Pierre Thomas: Complete Fantasy Profile & Draft Strategy

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IISeptember 2, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:   Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with fans after defeating the Detroit Lions by a score of 45-28 to win during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

For those of you still waiting for Pierre Thomas to have a career year: This could be it. 

Or you could be waiting another year or two to see it happen.

At times, the Saints running back has looked alternately full of potential and devoid of it. While he's an important component of New Orleans' rushing attack, he's not the key component. And given the Saints' offseason woes and coaching uncertainties, there's the possibility that his numbers could dip even more.

Basically, Thomas could have a decent season, but he also could be a risky selection. Here's a look at when it's safe to draft him and why.

Average Draft Position: His ADP is 133.5, according to ESPN.com

Injury Assessment: Though Thomas has been hit by the injury bug at various times, he seems to be OK now. Thomas suffered a hit that took him out of the Saints' playoff loss to the 49ers last year, but according to The Times-Picayune's Lyons Yellin, he's fully recovered. 

Season Projections: According to CBSSports.com, Thomas is projected to finish the 2012 season with 124 carries for 566 yards and 3.3 rushing touchdowns. As a pass receiver, he's expected to account for t 234.3 yards with 1.3 touchdowns. 

Bye: Week 6 

Splits: Last season, Thomas had  34.5 percent of the Saints' carries, behind only Mark Ingram, who had 38 percent. This year, he'll likely share time with Ingram and Darren Sproles, though Ingram is currently dealing with a knee injury that could increase the load for Thomas in the early going.

Players to Take Before Thomas: Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cedric Benson.

Players You Should Take After Thomas: Rashard Mendenhall, Brandon Jacobs, Dexter McCluster, Danny Woodhead.

Verdict: Thomas' numbers have never really jumped off the page, but he's a solid running back if he can stay healthy. If Ingram remains hampered by injury, Thomas could see his numbers skyrocket.