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What to do with Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith in Week 9 fantasy football

We go over the fantasy football outlook for Michael Thomas and the Saints wide receivers ahead ahead of their Week 9 matchup against the Bucs.

Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas (13) during NFC Practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports.  Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game day update: We’ll be waiting to see if Michael Thomas plays on Sunday night, if does then that helps out the Saints’ offense tremendously. In his only game this season, Thomas had three receptions (five targets) for 17 yards. But don’t hold that performance against the star wide receiver because we know when the bright lights are on, he shines. However, if he can’t play, Emmanuel Sanders will be able to pickup the slack for the WR unit. ESPN projects Thomas and Sanders to score 10.6 and 6.9 fantasy points, respectively.

After not having their full complement of wide receivers last week against the Chicago Bears, the New Orleans Saints’ offense might be getting a major boost before their Sunday night matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Wide receivers Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Marquez Callaway reportedly all returned to practice on Wednesday. Thomas was limited at practice on Thursday, but there’s a chance he could play on Sunday. The star wide receiver has been rehabbing from both hamstring and ankle injuries.

Sanders has been out for the last couple of weeks as he tested positive for COVID-19. Last week, it was not known if he was going to play in Week 9. But the veteran wideout said on the Uninterrupted’s ‘17 Weeks’ Podcast that he’s 100 percent playing, per Nick Underhill.

Lastly, Callaway was a late addition to the Week 8 injury report with an ankle injury. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver had a terrific Week 7 performance against the Carolina Panthers, where he had eight receptions (10 targets) for 75 yards.

Fantasy Football analysis: Saints WRs Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith

If the Saints can get all three wide receivers back for Sunday’s pivotal NFC South primetime game, that would be ideal. However, even if Thomas isn’t fully 100-percent, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees will welcome both Sanders and Callaway back with open arms.

Last week against the Bears, the Saints did not get much production from wide receiver position. Tre’Quan Smith had five receptions for 43 yards, while Deonte Harris pitched in with three receptions for 19 yards, and Austin Carr had a catch for 10 yards. Therefore, Brees had to lean on running back Alvin Kamara, who had nine receptions for 96 yards and tight end Jared Cook, who had five receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown.

However, getting back Sanders, gives Brees another perimeter option, who can also lineup in the slot. In his final game before being placed on the COVID-19 list, the veteran wideout had 12 receptions (14 targets) for 122 receiving yards against the Los Angeles Chargers.

With that type of performance, Sanders scored 12.2 fantasy points, which came off the heels of a 9.3 fantasy outing in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Start Michael Thomas — if he’s cleared to play

Start Emmanuel Sanders

Sit Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway