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Dynasty & Redraft: WR Emmanuel Sanders, Bills


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It's odd because the truth is that the Saints have gotten away from the spread it out to multiple receivers philosophy they used to hold. Thomas is by far the most dominant touch vacuum this regime ha

As an owner, I may be in the minority here but I wouldn’t give him away for a 3rd.  If he comes back healthy, he’s a back end WR #2. If he doesn’t recover he’s probably worthless.  I’d prefer to hold

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Making the Leap, No. 15: Steelers' Emmanuel Sanders

By Chris Wesseling

Around the League Writer

(click on the linked article to see the related video clips)

Around The League will profile the top 40 players we see Making the Leap in 2013. No. 15 on the list: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Why Sanders is on the list

Sanders was selected three rounds ahead of Antonio Brown in the 2010 NFL Draft after excelling in June Jones' spread offense at SMU. He bypassed veteran Antwaan Randle El for the No. 3 receiver job as a rookie, increasing the speed and athleticism of the Steelers' receiving corps while playing 70 percent of the snaps from Week 10 through the Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Sanders clearly was ahead of Brown in the pecking order until two foot surgeries and a meniscus repair sabotaged his 2011 season. By the time Sanders fully recovered from the lower-leg issues, he was limited to slot-receiver duties with Brown as an established star opposite Mike Wallace.

Thanks to crisp route running, the ability to separate after the catch and a willingness to go over the middle despite his slight frame, Sanders' game ideally is suited for the slot. The video clip below was a common sight in 2012, with Sanders catching the ball on the run and gaining an extra 15 to 20 yards over the middle due to his speed and shiftiness in tight quarters.

Sanders' name hit the national radar earlier this offseason when the New England Patriots signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet as a restricted free agent. Despite grievous salary-cap issues, the Steelers opted to match the offer -- a nod to Sanders' potential as well as their own lack of depth at the position.

Obstacles

Because he largely was relegated to the slot, Sanders didn't make enough plays down the field or outside the numbers last season. The wide-receiver screen is an example of a play the Steelers often called for Wallace, but I only saw it once on Sanders' 2012 film -- in the video clip below.

Working well in tight spaces, Sanders has the speed and quickness to beat defenders on screens and slants. His route tree figures to expand with Wallace out of the picture. Although he can't match Wallace's game-breaking speed to take the top off opposing secondaries and invite consistent double coverage, Sanders' skill set is better suited to offensive coordinator Todd Haley's quick-strike passing attack.

2013 expectations

Now that Sanders is slated to start opposite Brown, the Steelers have told him they expect 70 receptions and 1,000 yards this season. "And that's the same thing that I expect for myself," Sanders added.

It's a lofty goal for a player who set career highs with 44 catches and 626 yards last season. Sanders does possess the ability to pull it off. The opportunity certainly is there. The one reservation I have is that Sanders' body might not hold up to the increased snaps and extra hits that come with a featured role in the passing game.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

Edited by Faust
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I certainly hope he can produce as one of my keepers. I drafted him late a couple years ago when I thought he was gonna step in across from Wallace, but that payoff never came after he got hurt. Now, I actually have him again as a keeper (14th round) and he appears to have a great opportunity to do some positive things (I've heard a rumble or two about Markus Wheaton, but I'm not too worried about him).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rotoworld:

Emmanuel Sanders said he's faster this season because his knees and foot are finally healthy.

Sanders ran a 4.41 forty at his 2010 Combine. Since then, he's had two foot surgeries and tore a meniscus. He was also been playing in the slot, where long speed isn't as important as short-area quickness. Now Sanders is 100 percent, playing the flanker spot vacated by Mike Wallace and in a contract year. He has plenty of value at his 10th-round ADP.
Source: Scout.com
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With the departure of Mike Wallace from the Steelers and the Patriots pursuit of Sanders this off-season, Sanders is an interesting player to review.

