Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, who has missed his team’s last three games with a high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable on the Saints’ injury report in advance of the team’s Monday Night Football game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Per ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Saints head coach Sean Payton didn’t drop any clues as to whether Thomas will suit up.
“We’ll always do what’s best for the athlete and be smart regarding any player,” Payton told reporters.
Thomas holds the NFL single-season receptions record after hauling in 149 passes for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He saw 185 targets, good enough for nearly 12 per game last year.
Thomas is one of the game’s best players on the field or in fantasy football, and his return will be welcomed by those who drafted him.
A few questions have risen in regards to Thomas’ status for this week, however.
First, it’s possible that fans may not know whether Thomas suits up until game day. That’s an issue for fantasy, as the Chargers vs. Saints game is the second-to-last game of the week.
In other words, if you want to hold out hope Thomas plays, you need a fallback bench option on the Chargers, Saints, Buffalo Bills or Tennessee Titans (the latter two teams play Tuesday) in case he’s ruled out.
The other option is to bench Thomas for one more week and play someone going on Sunday, avoiding the risk of the Saints’ No. 1 wideout being declared out.
Presumably, one will have better options to pick from Sunday (in 10 games) than on Monday and Tuesday (for two).
In other words, the move with the safer floor is simply benching Thomas for one more week (barring any news developments before Sunday at 1 p.m. ET), while the one with the highest upside is starting him and hoping for good news.
Thomas is a WR1 even if he’s rusty or limited, simply because he’s an elite talent who more often than not stuffs the stat sheet every week.
The verdict here is to roll the dice and hope Thomas plays. In that case, check the waiver wire for any Bills, Titans, Saints and Chargers as a backup plan well in advance, and keep an eye out for any Thomas news.