There, I've said it. I think the love has gone way too far on Emmanuel Sanders.
Look, the guy is talented. I mean he plays in the NFL and gets paid millions of dollars a year to do so. But god damn the fantasy football community is going wild over a guy that I just can't get onboard with. At least not with his current ADP.
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Sanders is currently going in round 6 with the 6th pick in that round. You guys are freaking nuts.
The Change in Emmanuel Sanders Fantasy Value
If we take a look at Sanders' ADP since joining the Broncos you'll see that his draft status skyrocketed and remained ultimately consistent. But why?
I mean let's take a look at some of the guys going after him. How about Terrance Williams, Mike Wallace, Reggie Wayne, Eric Decker, Golden Tate, not to mention other positions I'd take. I'm not saying I'd take these guys in the 6th, simply that they're a better value later. But since he's a WR, we'll compare apples to apples. But seriously, do you all believe in Peyton Manning so much that Sanders, whom is the #4 receiver on that team, to be worth more than the receivers I've just mentioned.
I clearly think you're batshit crazy, but hey, let's dive a little bit deeper.
The Peyton Manning Impact
I guess that people believe that Peyton Manning throwing the ball to Sanders means his fantasy value has to be really high. I'll entertain the idea for a second, and during that second I'll say, I think you're buying Sanders at his ceiling, if he can even achieve that much.
It's important to note that Peyton Manning only had 209 more passing attempts than Big Ben over the past two seasons, during which Ben missed 4 games. Sure there's still a gap between the two, but there isn't as big of a one as you would think. During that time Peyton Manning also had a historic season and some regression is expected in 2014.
With Sanders being the #4 receiver on that team behind the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker, he's going to need to see a significant injury to one of them to produce value for his ADP.
Peyton Manning is great, but there's too many mouths to feed in Denever. Don't forget about Montee Ball, he'll have an offensive impact as well (killer fantasy analysis I know).
The Other Denver Receivers
As mentioned above, there are 3 other guys who are going to get more attention than Sanders. At least I believe so.
To keep it high level, this guy is good.
To get slightly more detailed, it's important to note that Thomas' targets actually dipped in 2013 during Peytons historic season. He accounted for 21% of Denver's targets in 2013 while accounting for 24% of them in 2012 according to RotoViz.
Did you know that Eric Decker received only 5 targets less than Thomas in 2013? You can bet your ass that Thomas should get more of those targets, which in turn means more yards and more touchdowns in 2014. Thomas is going to see the benefit, not Sanders.
I believe that Thomas is the next best pass catcher the Broncos have. I'll say that he'll average 100 or so targets in 2014 and he'll surely be more trusted than the new guy will be.
Is it a compelling argument, no. But I think he's another big mouth to feed.
Welker is no stranger to concussions and injury. I don't expect nor hope for him to suffer any of these things in 2014, however that's the only way I see Sanders attempting to return 6th round draft value.
We've all seen Welker and know what he can do. Peyton loves being able to hit Welker and count on him. He's got a relationship with Manning that Sanders doesn't.
I'm not saying Sanders can't/won't have great chemistry with Peyton. I'm simply suggesting that he's the new guy. He's got an uphill battle.
My Take on Emmanuel Sanders for 2014
My feelings towards Sanders are nothing personal, they're all business.
A guy that couldn't take targets away from Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace surely isn't going to be stealing targets away from the other 3 WR's in Denver.
When it comes to drafting my fantasy team in 2014 I won't own him, simply because I don't believe he returns value at his current draft slot.
I'll take a chance on another WR or take some other positions at that point in the draft.
Of course it all depends on how your draft falls and the scoring of your league. But god damn do I hate Emmanuel Sanders at a 6th round draft price.
To those of you who snag him, gods speed. I'll be watching you sink or swim with Sanders in 2014.See What Other Players You Shouldn't Be Drafting in 2014
For the record, I never actually played football. I have no doubt that I would get crushed running across the middle for a pass, every single time.
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