I agree. If he stays healthy I think he easily puts up WR3 numbers. I've been snagging him late whenever I can. Got him in the 10th round of PDSL3 and more recently in the 9th round of Anarchy 4. A few months back he was just a guy on my radar, but he's become more of a late target for me as the offseason winds down. I think he puts up a minimum of 900 yards if he plays 16 games. Should Antonio Brown get injured again then Sanders becomes the default WR1. This will be Ben's second year in this system so things could really click. I could see both Brown and Sanders with 1000+ yards.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Camp Confidential: Pittsburgh Steelers

By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com

Excerpt:

The assumption is Antonio Brown would take over Wallace's role as the No. 1 receiver. But in my two of days at camp, Emmanuel Sanders was the one who stood out the most. Roethlisberger's best deep throws went to Sanders, and the quarterback was in a better rhythm with Sanders on crossing routes. This is a big year for Sanders, who will be a free agent after the season.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Something that occures to me about Sanders is that both Heath Miller and his backup Spaeth are out at TE, presuming a guy like David Paulson doesn't turn into a receiving threat, and considering no Bell and lack of traditional receiving threat at RB causing a need to move the chains by air, there are going to be some extra targets to go around.

Also, in keeping him from going to the Pats, I wonder if the Steelers did not offer a larger slice of teh receiving pie this year.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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  • 4 weeks later...

Time to cut bait on Sanders in redraft. He's barely startable in my 16 team start 3WR + a Flex. FBG has had him ranked as a solid WR3 (averaging WR38 across the past 4 weeks which in a 16 team league is an WR3). He's been averaging 5.8 fantasy points per week (non-ppr) for me through 4 weeks which in 2012 was the equivalent of an WR53.

Targets / Rec's / TD's:

W1: 12 / 7 / 0

W2: 10 / 5 / 0

W3: 8 / 4 / 0

W4: 8 / 4 / 0

Edited by Jojo the circus boy
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  • 4 weeks later...

Rotoworld:

Emmanuel Sanders caught seven balls for a team-high 88 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' Week 8 loss to Oakland.

Sanders tacked on a two-point conversion on a trickeration-type play. Sanders' usage in the passing game grew out of necessity Sunday; Ben Roethlisberger was forced to try 45 pass attempts, which was a diversion from the Steelers' winning approach the past two games. They want to be more of a running team. Sanders will be a dicey WR3 when Pittsburgh faces the Patriots in Week 9.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Rotoworld:

Emmanuel Sanders said the foot injury he sustained in Sunday's win over the Lions is not serious.

Sanders left in the second quarter and didn't return, but said he won't even need an MRI. He added that the trainers held him out because of the wet field. "I could have went back in," he said. It sounds like Sanders is a decent bet to suit up against the Browns this week. The low-end WR3 is averaging 4.2 catches for 50.9 yards with two touchdowns on the season.
Source: ESPN.com
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  • 2 weeks later...

Really a frustrating player. Speedy, great route runner. If he's free and he can break towards the ball, he's made some really nice plays. If he has to be physical with a DB to fight for a ball, he wilts. I'm really hoping the Steelers get Marcus Wheaton some playing time to close out the year and are able to move on without Sanders in 2014.

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I see a few possible destinations for him next season:

NE hard to say since they drafted Dobson after they failed to get sanders the first time. They like thompkins and Edelman. I'm not sure if they make a run for him

IND would be really fun to watch, makes a lot of sense

WAS makes sense here too

ARI if they get rid of fitz, they might be in the market or go into full rebuild mode

PHI I think Jackson is a FA, but I'm not certain

Just my 0.02. Nothing behind these claims but teams I think could use a WR of his skill

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I've been a supporter, but Thursday night was disheartening. He had several opportunities to make a play and just couldn't catch.

Been that way all season, not just Thursday. On one hand his best season and strong chance to end as WR3 but he's had so many near misses on plays I lost track.

He's had a year very similar to Donnie Avery with the Colts last year. Thrust into a starting role with strong QB play and in the end carved out a decent season but along the way just a constant series of near misses.

