Emmanuel Sanders said before the 2015 season that his stats would decline from his breakout campaign in 2014, and he was right. He went from 101 catches, 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014 to 76 catches, 1,135 yards and six touchdowns last year. And his targets were almost identical with 141 and 137 each year. Sanders did finish as the No. 18 receiver in standard leagues, but his production was built mostly on two outstanding games in Week 2 at Kansas City (eight catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns) and Week 15 at Pittsburgh (10 catches for 181 yards and one touchdown). He had seven games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league and six games with six points or less. Obviously, he had to deal with poor quarterback play with Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, but the Broncos will have a new starter this season with either Paxton Lynch or Mark Sanchez. We'll see how it impacts Sanders, who remains the No. 2 receiver in Denver behind Demaryius Thomas. We consider Sanders a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 receiver in all leagues. He should be drafted in Round 6, and hopefully his stats are closer to his 2014 form than his production last year.
Sanders' talks with the Broncos over a contract extension have been put on hold for the time being, The Denver Post reports. Sanders remains hopefully of signing an extension with the Broncos, but since the team needs to agree to a long-term deal with Von Miller by this Friday, Sanders' negotiations have understandably been put on the back burner. That being said, Sanders' remarkable totals of 117 catches, 2,539 yards and 15 touchdowns since joining Denver in 2014 certainly make him someone the Broncos would also like to keep around beyond this season, which is his final year under his current contract. Now 29 years old, Sanders has elevated his game over the past couple seasons, and has reportedly added 10 pounds of muscle this offseason to improve further.
Sanders nabbed 76 passes for 1,135 yards and six touchdowns on 137 targets in 2015. He led Denver with 16 catches off of 24 targets for 230 yards in the playoffs. Sanders' numbers fell off from 2014 to 2015, a product of a drop in quarterback play and an increased reliance on the running game in Denver. It is telling, however, that it was Sanders - not Demaryius Thomas, who was Denver's go-to target in the playoffs. Picking up on that clutch play in 2016 will likely lead to a big payday for Sanders next offseason. Sanders' ability to remain consistently dangerous whether it is Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler quarterbacking should help toward that goal. Sanders averaged 71 yards per game in Manning's nine starts and 70.8 in seven starts with likely 2016 starter Osweiler. Thomas saw a much greater difference, averaging 90.7 yards per game with Manning, but just 69.7 yards per game with Osweiler.
Sanders secured six of eight targets for 83 yards in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl victory over the Panthers. The 28-year-old led Denver in targets and receptions, taking advantage of the fact that Josh Norman's attention was focused primarily on Demaryius Thomas. Sanders made several key receptions throughout the game, and was the Denver's leading receiver in the postseason with 16 receptions on 24 targets for 230 yards. With Thomas struggling late in the regular season and postseason, Sanders was arguably the more effective of the two over the second half of the 2015 campaign. Coming off a second consecutive 1,000-yard season, he figures to once again serve as a centerpiece of Denver's offensive attack next season.
Sanders caught five of eight targets for 62 yards in Sunday's win over the Patriots. The Denver offense struggled to generate big plays Sunday, but Sanders was able to shake loose for a 34-yard gain, helping pad his totals. Sanders continues to see his share of looks each game, but with the Broncos content to play defense and pound the ball, he hasn't been able to come through with an impact performance thus far in the postseason. Nevertheless, Sanders should be among Denver's leaders in targets in next month's Super Bowl.
Sanders caught five of eight targets for 85 yards in Sunday's win over the Steelers. The 28-year-old led Denver in targets, catches and yards Sunday, although the didn't post monster numbers do to the unfavorably windy conditions. Sanders remains a favorite target of Peyton Manning's, and he should be even more productive if the Broncos find themselves in a game in which they can't fully rely on the defense and running game. This could be the case next week, when the Patriots come to town with the right to play in the Super Bowl on the line.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||24.63|
|6||10/14||@San Diego Chargers||4||18.38|
|8||10/30||San Diego Chargers||4||18.38|
|10||11/13||@New Orleans Saints||28||25.13|
|12||11/27||Kansas City Chiefs||21||23.44|
|15||12/18||New England Patriots||22||23.78|
|16||12/26||@Kansas City Chiefs||21||23.44|
|3 Year Avg||130||81||1093||7||52||13.49||154|