Saints WR Willie Snead a risky fantasy play for Monday night

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints receiver Willie Snead seems like a definite maybe for Monday Night Football -- which is about as bad as it gets for his fantasy owners.

Snead may indeed play and continue his hot start (he ranked second in the NFL with 226 receiving yards through two weeks and has two touchdown catches). However, the safer, smarter play is to leave Snead on the bench if you have a solid alternative that's playing on Sunday.

Snead declared himself a “game-time decision” Saturday after he was able to practice on a limited basis for the first time all week with a toe injury.

“I feel really good right now. At the end of the day, it’s how I’m feeling on game day,” said Snead, who said the decision will be up to coach Sean Payton after Snead tests it out and tells him how it feels.

“It’s Monday Night Football, the atmosphere’s gonna be great. It’s gonna be frustrating if I can’t go,” Snead said. “If I can go, I’ll make the most of it. … If I can’t, I’ll be on the sidelines cheering my butt off.”

Snead said his toe was injured when it got caught in the turf and rolled up when he was tackled.

“So it just kind of stretched the ligaments out,” Snead said. “Right now I feel OK. I don’t feel a hundred percent, but throughout the week my foot’s been getting better and we’ve been treating it really well.

“I just want to be healthy for the year, to be honest. I don’t want it to linger, I want it to be gone.”

The best-case scenario for fantasy owners would be to have both Snead and Saints rookie receiver Michael Thomas available -- and to use Thomas if Snead is inactive.

Thomas would be a great fantasy play this week if Snead was ruled out. Unfortunately, the uncertainty surrounding Snead also makes Thomas a risky fantasy play.

Thomas, who has 10 catches for 114 yards on 11 targets this year, is still capable of a breakout game on any given night even with Snead on the field. But as the Saints’ No. 3 receiver, his opportunities are a little more limited.

“When your number’s called, you have to respond. And I’m excited for this opportunity, but I think Willie will be ready to play on the big stage Monday also,” said Thomas, who called his first Monday Night Football game a “dream come true.”

“I still [have] a lot of room for improvement. I’m heading in the right direction, but I’m not nearly close to how good I can be, and I just have to keep developing,” said Thomas, who said he has learned quickly that targets can come at any time in the Saints' offense -- so he stays ready.

“You can always get the ball when you have Drew Brees behind center,” Thomas said. “Sometimes you can be covered and he still puts the ball on you.”