I don't see him returning to Pittsburgh. They liked him enough to not take the third rounder for him but they have to many pressing needs.

NE probably moved on.

I think he's a serviceable starting outside WR in the NFL but more of a dynamic slot receiver. Of all the teams in the NFL if I could pick his perfect spot I'd say Detroit.

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I see a few possible destinations for him next season:

NE hard to say since they drafted Dobson after they failed to get sanders the first time. They like thompkins and Edelman. I'm not sure if they make a run for him

IND would be really fun to watch, makes a lot of sense

WAS makes sense here too

ARI if they get rid of fitz, they might be in the market or go into full rebuild mode

PHI I think Jackson is a FA, but I'm not certain

Just my 0.02. Nothing behind these claims but teams I think could use a WR of his skill

Particularly with Hankerson injured and out 7-9 months.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rotoworld:

An MRI on Emmanuel Sanders' knee did not reveal any serious damage.

Sanders has been diagnosed with a sprained lateral meniscus and is questionable for Sunday's Week 17 game against the Browns. The Steelers somehow have an outside shot at a playoff berth, but Sanders is also an impending unrestricted free agent. He's not going to risk long-term damage.
Source: ESPN.com
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Rotoworld:

Emmanuel Sanders (knee, questionable) will be a game-time decision for Week 17 against the Browns.

Sanders practiced on Friday, but considers himself "50-50" to play Sunday and doesn't expect the Steelers to finalize his availability until "shortly before kickoff." Sanders is potentially playing his last game with Pittsburgh as an impending free agent. The Steelers do have an outside shot at the playoffs, but need to beat Cleveland and get some help.
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  • 1 month later...

Rotoworld:

The New York Daily News reports the Jets "covet" free agent wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jeremy Maclin.

The Jets are going to be linked to just about every free-agent receiver this offseason. New York ranked 31st in passing this past season. Santonio Holmes is a lock to be released, leaving David Nelson and Jeremy Kerley as arguably the Jets's top two receivers. Stephen Hill has been a monumental bust through two seasons. Sanders set career-highs in catches (67), yards (740), and touchdowns (6) in 2013. He's about to turn 27 and is in the prime of his career.
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Rotoworld:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac believes the Steelers will let Emmanuel Sanders leave in free agency.

Sanders had a solid 67-740-6 season in 2013, but Dulac says the Steelers believe second-year WR Markus Wheaton can replace and perhaps even outplay him in 2014. Dulac also said Pittsburgh has told Ben Roethlisberger they plan on taking a tall wide receiver early in May's NFL Draft. Mike Evans fits the bill and could be available when the Steelers pick at 15.
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Anybody still holding out hope for Sanders?

I still believe in his talent because he gets open, but he hasn't really seized the opportunity as of yet. After a mediocre year in Pittsburgh, maybe a change in scenery will help. Hopefully the Patriots still have interest in him. I think Sanders will benefit from having a more timing based quarterback. The Colts would also make a good landing spot.

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Anybody still holding out hope for Sanders?

I still believe in his talent because he gets open, but he hasn't really seized the opportunity as of yet. After a mediocre year in Pittsburgh, maybe a change in scenery will help. Hopefully the Patriots still have interest in him. I think Sanders will benefit from having a more timing based quarterback. The Colts would also make a good landing spot.

Yeah, I think the talent is there. I was pretty excited about his value last year, but I think the offensive line woes took a toll. I also liked Antonio Brown's value, but I didn't anticipate a 166-112 target discrepancy between the two of them. I thought Brown would end up with 90/1200 and Sanders would be closer to 75/1000, but that wasn't the case. Obviously it worked out fine where I grabbed them both. Sanders was only like a WR45 price. Anyway, his situation will be critical. I'd still be interested in him if he stayed on Pit if they improved that line, but it appears he's going to be out of there. I'll be staying away if he ends up on the Jets. Actually, I'm not sure there are that many appealing landing spots for him.

