he can stay healthy, he is still one of the most explosive players in the league.  He will likely have more receiving yards than rushing yards.  He should have 70+ receptions to lead all Running Backs.  He will add a Punt Return for TD if he is given the opportunity, though at this point I would take that duty away for his health’s sake. 

In an offense like the Saints have matchups are almost irrelevant, but I’ll point out his favorable matchups against Detroit (Week 1) and St. Louis (Week 10) and his challenging ones against Philly (Week 2), the Giants (Week 6), Carolina (Week 9), New England (Week 12), and Washington (Week 13).  Their fantasy playoff schedule is Atlanta, Dallas, and Tampa Bay, which is fairly difficult.

Pierre Thomas will likely go in the second or third round in your fantasy draft.  I expect him to be very productive with 1400+ total yards and 10+ TDs.  Meanwhile, Reggie Bush should have around 1100 total yards (400 rushing, 700 receiving) with 8 total TDs.  Bush will be drafted in the third or fourth round, with a significant bump in PPR leagues.

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