May 28, 2013; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) runs a drill during organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more NFL Fantasy Football Projections and Rankings, visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The Denver Broncos are a well oiled fantasy football machine. Sure, there can be some expected drop-off. It’s only natural for a team to slide down a bit after an insanely awesome season.
It helps to bring in some top shelf talent to help ease that drop, however.
The Broncos did just that. Not only did they sign talented speedster Emmanuel Sanders away from the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they also drafted explosive play-maker Cody Latimer out of Indiana in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Both brought in to help replace the departed Eric Decker, they could either be used together in a rotation of sorts, or one could flat-out start over the other. On paper, it looks like the guy starting will be the veteran Sanders, which could leave Latimer on the outside looking in.
It’s June, though, and possibility reaigns supreme until August rolls around. So, with that said, which of these guys do you draft in fantasy football, and when?
Let’s break down their talents, ADP and overall value in an effort to come away with a decisive answers:
Why You Draft Emmanuel Sanders
Eric Decker was a machine with Manning the past two years and he’s nowhere near the athlete Sanders is. A true burner with good change of direction ability, Sanders adds an element to the Broncos offense they really haven’t gotten anywhere outside of the beastly Demaryius Thomas. Oh, the possibilities of that second or third option in the passing game that can both stretch the defense and take a pass the distance from any location on the field.
It’s certainly mouth-watering, especially after we all saw Sanders finally start to chip away at his potential in his final season in Pittsburgh in 2013. Now with Manning and loads of talent distracting the opposition around him, the explosive Sanders should post his best numbers yet. At the very minimum, that should make for decent WR3 value. If he can completely fill Decker’s old shoes, though, he could be looking at high-end WR2 value. That’s certainly worth taking a gander at given Sanders’ current ADP is pretty reasonable in the sixth round.
Why You Draft Cody Latimer
The problem with Sanders is that his ADP leans on his upside, but doesn’t really account for his downside. In reality, that round six ADP is a tad rich, given Sanders’ shaky history of injuries and inconsistency. More importantly, his best season by far came in 2013 – during a contract year. Yes, we got to see him play his best ball, but when it happened is certainly worth noting.
Sanders has his downside, clearly, and Latimer is surely no schmuck. He’s a rookie and coming off of foot operation, but he has just as much upside as Sanders (if not more). He’s an extremely versatile and explosive weapon that had even been rumored to be in the mix to compete for a starting gig.
Could that mean Latimer goes toe to toe with Sanders or even starts to chip away at slot receiver Wes Welker’s role. None of that is guaranteed, but the upside cannot be ignored – especially when you can just snatch Latimer up as a late-round flier.
The Verdict: Take Sanders, But Take Him Late
The value scale actually tips toward Latimer a bit more, simply because both guys carry some risk, operate in an insanely potent offense and have awesome talent. Sanders was brought in to be Decker’s main replacement, though, and is the only one of the two that is actually healthy and has NFL experience.
In fact, like Latimer, he also has some decent versatility, which could have him moved all around the offense. Factor in Wes Welker is aging, battled with concussion issues in 2013 and is in the final year of a two-year pact, Sanders could also slowly eat into Welker’s targets.
That easily gives him the leg up here, and is a big reason why Latimer isn’t even being drafted in every fantasy draft right now. I still like Latimer’s upside (and easily prefer and I don’t love Sanders’ Average Draft Position. If you can get him sliding to you a round or two later, though, Sanders could be quite the steal.