The Pats are always popular here, but Brady hasn't had a good deep ball in at least 4 years and that is Sanders' specialty. I think he'd be disappointing there.

Baltimore could absolutely use some help, but I see Sanders as somewhat similar to Torrey Smith so I'm not sure they'll have interest (or money). But I'd be very interested if he went there.

Indy would be a nice fit if they got rid of Pep Hamilton. Even if they don't, I'd still be interested if he went there unless Reggie Wayne is back. That would complicate things.

Denver will need to replace Decker, right? Obviously an appealing situation.

San Diego could certainly use some help. I'd be all over it if he went there.

Oakland would not get me excited.

Philly seems set with DeSean and Riley and they might bring back Maclin, so unlikely.

The Cowboys and Giants are both losing a WR but have young guys to fill in, so unlikely.

Carolina would be a great fit. That's another one I'd be all over.

So if he goes to San Diego, Carolina, Denver, Indy, or Baltimore I'd buy. But he'll be competing with Nicks, Maclin, Decker, Boldin, and Holmes to name a few.

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Anybody still holding out hope for Sanders?

I still believe in his talent because he gets open, but he hasn't really seized the opportunity as of yet. After a mediocre year in Pittsburgh, maybe a change in scenery will help. Hopefully the Patriots still have interest in him. I think Sanders will benefit from having a more timing based quarterback. The Colts would also make a good landing spot.

Yeah, I think the talent is there. I was pretty excited about his value last year, but I think the offensive line woes took a toll. I also liked Antonio Brown's value, but I didn't anticipate a 166-112 target discrepancy between the two of them. I thought Brown would end up with 90/1200 and Sanders would be closer to 75/1000, but that wasn't the case. Obviously it worked out fine where I grabbed them both. Sanders was only like a WR45 price. Anyway, his situation will be critical. I'd still be interested in him if he stayed on Pit if they improved that line, but it appears he's going to be out of there. I'll be staying away if he ends up on the Jets. Actually, I'm not sure there are that many appealing landing spots for him.

The Pats are always popular here, but Brady hasn't had a good deep ball in at least 4 years and that is Sanders' specialty. I think he'd be disappointing there.

Baltimore could absolutely use some help, but I see Sanders as somewhat similar to Torrey Smith so I'm not sure they'll have interest (or money). But I'd be very interested if he went there.

Indy would be a nice fit if they got rid of Pep Hamilton. Even if they don't, I'd still be interested if he went there unless Reggie Wayne is back. That would complicate things.

Denver will need to replace Decker, right? Obviously an appealing situation.

San Diego could certainly use some help. I'd be all over it if he went there.

Oakland would not get me excited.

Philly seems set with DeSean and Riley and they might bring back Maclin, so unlikely.

The Cowboys and Giants are both losing a WR but have young guys to fill in, so unlikely.

Carolina would be a great fit. That's another one I'd be all over.

So if he goes to San Diego, Carolina, Denver, Indy, or Baltimore I'd buy. But he'll be competing with Nicks, Maclin, Decker, Boldin, and Holmes to name a few.

I think I read somewhere that Sanders had the highest percentage of receptions behind the LOS in the NFL last year, something like 1/4 of them. Seems like it could be a great fit in NE if Edelman leaves.

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Rotoworld:

GM Kevin Colbert was lukewarm at best on the prospects of re-signing free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders.

Colbert matched an offer sheet to retain Sanders in restricted free agency last offseason. He responded with a pedestrian 67/740/6 line and mediocre 59.8 percent catch rate, leading to thoughts that the Steelers can get the same kind of production out of Markus Wheaton in 2014. "Emmanuel came back and had a nice year for us, and we were happy to have him," Colbert said Thursday. "Where he goes in free agency and what his market is, we don't know at this point, but he certainly performed for us last year. And we'll see where it is in the future." The Patriots could very well come calling again.
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Rotoworld:

GM Kevin Colbert was lukewarm at best on the prospects of re-signing free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders.

