The New York Jets traded a sixth-round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, a move that should have interesting repercussions for several Jets in fantasy football.
We'll start with Thomas, who gets a major boost from a fantasy perspective by changing teams, and a reunion with head coach Adam Gase as well. Gase was a wide receivers coach for three years and an offensive coordinator for two more while Thomas was with the Denver Broncos, so the two have plenty of familiarity.
Granted, Thomas isn't the same player as he was during his Denver days, when he was one of the top wideouts in the game. But for a Jets team that is pretty weak at the wideout position, he should be an upgrade.
Gase clearly wasn't happy with his receivers on Week 1, pulling no punches on Monday after he was asked why the team didn't stretch the field more in the passing game (h/t John B. of Gang Green Nation):
"I mean if we just make plays all on the balls that we actually threw down the field that is a different number. We had opportunities, we had a chance to win the game, we have to come out of our double move, the guy falls down and we don't come out running. If we do that, then all of a sudden, we're scoring a touchdown. Guys have to do a better job executing what they are supposed to be doing."
When a coach makes those comments and then trades for a receiver a day later, well, it's a pretty good bet that new receiver is going to have a big role immediately.
But Thomas is no longer an elite option, and the Jets passing game isn't exactly threatening just yet. Even with a far bigger role than he would have had in New England as the fifth or sixth option in the passing game, Thomas still has a pretty low ceiling. Consider him a WR4 with potential flex upside going forward. If you add him, keep him on your bench until he proves his role will be fruitful.
The only Jets receiver that should be hurt by this move is Quincy Enunwa. Robby Anderson, despite a disappointing Week 1, remains the team's most talented wideout and best deep option. Thomas isn't going to change his role, leaving him as a flex option.
While Anderson has proved to be boom-or-bust in the past, Crowder is the team's safest wideout from a fantasy perspective. Gase's offense relies on the slot receiver traditionally, as evidenced by Crowder's 14 receptions for 97 yards on 17 targets Sunday. He's a solid flex option.
The player whose fantasy value will plummet with Thomas in town is Enunwa, who had a dreadful start to the season, catching one pass for minus-four yards on Sunday on three targets, also losing a fumble. It's hard to imagine having a much worse game than that.
Joe Caporoso @JCaporoso
I have always been a DT fan but the output hasn't been encouraging in recent years and I'm always wary of trading with New England (although a 6th isn't much). Gase is definitely a coach who has "his guys" & DT checks that box. My guess is Enunwa sees biggest cut in PT from this https://t.co/9AnrAv8KKu
At this point, Enunwa isn't a must-keep player. If you are looking to upgrade your roster with one of the Week 1 standouts at wide receiver like Marquise Brown, John Ross III or Terry McLaurin, Enunwa is the player to ditch. It seems likely Thomas will be taking over his role as the No. 2 receiver on the outside.