It is championship week for many fantasy football leagues, and those lucky enough to survive the playoffs are searching for the lineup that will give them bragging rights until next season. Here's why you need to pick up and start Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas against the Panthers. (NOTE: All rankings are based on ESPN Standard scoring, which includes one point per reception.)
(All fantasy football analysis is based on the opinions of staff writer Zach Selby and editor Kyle Stackpole.)
Start: TE Logan Thomas
Head coach Ron Rivera has mentioned throughout the season that tight ends coach Pete Hoener vouched for Thomas in the offseason. Hoener, who has coached multiple Pro Bowl tight ends over the course of his career, circled Thomas' name and told Rivera that the former Virginia Hokies quarterback was on the cusp of being a productive player.
Thomas has always shown flashes of his ability, but he has consistently displayed the talent Hoener saw in him over the past four weeks. He has put up at least 10 fantasy points in eight of 14 games this season, including four straight in the past month, and set career-highs against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. He has caught 32 receptions on 36 targets for 262 yards and two touchdowns.
"To be able to pass, catch and make guys miss and get open and get separation like he can at that size is pretty impressive," wide receiver Terry McLaurin said after the Seahawks game. "I felt like he causes some mismatches for the defense. Him and the quarterbacks -- whether it's been Alex [Smith] or Dwayne Haskins Jr. -- they have been connecting a lot and that just helps our offense as a whole."
The Panthers already have a below-average passing defense, allowing 239.7 yards per game, but the matchup is tilted even more in Thomas' favor since the Panthers give up the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Over the past four weeks, he has finished in the top 10 for tight ends in terms of fantasy points. His 23.1 points against the Seahawks, which is his second-highest of the season, was second only to Darren Waller, who had 30 points for the Las Vegas Raiders.
And when it comes to usage, Thomas has proven to be a reliable option regardless of who is starting at quarterback. He is tied for second in targets (92), second in receiving yards (570), second in yards per game (40.7), third in receptions (62) and leads the team with five touchdowns.
"Just playing, being able to play the game and just getting a full understanding of what defenses do and how to attack them because everybody does something a little bit different," Thomas said. "Getting an opportunity to play is special and that's when you really learn the most."
Thomas is rostered in 68.2% of leagues, so there is a chance he is available to those who are playing in the final week of fantasy football.
So if you're looking for a waiver pickup to get a championship win, or even if you have Thomas on the bench, now is your last chance to reap the benefits of starting him.