Sanders ready for Prime Time?
In 2013, the Denver Broncos led the National Football League in yardage after the catch, with Demaryius Thomas being the individual king and Eric Decker, the man whom Emmanuel Sanders will replace, ranked 32nd.
There remain plenty of Mile High mouths to feed (DT, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas), but the benefits to being a Peyton Manning target are obvious. His frequency of tosses on the whole will counterbalance to a degree the fact that Sanders won't be a top-2 (or -3) target on his club anymore. (Plus, he escapes Todd Haley's erratic performance.)
Though slot machine Welker will continue threatening Sanders' utility, Decker's wide spectrum of Denver catch locations fits Sanders' strengths:
Whether he was running across the formation or worked to the side where he lined up, Decker's catches were fairly well dispersed all over the field this past season. He made 34.5 percent of his catches to the offensive right, 41.4 percent to the offensive left and 20.7 percent in the middle of the field.
It's hard to say Sanders is a must-start, but it's wise to think he'll yield WR3 numbers for most of the year, especially in PPRs.
Questions from the Twitterverse:
Lock up Peyton Manning and Alshon Jeffery.
Let's eliminate Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson; you can snag Ellington early and Chris Johnson … whenever you want to stomach him.
It comes down to Zac Stacy, Montee Ball and Rob Gronkowski.
I understand the positional advantage that Gronk would give you, but in 12-teamers I typically don't favor this position because it's easier to play matchups to keep the burden off my bench to carry two. Plus, when you add in Gronk's injury troubles and Tom Brady's slight but noticeable decline, there's plenty of downside that prevents me from making him one of three keepers. Obviously, if you're keeping a few more players, that would cement his qualification.
I'd rather hang on to a starting RB, and yours is a tough predicament. Stacy's stock dips a bit with the St. Louis Rams' drafting of Tre Mason, who's a surprisingly effective runner between the tackles. Ball, meanwhile, is set to capitalize on Knowshon Moreno's departure and ride the RB coattails benefitting Manning's tailback.
I'm much less frightened of Ronnie Hillman, C.J. Anderson and company than I am of Mason, so I'll add Ball to the trio. Many may shy away from the advice to keep two Denver Broncos, but their punch is so big that you'll gladly accommodate both.
One more query....
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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