Colbert matched an offer sheet to retain Sanders in restricted free agency last offseason. He responded with a pedestrian 67/740/6 line and mediocre 59.8 percent catch rate, leading to thoughts that the Steelers can get the same kind of production out of Markus Wheaton in 2014. "Emmanuel came back and had a nice year for us, and we were happy to have him," Colbert said Thursday. "Where he goes in free agency and what his market is, we don't know at this point, but he certainly performed for us last year. And we'll see where it is in the future." The Patriots could very well come calling again.

Steelers don't usually re-sign their guys unless they come at a value, and the Patriots had interest last year. He'd fit in well in New England. As a Sanders owner in two leagues, I'm hoping he heads to Boston.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rotoworld:

The Jets are even more likely to go after free agent Emmanuel Sanders now that Jeremy Maclin has re-signed with the Eagles.

Sanders and Maclin were reportedly the Jets' top-two targets to augment their hideous receiving corps of Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson and Stephen Hill. The New York Daily News also lists Hakeem Nicks and Golden Tate as options, but Sanders would be far cheaper. It would also keep him away from the rival Patriots, who signed Sanders to a restricted free agent offer sheet last offseason.
Related: Jets
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Rotoworld:

The Lions' website considers Detroit a possible landing spot for free agent Emmanuel Sanders.

The Lions are desperate for receiving help opposite Calvin Johnson and Sanders would be an upgrade as a replacement for Nate Burleson. Detroit is also believed to have heavy interest in Sammy Watkins and could consider trading up from the No. 10 pick. In addition to the Lions, Sanders has been linked to the Jets and Patriots.
Related: Lions
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Rotoworld:

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports the Browns "will be in on" free agent Emmanuel Sanders.

Cleveland was interested in Andre Roberts as a complement to Josh Gordon, but Roberts has reportedly verbally agreed to a deal with the Redskins. Sanders is GM Ray Farmer's Plan B. The Jets and Lions are also interested in Sanders.
Related: Browns
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Rotoworld:

ESPN Boston says to keep an eye on free agent Emmanuel Sanders for the Patriots.

Remember that the Patriots signed Sanders to a restricted free agent offer sheet last offseason and are now letting Julian Edelman test the open market. Along with restricted free agent Andrew Hawkins, Sanders is a fast and quick option that can ply both inside and outside.
Related: Patriots
Source: ESPN Boston
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Rotoworld:

The Baltimore Sun reports the Ravens have a "high opinion" of free agent Emmanuel Sanders.

Per reporter Aaron Wilson, the team has yet to reach out, however. Wilson believes the Ravens' level of interest will depend on Sanders' price. The Ravens have been connected to most of the market's top receivers, and are clearly focused on finding the replacement for Anquan Boldin they never found in 2013. Sanders has also been linked to the Browns, Lions, Patriots and Jets.
Related: Ravens
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Rotoworld:

Free agent Emmanuel Sanders is scheduled to visit the Bucs on Thursday.

Sanders was in Jacksonville on Wednesday. Surprisingly, the Patriots have yet to show interest in Sanders despite signing him to a restricted free agent offer sheet last offseason. Sanders set career highs across the board in 2013.
Related: Buccaneers
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Rotoworld:

Free agent Emmanuel Sanders will visit the Chiefs on Friday.

Sanders is making the rounds; he's already talked to the Jaguars and Bucs and has also drawn a bit of interest from the Jets. In Kansas City, Sanders could make Donnie Avery expendable or even replace Dexter McCluster in the slot.
Related: Chiefs
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Rotoworld:

The New York Daily News reports the Jets have "strong interest" in free agent Emmanuel Sanders.

This isn't exactly "new" news. The Jets' interest in Sanders has been known for the better part of a month. He was initially expected to visit Gang Green Friday, but a scheduling conflict put that on hold. Sanders is going to Kansas City Friday. The Jets are looking for another receiver after landing Eric Decker Thursday.
Related: Jets
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  • Faust changed the title to Dynasty & Redraft: WR Emmanuel Sanders, Bills

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