Pierre Thomas Will Be a Top Fantasy Back In 2009

Zach ZarembaCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2009

In the final game of 2007, Pierre Thomas rattled off 100 yards rushing and receiving with a touchdown.  This performance made Thomas a super sleeper coming into the 2008 season. 

He failed to impress early on, but after Reggie Bush injured his knee, and Deuce McAllister's age caught up with him, Thomas went off.

As the Saints entered a week 10 matchup with the surprising Falcons, Thomas had only 150 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns. 

Not only did the Saints lose to the Falcons by double digits, but they also lost top runningback Reggie Bush. 

Deuce McAllister, who never fully recovered from his second torn ACL, was in no condition to assume duties. Thomas stepped forward, and certainly made the most of the opportunity.

Thomas started the next six games and put up huge numbers. 

He ran for 475 yards on only 93 carries, which is a 5.1 yard per carry average.  He became a vocal part of the passing game garnering 202 yards.  He also lived in the end zone, scoring nine touchdowns.

Scoring touchdowns in a very important trait in fantasy football. 

If Thomas were to produce these numbers for a full season he would have 1,800 total yards and about 20 touchdowns, these are numbers only the best fantasy backs produce.

Thomas did bang up his wrist and back which forced him to miss the Saints last game against the Panthers.

Reggie Bush will be back to steal carries and receptions from Thomas, but Saint's coach Sean Payton favors the physical, bruising style Thomas runs with as opposed to the finesse of Bush. 

Thomas is currently slated as the Saint's top back as well as the goal line guy with Bush coming in on most passing situations. 

Some of you may remember the strong season Deuce McAllister had while playing alongside Bush in 2006.  McAllister was also the designated goal line while Bush was used within the twenties. 

McAllister put up a strong season posting 1,057 yards and 10 touchdowns.  McAllister finished the season as the number ten runningback in all of fantasy. 

Now Thomas assumes the role of McAllister, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

Pierre Thomas averaged 4.8 yards per carry last year, as well as 5.1 during his six-game tear.  Thomas also holds a career 4.8 YPC.  McAllister only averaged 4.3 yards per carry. 

Thomas is just twenty-four years old, and is going into his third season in the league.  McAllister was almost twenty-eight, and was coming off his first ACL surgery (his second one came the next year). 

Thomas is quicker and faster than McAllister.  They are both power backs but Thomas does possess some breakaway speed.  This is evidenced by his YPC and youth.

Even John Gruden, the ex-Buccaneer's coach called Thomas the "NFL's best kept secret." 

These all serve as great reasons why Pierre Thomas is positioned to have a huge year.  Please keep this article in mind when you and your fantasy team are on the clock.