Saints star WR Michael Thomas' high-ankle injury is worse than originally believed, and he’s now expected to miss several weeks.
Michael Thomas is expected to "miss several weeks" per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The definition of several is "more than two but not many," so under normal circumstances, Thomas would be held out through the Saints' Week 6 bye, which would give him 5-6 weeks to fully heal. (4-6 weeks of recovery is commonly cited for a high-ankle sprain, but players return to action in 15 days, on average, though the injury won't be fully healed at that point.) Thomas is highly competitive, and will likely push to get back on the field sooner than that, so the key will be if the Saints place him on three-week IR. If they do, he's out until Week 5 at the earliest, and at that point the Week 6 bye is looming. If they don't put him on three-week IR, then it signals that they are expecting him back in Week 3 or Week 4. Regardless, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre'Quan Smith, Jared Cook and Alvin Kamara would be the primary beneficiaries of a Thomas absence. We know what Sanders can do, but he's getting older (33), so this is a golden opportunity for Smith, who had three fantasy-relevant games in 2018 as a rookie (3-111-2 in Week 5, 10-157-1 in Week 11 and 3-30-1 in Week 17) and five touchdown receptions in a largely disappointing sophomore season where he missed five games with an ankle injury. He's 6'2" with 4.49 speed and good burst per Player Profiler and posted 59-1,171-13 at American in his junior season. Both Drew Brees and Sean Payton talked him up during camp, though that didn't manifest itself in Week 1, since he had just one target on 25 routes run, per PFF. (He did run more routes than Sanders, who ran 23, which shows you where he is on the receiving pecking order.) Smith is probably not going to be a long-term fix at receiver, but if you're looking for a few starts from someone widely available on the waiver wire, he's a good choice.