Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had just four catches for 13 yards (along with one carry for 25 yards) against the Buffalo Bills in Week 10, but with the team in control of the game early and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger attempting just 30 passes the overall production of the Pittsburgh passing game was down.
Sanders has 41 receptions for 507 yards and two touchdowns this season, and his game-by-game impact has been closely tied to how many pass attempts Roethlisberger has in a game. In the two games prior to last week, against the Oakland Raiders in Week 8 and the New England Patriots in Week 9, Sanders had 13 receptions (on 22 targets) for 186 yards and a touchdown as Roethlisberger had 45 and 48 pass attempts in those games. To break it down a bit further, Sanders was targeted on nearly 24 percent of Roethlisberger’s passes and had the same number of targets as fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown against Oakland and New England.
That close correlation between Sanders’ production and Roethlisberger’s pass attempts bodes well for Week 11 against the Detroit Lions, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (27.4 per game, ESPN scoring) and close to 276 passing yards per game (27th in the league) thus far. Add in the Lions’ offensive proficiency (306.9 passing yards per game, third-best in the NFL), and it’s fair to assume the Steelers will have to throw the ball plenty to keep pace during Sunday’s game.
Sanders may still be available in some leagues (64% percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues), and he has upside potential as a low-end WR2 or high end WR3 in PPR leagues for owners that have been hit by injuries or underachievement at wide receiver. Detroit has allowed seven touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their last three games, but I would not expect a touchdown from Sanders this week.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.