Psst – Washington tight end Logan Thomas is the sleeper fantasy pick of the draft.
Anybody can take Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey or the New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley. Big deal. You’ll overpay for them anyway.
But a real sleeper no one else has is the way to cash and Thomas may end up the team’s second leading receiver in catches after Terry McLaurin. (I know, you took McLaurin in the first round. Congrats.)
Washington desperately needs a tight end who bails out quarterback Dwayne Haskins when the latter needs to dump a ball. Oh, Haskins may be looking at McLaurin downfield regularly. The former Ohio State teammates have great chemistry. But, there will be many times each game where McLaurin isn’t open and the pass rush is closing in on the passer. Better to dink and dunk for five yards than get sacked.
With veteran tight ends Jordan Reed (San Francisco) and Vernon Davis (retired) gone and Jeremy Sprinkle mostly blocking, Washington needs a new tight end target. Maybe running back Antonio Gibson or receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden grabs those balls or receiver Steven Sims increases his load across the middle, but there’s nothing like a tight end good for five yards who can turn it into eight.
The former Virginia Tech quarterback has always been a tight end at heart dating back to his Lynchburg, Va. high school days. He moved to quarterback as a senior, one of those best-athlete-things coaches do, and then continued passing at Virginia Tech. But after being taken as the sixth quarterback in the 2014 draft by Arizona in the fourth round, Thomas converted to tight end two years later. Oh, his first pro completions went 81 yards for a touchdown, but it didn’t take long to figure out he wasn’t an NFL quarterback.
Thomas played two games with Arizona before he was released. He spent 2015 on Miami’s practice squad and 2016 on the Giants practice squad before converting to tight end later that season when spending two weeks on Detroit’s practice squad. Buffalo then signed Thomas, where he started 14 games over two seasons with 19 catches. Thomas then returned to Detroit last season to start every game with 16 catches.
So his stats are nothing special and the resume mostly a long transaction trail, which is why Thomas will be a fantasy bargain. But, he might figure prominently in this offense given offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s father Norv regularly favored tight ends when coaching Washington from 1994-2000.
Coach Ron Rivera has spotted Thomas’ potential in recent practices.
“You see certain things, certain elements,” Rivera said. “We know Logan is showing to be a really good target, especially in the red zone. You see him kind of developing the rapport you’d love with Dwayne. I think Dwayne’s hit him something like five times in the red zone and in the end zone in the last three days. So, you know they’re building that kind of rapport, which is great. . . . You’ve got to have that kind of rapport where things sometimes aren’t just about what’s said in the huddle, but what’s about what’s looked at on the field.”
Suddenly, the sleeper looks like a live play.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks