All it takes is one bad season to lose luster in Fantasy Football drafts. Emmanuel Sanders was the WR17 in points per game two years ago, but last year’s disappointment is fresh in the minds of many drafters.
Sanders had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in Denver before last season. The Broncos’ wide receiver played in 12 games due to a high ankle injury he suffered in Week 6 and played through the bad ankle in several games, which clearly limited his performance. He aggravated the injury in Week 15 and then sat to rest for the remainder of the season. On a positive note, he did not need surgery.
Sanders had 47 catches for 555 yards and two touchdowns on 92 targets in 2017. From 2014-16, Sanders had 141, 137 and 137 targets. Volume is important in Fantasy (something we stress quite a bit here at Scout Fantasy Sports) and the volume has been there for Sanders in past seasons.
Sanders is entering his age 31 season, but last season can’t be attributed due to getting older. Not only did he have the injury, his quarterbacks were Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch. He had a catch rate of 51.1 percent and the blame goes on the quarterback play. Case Keenum was signed to be the starting quarterback in Denver and even if last season was a career year with the Vikings, he’s still a major upgrade at quarterback.
Sanders runs excellent routes and could see more time in the slot this season, an area Keenum targeted frequently last season. The Broncos drafted receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, who could cut into the target share of Demaryius Thomas and Sanders a bit, but those picks were more for the future.
Even if Sanders sees a decrease from the 138 targets he averaged in Denver in his first three seasons, he should still see 115-120 targets. That could result in 70-75 catches for 1,000+ yards. Don’t forget Sanders was no worse than a WR2 in each of his first three seasons as a Bronco. Sanders will bounce back and can be taken as a WR3 or WR4 in most drafts and is a good target in PPR formats.