Emmanuel Sanders has to be hopeful that new quarterback Case Keenum will get him back on track because he struggled mightily in 2017, his worst season since 2012. Sanders was limited to 12 games last year because of injuries, and he only had two games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. Part of the problem could be poor quarterback play since Sanders had to catch passes from Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler, and hopefully Keenum will improve things. Keenum did just help Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs finish as top-20 Fantasy receivers in Minnesota in 2017, but Sanders also has to prove himself since he will once again be No. 2 in targets for the Broncos behind Demaryius Thomas. Sanders can still be viewed as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick.
Denver's starters, including Sanders, figure to play between a quarter and a quarter and a half Saturday against Chicago, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports. Sanders was held catchless in Denver's preseason opener against Minnesota, an outing in which Denver's starting offense played just two uneventful series. Sanders battled a nagging ankle injury and horrid quarterback play last season. In what might be his final season in Mile High, Sanders has a solid chance to rebound with Case Keenum under center. Saturday should provide some clarity to that end.
Sanders is showing a gear that he didn't have last year, Benjamin Allbright of 104.7 FM Denver reports. In fairness to Sanders, he suffered an ugly ankle sprain early in the season against the Giants and probably returned to action too early to completely recover. In what might be his final season in Denver, Sanders offers a unique speed skillset that the Broncos' corps of receivers doesn't have from its other established options. Look for Sanders to pick on nicklebacks and safeties more from the slot this season than in years past now that the team has a few young options to play opposite Demaryius Thomas on the outside.
Approximately 80 percent of Sanders' $8.25 million salary for the 2018 season is already guaranteed, Mike Klis of 9 News Denver reports. There was some thought after the past season that Sanders may have taken his last snaps in Denver with the Broncos eager to clear up cap space, but the team found room to keep the wideout around after shedding Aqib Talib's contract in a trade with the Rams. Now that he's expected to be back in the fold for 2018, Sanders will look to prove to the Broncos that he's still an ideal complement to No. 1 receiver Demaryius Thomas after an ankle injury cost Sanders four games and limited him in many others during the 2017 campaign. In addition to better health, Sanders could see his production bounce back to some extent thanks to the offseason pickup of Case Keenum, who should amount to an upgrade over the three quarterbacks (Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler) that started games for Denver a season ago.
Broncos general manager John Elway said Wednesday he expects Sanders (ankle) to remain with the team in 2018, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post reports. With the Broncos eager to open up cap space to aid their pursuit of one of the top quarterbacks on the market this offseason, Sanders and fellow wideout Demaryius Thomas have been mentioned as candidates for trade or release in order to free up money. Elway's comments suggest the Broncos aren't leaning in that direction, however, indicating that the team may prefer to cut a high-priced veteran or two on defense in order to improve their cap situation. Sanders, who is said to be nearly back to full health following months of rehab from a significant right ankle sprain that nagged him in 2017, should thus retain a starting role during the upcoming season, though like Thomas, his outlook will remain foggy until the Broncos' plans at quarterback become clearer. None of the three signal callers who started games in 2017 -- Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian (shoulder) and Brock Osweiler -- are expected to open the 2018 campaign atop the depth chart.
Sanders (ankle) has resumed running and is nearing a full recovery, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. "It's going well, my ankle is recovering," Sanders said. "Right now, I feel like I'm 95 percent." Sanders sustained a "major" sprained ankle and tibia contusion in Week 5 against the Giants and his recovery has been complicated by swelling, a limited range of motion and diminished strength, according to the doctor in charge of his rehabilitation. However, barring any setbacks, it sounds like he could be recovered in time for OTAs in late April or early May.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|5||10/07||@New York Jets||19||20.00|
|6||10/14||Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|8||10/28||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|11||11/18||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|14||12/09||@San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|17||12/30||Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||123||67||907||4||44||13.54||113|