At first glance the departure of Denver WR, Eric Decker, to the New York Jets made me think about how much better the Fantasy production of guys like Demearyius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas might be.
While those guys are Peyton Manning's go-to guys, you have to wonder if free-agent pickup Emmanuel Sanders might just step right in and fill Decker's stats with his own play-making abilities.
For his part, Sanders is saying all the right things in Broncos camp and already has a new admiration for the guy who will be throwing him the ball, Peyton Manning. Sanders came out and said, among other things, that Manning is a better leader than Ben Roethlisberger.
"This is the first time that I've had a quarterback that every single day after practice -- no matter what his accolades, NFL MVP, Super Bowl ring -- he keeps guys like me and [rookie receiver Cody] Latimer after practice. . . . He's not one of those guys you've got to chase down. He's going to be right in the same spot, ready to work, every single day. I just feel like that's a difference from a mental standpoint."
Decker put up some monster fantasy stats last season - 1288 yards and 11 td's.
Sanders has been solid, not spectacular, during a four-year career in Pittsburgh.
2010 - 28, 276, 2 td's
2011 - 22, 288, 2 td's
2012 - 44, 626, 1 td
2013 - 67, 740, 6 td's
So, what do you do with Sanders as we Fantasy Football drafts get ready to commence around the globe?
Because he's part of the Denver aerial assault, do we simply mark him down for 1100 yards and 12 td's or do we proceed with caution because we don't know if he will be one of Manning's primary targets?
What the experts say:
CBS - Jeremy Eisenberg - 24th
CBS - Dave Richard - 17th
Yahoo - 39th
ESPN - 29th -
Rich Winter - No. 32 - I'm a little torn on this pick and I think my fellow experts also don't quite know what to do with Sanders as you can see by the No. 17 - No. 39 rankings. While I think the Denver aerial circus will continue in 2014, I see them running the ball in the 2nd half and really trying to salt away wins. Manning isn't going to throw for 50 touchdowns and 5500 yards, more like 4500 and 40.
With that being said, I think Sanders comes into Denver and has a nice season.
Rich Winter projections - 750 yards and 7 td's.
That puts him in that bubble area where I'm not looking at him for one of my top three receivers. Depending on how my draft goes, I'd love to see him on my bench in case Welker or one of the Thomas brothers goes out. With Sanders, I worry about him splitting reps with rookie, Cody Latimer. If the Broncos sustain an injury at WR, Sanders could step in and have a nice, 3-4 game stretch.
If you can stash him away on your bench, great. I'm seeing some other team's No. 1 Wr's out on the board by the time you get to Sanders territory. I'm always going to take a No. 1 over a No. 4, I don't care if God himself is playing QB for Denver.