Even though rookie receiver Cody Latimer may be a new offensive weapon for Peyton Manning, fantasy football players will have a better season if they draft wideout Emmanuel Sanders.
Luckily for Manning and the Denver Broncos, the offense is bursting at the seams with talented receivers. If you caught a pass from the legendary quarterback in 2013, you made fantasy owners very happy. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas totaled 1,430 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, Eric Decker wasn’t far behind with 1,288 and 11 touchdowns and Julius Thomas finished the year as the third-highest scoring tight end in fantasy football. Although he missed several games due to injury, Wes Welker also was a factor with 778 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
Needless to say, owning a Broncos player was a great feeling last season. When Decker moved on to the New York Jets and Sanders joined the team, fantasy players were wary that the former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers could fill Decker’s shoes. Sanders always seemed to be on the verge of fantasy relevance the past two seasons, but the 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver was never able to produce enough for fantasy owners to start him in their lineups. With Manning as his field general, that obviously changes the situation.
After leaving the 12th-ranked passing offense of the Steelers, Sanders finds himself joining the first-ranked passing offense of the Broncos from 2013. Manning had the most passing attempts of any quarterback in the NFL last season, and the 27-year-old receiver will immediately have a chance to be productive. Now that he finds himself on such a powerhouse offense, what can Sanders bring to the table? General manager John Elway raved about Sanders being able to line up anywhere and said that he is an explosive player with great separation skills. It is hard to get a better recommendation than that.
Some fantasy football players may be scared away from Sanders because of the fact that the Broncos drafted Latimer in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but the rookie receiver is far from stealing any of Sanders’ targets. Latimer has quick bursts that help him get past defenders, and his solid frame allows him to take hits while still gaining yards after catching the ball. His route running precision was brought up as a concern, however, and the 21-year-old receiver even acknowledged that Manning will be demanding of his receivers by stating that, “He wants his guys to know what they’re doing obviously so he can trust you, so he knows wherever he puts the ball that you’re going to be at the spot to get it.”
There is no doubt that the rookie will find himself involved in the offense, but it will not be a big enough detriment to be worried about Sanders’ season. He won’t be the featured receiver on the team, but Sanders will end up as a top-12 receiver who could finish even higher if Welker is sidelined with any type of injury.
The signing of Latimer may have shaken your confidence, but don’t make the biggest mistake of your draft by skipping out on Sanders.