Going into the 2014 NFL season it seems highly likely that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be willing to part ways with impending free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders enjoyed his best season as a pro and even his career-best numbers aren’t staggering. In 2013, Sanders posted 67 receptions for 740 yards and five touchdowns. The other troublesome number when looking at Sanders’ number is his successful catch rate. Last season, he caught 67 balls out of 112 that were thrown to him, that put him at a 59.8 percent successful catch rate and he has hovered around that number most of his career.
Those pedestrian numbers don’t appear to be the numbers of any legitimate No. 2 wide out in any offense in the league. The most likely course of action for the Steelers will be to cut bait on Sanders and attempt to mold second-year player Markus Wheaton into the No. 2 receiver. Also, due to the immense amount of quality in this year’s wide receiver draft class, Pittsburgh may look to add another receiver through the draft.
Given what appears likely to be happening, will Sanders have any value in fantasy football if he has to sign somewhere else? Yes, but not too much — Sanders can definitely have some value wherever he ends up next, but he still should be viewed as a mid-range WR-4 with some upside.
Sanders has proven in the past that he can be a capable wide out, but his successful catch rate makes him a lot less appealing to fantasy owners. He shouldn’t even be considered to be taken in fantasy drafts at all. His middling numbers throughout his career dictate that he won’t be coveted in fantasy football drafts. Any fantasy football GM looking to pick up Sanders should wait until the season starts and the waiver wire opens. He will most likely be available and will not cost an owner a draft pick in the process.