NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero has reported that New Orleans Saints star wide receiver, Michael Thomas, is expected to miss several weeks due to a high-ankle sprain that is much worse than previously believed.
The loss of Thomas is clearly a devastating blow for NOLA’s offense and an irreplaceable loss for fantasy football owners. With that said, here are a few options to get your fantasy team afloat over the next few weeks.
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Stock Watch: Emmanuel Sanders & Tre’Quan Smith
The two most direct beneficiaries to Thomas’ injury are Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith, as both receivers are bound to see a solid uptick in usage moving forward. The first instinct would be to lean towards Sanders from a fantasy perspective, as the veteran pass-catcher tied Thomas in Week 1 for the team lead in targets (5) amongst all wide receivers.
With that said, Smith actually out-snapped Sanders 44-to-33 in the team’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith has also quietly been the more productive of the two as of late. While not earth-shattering, Smith has topped 9.1 fantasy points in three of his last five games, including two outings over 10.9 points. Sanders, on the other hand, has scored 9.1 fantasy points or fewer in seven of his last nine games.
If you’re looking for a stop-gap solution for a week or two, Sanders is the safer bet. However, with Thomas’ injury timeline currently up in the air, Smith looks to be the best long-term add.
Waiver Wire Targets
While Sanders and Smith will see an uptick in usage, they are far from the best potential replacements for Thomas on the open market. At the top of nearly everyone’s list should be Indianapolis Colts wideout, Parris Campbell, who is owned in just 23 percent of Yahoo leagues.
The second-year pro has the makings of being a legitimate WR2 in PPR-scoring formats this season. Campbell tied TY Hilton for the team lead with nine targets in Week 1, and outscored the veteran 14.0 to 9.3. Campbell finished with a solid 14-point outing in Week 1. As we covered in our Week 2 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Wide Receivers column, this may just be the beginning.
Those numbers could see a jump in Week 2 vs. a Vikings defense who surrendered the seventh-most points to wideouts in 2019 and kicked off 2020 by allowing an average of 105 receiving yards and 1.3 touchdowns to the Packers’ top-three receivers.
Chicago Bears slot receiver Anthony Miller is another high-volume target worth giving a look. Owned in just slightly over half of Yahoo leagues, Miller has now either scored a receiving touchdown or seen nine-plus targets come his way in all but two games since Week 11 of last season. There’s also the possibility that he sees even more usage in the near future with rumors of Allen Robinson looking to be traded out of Chicago.