Saints star receiver and preseason consensus No. 1 Fantasy Football wide receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss several weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain late in the team's Week 1 win over the Buccaneers, according to's Tom Pelissero. It's a crushing blow to one of the league's best receivers in one of the league's best offenses. It also will sting Fantasy managers' lineups for a while.

Since 2017, Thomas has earned 28.8% of Drew Brees' targets in the Saints offense. You already know he's good for around nine scores and well over 100 receptions per season thanks to that engorged target volume. It's what makes him dominant in Fantasy, and it's the Saints' reliance on Thomas that opens things up elsewhere on the field.

Typically, a high-ankle sprain will cost a player anywhere from two to six games and could have lingering effects for weeks after. Rare is the case of someone coming back early from the injury and playing as if he never got hurt. These things are bothersome. As much as we'd love to give Thomas the benefit of the doubt here, the truth is he's missed one game in his career. We don't know how his body reacts to this. 

We also might not see him on the field again until after the Saints' Week 6 bye. 

There's no replacing Thomas' production. Those who drafted him must plant him on the bench and be patient. Trade him away? Only if a generous offer is made. Otherwise, the timing's not right — a Fantasy manager should prefer to wait until he or she really needs some wins before pawning Thomas off to another contending team. Think of it this way: If you can keep your team around .500 without Thomas, imagine what you can do once Thomas returns.

But you would have to find someone else to start while he's out. On the Saints, the top two receivers who figure to benefit the most are Emmanuel Sanders and Tre'Quan Smith. It was Smith who played more snaps (44) than Sanders (33) in Week 1, but neither saw many numbers beyond Sanders' short-yardage score.

Smith has had opportunities to play a larger role before but he's never played without Thomas before. There's reason for optimism, however, since his target volume figures to improve: In 11 of 27 career games with three or more targets, Smith has eight touchdowns and two 100-yard games. That's not bad, especially since most of those games involved three or four targets. He's absolutely worth speculating on.

Sanders has been helpful for Fantasy managers as recently as the first half of 2019 and will figure to be the more popular name off waivers. In his favor: Experience working as a No. 1 receiver and a pedigree of being a good Fantasy option. He, too, should have a chance at seeing increased targets with Thomas out, but inconsistency has long been an issue for him. Last year he had 10-plus Fantasy points in non-PPR (15 in PPR) in 5 of 17 regular-season games (that's not a typo, he was traded mid-season and played every single week). He's worth adding off waivers, too.

But why get one of them when you could hit your neighborhood waiver wire and go after a receiver on a different team? Anthony Miller, Mike Williams, Robby Anderson and Parris Campbell all figure to be better than Smith and Sanders, with potential to help your roster even after Thomas' return. Get one of them first, then hope to add Smith or Sanders with a waiver claim. Neither Saints receiver warrants even 10% of a FAB bid.

Will these guys put up enough numbers, along with their teammates to help Drew Brees? Look, Brees just had a rather disappointing game (18 Fantasy points) with Thomas barely contributing. How often will he be outstanding without Thomas? It'll take those receivers along with Jared Cook and Alvin Kamara stepping up in a huge way, but Brees' 60% completion rate and 5.33 yards per attempt from Week 1 aren't particularly promising. You may opt to stream the quarterback position and bench Brees until Thomas comes back. Ryan Tannehill and Gardner Minshew come to mind quickly as replacements.

As for Cook and Kamara, their roles figure to expand. Cook was already a startlingly effective downfield target for Brees, but his coverage might change because of Thomas' departure. For now he's a reliable starter, especially entering a matchup against the young Raiders secondary. Kamara could take on a little more work, and while that adds a little risk of opening him up to injuries, the truth is that he's too important a playmaker for the Saints to not lean on heavily until Thomas is back. He remains a top-four Fantasy running back.