WFT Fantasy Football Outlook: What is Logan Thomas' ceiling? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
* As the 2021 NFL season inches closer, NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux takes a look at the fantasy football outlook of multiple Washington Football Team players. Next up: what is Logan Thomas' ceiling in 2021?
Can Logan Thomas be a top-five fantasy tight end?
One year ago, Logan Thomas was relatively unknown across the NFL. A former quarterback that transitioned to tight end, Thomas' career-high for receptions in a season was just 16 prior to the 2020 season.
Then, 2020 happened.
The surprise breakout star for Washington last season, Thomas hauled in 72 passes for 670 yards for the Burgundy and Gold last season. The tight end also found the end zone six times for Washington; only Antonio Gibson scored more on offense last season.
Entering 2021, Thomas is no longer an unknown. While he still has a ways to go to enter the Travis Kelce and George Kittle category, Thomas has emerged as one of the league's better tight ends.
The NFL is no longer sleeping on Thomas. The fantasy football community isn't anymore, either.
Thomas is currently ranked as the ninth-best tight end entering the season, according to FantasyPros. That means he'll almost certainly be the starter for whatever team drafts him.
Thomas is also listed in that Tier 2 category of tight ends along with five others: T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, Dallas Goedert and Noah Fant. Tier 1 consists of Kelce, Kittle and Darren Waller.
There is perhaps no bigger gap between elite and average players in fantasy football than at the tight end position. Having an elite tight end significantly changes the potential and overall roster construction of a fantasy football team. it also provides significant trade value for those teams that don't roster a top talent at the position.
So, will Thomas be able to reach that category in 2021 and build off his 2020 campaign? It's hard to say.
Last year, Thomas was a top-five fantasy football tight end. He finished as TE4, behind Kelce, Waller and Robert Tonyan. It's also worth noting that Kittle missed most of the season due to injury.
On paper, Thomas should be able to have similar numbers to one year ago. He's got another full year at tight end under his belt, which certainly benefits considering he's still relatively new to the position. He also spent a weekend in Nashville this summer at Tight End University, working out and learning from Kelce, Kittle and some of the best at the position around the league.
If Thomas is unable to replicate those numbers from a year ago, it's more likely to do with the newly added talent around him than the tight end himself.
In 2020, Thomas saw 110 targets, which was tied for J.D. McKissic for the second-most on the team. Wideout Terry McLaurin led the team with 134 targets last fall, a number that could potentially increase with the addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is known for heavily involving his No. 1 wide receiver.
Washington also signed versatile wideout Curtis Samuel in free agency, who is expected to have a major role in all facets of the offense. The team has already said they want Gibson to have a bigger role in the passing attack this fall, too. And, third-round wide receiver Dyami Brown should also garner some looks downfield as well.
Simply put, there are a lot more mouths to feed in Washington than there were in 2020. Thomas certainly made the most of his opportunity last fall, but there's a solid chance he doesn't see nearly as many targets in 2021 for the reasons listed above.
That being said, Thomas should have a solid floor, too. He's proven to have reliable hands and has the athletic ability to be a mismatch for several defenders. His height, speed and agility make it hard for most linebackers to cover him.
Like most tight ends outside of Kittle, Kelce and Waller, drafting Thomas comes with some risks. But, should he develop solid chemistry with Fitzpatrick early on, he has the chance to finish the season as a top-five fantasy tight end for the second consecutive season.