Emmanuel Sanders ditched the Pittsburgh Steelers to go play with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos; and after the performance they had last season, how could you not be excited about any player’s potential within that offense, let alone a receiver as talented as Sanders? Sanders figures to take over Eric Decker‘s vacant spot on the outside, but he’s also capable of playing the slot if anything were to happen to Wes Welker. Whatever position he ends up spending most of his time in, he’s going to spend plenty of time on the field in a Manning-led offense, and that alone is something to be excited about.
In terms of scoring fantasy points, there is no offense you’d rather your receiver have a meaningful role on more than the Broncos. Denver had three of the 21 highest scoring receivers in fantasy football last season, Decker — the guy Sanders is replacing — finished eighth. Sanders finished last season with 67 receptions, 740 yards and six touchdowns; barring health, it’s tough not to imagine all three of those numbers increasing in 2014.
What if there aren’t enough targets to go around? Out of the receiving corps, one would figure Sanders is third on the totem pole — behind Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker — and when you take into account Julius Thomas and the running game, Sanders may very well be fifth in line for targets. Manning was able to keep everyone active last season but it was arguably the greatest season ever by a quarterback. What if Manning takes a big step back? After all, he threw for 818 more yards and 18 more touchdowns in 2013 than he did in 2012. If Manning regresses back to what he did in 2012, will there still be enough to go around to make Sanders a valuable fantasy asset?
Emmanuel Sanders has the opportunity to provide fantasy owners with a tremendous amount of value this season. Most places I’ve looked have him ranked in either the late 20s or early 30s among wide receivers and I think that’s a slight undervalue. If I were ranking Sanders, I’d have him in the mid-20s. He’s one of the safest WR3s out there and he could very well end up providing WR2 value; I’d take Sanders over Jeremy Maclin, Kendall Wright and Eric Decker.
Bye Week: 4
Projected Round: 8th
Auction Value ($200 budget): $5 (ESPN.com)