Sanu recorded two receptions, but only managed 19 receiving yards during Sunday's 31-24 win over Carolina.
Sanu's potentially decreasing degree of involvement in the Falcons' offense is unsettling for fantasy owners with stock in the 29-year-old wideout,. He finished fifth on the team in targets, as first-round pick Calvin Ridley had a breakout 64-yard performance Sunday. The 6-foot-2 veteran receiver hasn't exceeded 20 yards receiving through Week 2 of the season, after being held to fewer than 20 yards on just one occasion in 2017.
Sanu hauled in four of his six targets, but only compiled 18 receiving yards in Thursday's 18-12 defeat to the Eagles.
Despite the favorable matchup against an Eagles secondary that surrendered three-plus passing touchdowns in four games last year (sixth-worst in NFL), Sanu was contained to just three yards per target -- while no Falcons pass-catcher besides from Julio Jones exceeded 26 receiving yards on the night. The seven-year veteran will aim to get on track against Carolina on Sept. 16, going up against a secondary with two new starters in Da'Norris Searcy and rookie Donte Jackson.
Atlanta will not reconvene team activities until the start of training camp in late July, but Sanu continues to sharpen his skills by catching passes from former Falcons' ball boy Deshaun Watson in the meantime. With three years remaining on his current deal, the veteran receiver looks to collaborate with Julio Jones to help shape Calvin Ridley into a polished pro. Coming off a season in which he collected a career-high 67 receptions and five touchdowns, it will be intriguing to see whether Sanu can maintain this elevated level of production with another potentially high-volume target in Ridley being added to the fold.
Sanu established career highs in receptions during each of the past two seasons (59 catches in 2016 and 67 in 2017), but the Falcons have not acquired a wide receiver of Calvin Ridley's caliber since trading up 21 spots to select Julio Jones in the 2011 draft. In fact, Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that general manager Thomas Dimitroff called Ridley's agent on Thursday afternoon to inform him that the Falcons were considering moving up ahead of receiver-deprived teams like Baltimore, Dallas and Carolina to ensure that they got their guy. Sanu didn't do himself any favors last season by finishing top five in the NFL in drops with six, and he will turn 29 before the Falcons travel to Philadelphia to take on the defending champions Week 1. As a quality blocker, exceptional route runner and electrifying playmaker, Ridley may have what it takes to capture Atlanta's No. 2 receiver job by the end of the summer, diminishing Sanu's relevance in the process.
Given that there was no report of offseason surgery, Sanu's inclusion in the rehab group comes as a bit of a surprise. He dealt with a hamstring injury in October and a knee issue in December and January, but his only absence of the 2017 season occurred Week 6. Whatever the issue may be, it's a good sign that Sanu is at least healthy enough to do rehab work on a field as the Falcons begin their offseason program. He'll likely be back at full strength before training camp, where he figures to operate as the team's No. 2 receiver.
|5||10/7/18||@ PIT||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 8|
|9||11/4/18||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|12||11/22/18||@ NO||8:20 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|