If you're fantasy obsessed, tune into the "Fantasy Freak Show" on WSCR 670 in Chicago or right here in the Arcade tonight starting at Midnight ET/11 PM CT/9 PM PT. Behrens and the Noise, who may erotically combust on-air if the PT Bruiser is mentioned, will be talking with Yahoo!'s Charles Robinson, Michael Silver and potentially another very special guest. Bring the noise at 312-644-6767 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well-known amongst the fantasy masses, the Noise's obsession with Pierre Thomas(notes) is annoying, repulsive and downright creepy. Call it blatant Illinois homerism. Call it weird. Call it simply sick. But the unabashed allegiance this fanalyst houses for the third-year Saint doesn't stem from alumni ties or a unique form of OCD; it's
partially solely rooted in statistical upside.
For two years, the Noise was considered - and probably still is - an insufferable prognosticator. To some, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who predicted at the onset of WWI German troops would "Be home before the leaves fall," possessed more foresight. Several times he predicted the PT Cruiser was on the verge of fantasy greatness (Exhibit A, Exhibit B), but nonbelievers continuously dismissed his Fearless Forecasts as nothing more than biased rubbish.
However, late last season the obnoxious blowhard's words proved prophetic. Over the final eight weeks of the regular season, the Saintly rusher transformed overnight from cruiser to bruiser. During an unforgettable sprint through the most critical portion of the fantasy season, he averaged 102.2 total yards per game (4.4 ypc) and totaled nine scores after Week 10. More incredibly, he compiled those staggering numbers netting a mere 14.3 touches per game. Only DeAngelo Williams(notes), who averaged 20.4 pigskin grips per game over that same span, outpaced Pierre down the homestretch.
Despite Thomas' stirring playoff run and entrenched role as Reggie Bush's(notes) between-the-tackles complement, many skeptics still refuse to believe he's worthy of a Round 3 selection (32.65 ADP). Their primary worries center on Bush, New Orleans' pass-heavy philosophy, Sean Payton's sudden infatuation with Mike Bell(notes) and PT's limited history of production and sprained MCL. Though the knee injury is a concern, the remaining uncertainties hold little weight. To clarify, revisit Payton's three-back rotation comments from August 26th:
"I think so," Saints Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday when asked if the club might employ a three-back rotation this season.
"A lot of people do (it)," Payton said. "You play a long season, and I've just been taught that that's a position you need to stack it up and have depth, because you know you're going to have some nicks along the way. The exception to the rule is the team that can feature one back the whole season."
Basically, Payton is following the same blueprint several teams, including the Giants, Cowboys, Ravens and Raiders, have successfully implemented for years. As we've seen in most of those situations, the institution of a three-back system doesn't automatically cripple the value of the parties involved. Because Thomas is a multi-functional, powerful force -- he could be used in the Wildcat this year -- he's essentially the Marion Barber(notes) of Bourbon Street.
Frankly, utilizing three backs isn't a new tactic in ‘Nawlins. Last season, Deuce McAllister(notes), Bush and Thomas, when all parties were healthy, split reps. Though Deuce occasionally supplanted PT close to the end-zone, the understudy still netted 43.4 percent of the Saints' red zone carries. He also attracted 13.3 percent of Drew Brees(notes) looks inside the 20, the 13th-best mark among RBs. It's obvious the coaching staff trusts his bloodhound abilities. Even if Bell received appreciable action, he likely wouldn't wrest away many goal-line touches.
As we've maintained repeatedly, Thomas is a Round 3 back who will yield a Round 1 value. His tireless work ethic, cemented role, versatility and significant touches behind an unyielding offensive line, are strong indicators he will build on his difference-making '08 campaign.
Be afraid, naysayers. The PT Bruiser is about to steamroll the competition.
Fearless Forecast (15 games): 218 carries, 1,030 rushing yards, 29 receptions, 261 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns
Who is your Most Valuable Crush? Where in the RB pecking order do you see Thomas finishing? Do you have the stones to lambaste the Noise tonight live on-air? Discuss below.
Image courtesy of Getty
- Sean Payton