Pierre Thomas was touted as one of the top 20 running backs in fantasy football heading into this season. After all, he was a major sleeper in 2008 and was in line to start for the Saints after the team released of Deuce McAllister.
Oh how quickly things can change.
Thomas suffered what appeared to be a minor knee injury in training camp, but it left him inactive for the final preseason games and the first regular-season contest. Now come reports out of New Orleans that he could miss another game, not to mention chances out of the backfield when he returns.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Thomas practiced Wednesday with a huge brace on the knee, which was wrapped in ice after the session. Beat writer Jeff Duncan even suggested that Thomas will not be active against the Eagles.
“I might be wrong, but if I’m a fantasy football coach, I would sit him,” Duncan wrote on his Twitter page.
While Thomas is trying to get back on the field, Mike Bell has been making a statement. The former Denver Broncos back rushed for 143 yards in a blowout win over the Lions and could be in line for carries even when Thomas is back in action.
“We have some [backfield] depth, and each week we’ll evaluate what the plan is,” coach Sean Payton told the Times-Picayune.
Between Payton’s words and the presence of Reggie Bush, the Saints suddenly have the look of a potential three-headed backfield monster. That’s not what fantasy owners were expecting when calling Thomas’ name in the third or fourth round of drafts.
Until Thomas comes back, Bell should be seen as a viable flex starter in leagues with 12-plus teams. But it’s hard to envision what Payton has in store for this trio once Thomas is cleared. For now, fantasy owners are at the coach’s mercy.
Welcome to the wonderful world of backfield committees, my friends.
Can someone pass the Excedrin?