Fantasy Football Week 14: Emmanuel Sanders injury deals another blow for Fantasy playoffs
Emmanuel Sanders suffered what sounds like a season-ending injury Wednesday at practice. Chris Towers takes a look at how Fantasy players might be able to replace him.
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Sanders was, according to ESPN.com, running routes for quarterbacks getting reps in, when he went down running a short route. Trainers came to check on Sanders and he was diagnosed shortly after with an Achilles injury – the team believes he tore the Achilles. Further testing will confirm the injury, but needless to say, it appears as if Sanders is done for the 2018 season.
For those of you in the playoffs with Sanders, you're largely out of luck if you think his replacement is going to come from the Broncos' reserves. The timing of the injury – the day after waivers run – leaves you with fewer options to replace him from other spots as well. Courtland Sutton is owned in 88 percent of CBS Fantasy leagues, so add him where he is available.
Sutton is in line for a big finish to the season, and the rookie is coming off a four-catch game with 85 yards and a touchdown. He leads the NFL in yards per reception at 19.9, and should be a solid source of targets moving forward. His big-play nature could make him a bit hit-or-miss over the season's final four games, but Sutton is going to be the No. 1 option in the offense, and should be worth starting if you're still alive. He's a must-add wherever available — the Broncos have (Sunday, 4 p.m. EST, available on fuboTV) — though chances are he's already owned in your league.
(And, with Sanders holding just a $2.7 million dead cap number for 2019, it wouldn't be a surprise if he wasn't back in Denver. Sutton has a big opportunity here to close out the season, and he could also be in line for a huge opportunity in 2019. He may end up being a Dynasty stud as a result of this injury).
Beyond that? The Broncos probably aren't going to provide much help in replacing Sanders.
You would figure rookie fourth-rounder DaeSean Hamilton might step up too, but he has just five catches on seven targets this season. And it's not like he figures to play much more in the wake of Sanders' injury – he already played 80 percent of the team's snaps in Week 13, and had zero targets to show for it.
Hamilton was reasonably productive in college, with 53 catches for 857 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, so it's not like he doesn't have talent. There's a chance he really does take a step forward in Sanders' absence, but we just haven't seen it yet. He might become more involved in the offense, but unless you play in a deeper league, take a wait-and-see approach with what should become an even more run-heavy offense.
You need more help than Hamilton is likely to provide, of course, so let's look elsewhere. Your top options are probably going to be Dante Pettis (35 percent owned), Adam Humphries (58 percent), or, if you're really lucky, Chris Godwin (83 percent). Failing that, Antonio Callaway (19 percent) and DeVante Parker (28 percent) are a bit more widely available, as is Curtis Samuel (17 percent), who is coming off an 11-target game as the Panthers will be without Greg Olsen down the stretch. Make Pettis or Humphries a priority where available, and target Samuel where they aren't.
Sanders has been such a pleasant surprise for Fantasy owners, and this is the worst way his season could have ended. Hopefully he can get back to full strength in time for 2019, but until then, we have to pick up the pieces.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking quarterback could win you Week 14? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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