Think Twice Before Drafting Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders

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As we approach the 2016 NFL season, I begin to think of some major changes in each of the team’s rosters. The first team to jump out at me is the defending Super Bowl champions, the Denver Broncos and with good reason. The Peyton Manning era is over and with that comes uncertainty at the quarterback position.

Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez is next in line to try and help the Broncos defend their title and I’m not sure he will be the answer in Denver. Sanchez has been in the league since 2009 and his numbers do not impress. He has never thrown for 30 TDs in a season, and his highest touchdown total was back in 2011 with the New York Jets at a whopping 26! His second highest TD total was just 17 the season before that. The man has been progressively worse since his best (mediocre) season, five years ago. He hasn’t played a full season since 2012 (15 games) and has a combined 14 games played the last two seasons with the Eagles. This is not the quarterback you put in place after winning the Super Bowl.

Here’s a look at his two best seasons in the NFL

Year Attempts Yards TDs INTs
2011 543 3,474 26 18
2010 507 3,291 17 13
Quarterback Dilemma

Let’s talk about why the entire Broncos QB situation will negatively effect the fantasy value of both of these stud wideouts. I believe the Denver Broncos will be forced to shift their quarterbacks around this season which only spells disaster for Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Both wideouts will be potentially working with the combination of Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch throwing to them. Only one of these QBs has recorded an official pass in the NFL. I find it hard to believe that Sanchez ends up being the starting quarterback for the entire 2016 season which means these stud fantasy football wideouts will not have a chance to establish consistent chemistry with any of the above-mentioned quarterbacks.

Demaryius Thomas’ 2016 Value Drop Off

You could make an argument that Demaryius Thomas has put up some decent numbers with a rapidly declining Peyton Manning this past season. I wouldn’t typically argue, however, with his current Average Draft Position (ADP) hovering around the 16th WR taken in fantasy drafts this year, there are some things that should be called out. Although his stats were impressive in 2015 (105 catches, 1,304 yards, and 6 TDs), they were his lowest totals for both categories in any of his 4 complete 16 game seasons. Peyton Manning at 50% is still better than any of Thomas’ options this year and this is why I am raising a giant red flag on him in 2016. There are a few WRs that are currently ranked below Demaryius that I would consider taking over him like T.Y. Hilton (ADP-17) who will have healthy Andrew Luck throwing to him in what should be one of the highest scoring offenses in the league this season. Kelvin Benjamin (ADP-18) a major talent and number 1 target for the best Fantasy quarterback of 2015 and possibly 2016, Cam Newton. I would even consider Eric Decker (ADP-26) ahead of Demaryius this season now that his buddy Ryan Fitzpatrick is officially back with the New York Jets.

Emmanuel Sanders’ 2016 Value Drop Off

Emmanuel Sanders’ career lifted off in the 2014 season. He posted 101 catches, 1,404 yards, and 9 TDs. Last season he also declined in all three categories (76 catches, 1,135 yards, and 6 TDs). I know this was a product of a struggling season for Manning but to my earlier point, I believe these numbers are much better than what any current Broncos quarterback will provide Emmanuel in 2016. Sanders’ ADP currently sits around the 28th WR drafted, sounds a little low for a number 2 WR with back to back 1,000 plus yard seasons, but there are a few WRs drafting later that I would take before Sanders. Allen Hurns (ADP31) may be my favorite number 2 receiver in the league. He has a nose for the end zone and a very talented QB in Blake Bortles. I would draft Donte Moncrief (ADP-32) over Sanders again because of the high powered offense of the Indianapolis Colts. Finally, I am high on Michael Crabtree (ADP-37) this year. His chemistry is growing with quarterback Derek Carr, he found the end zone a total of 9 times last season, and I would not be surprised to see Crabtree get double-digit scores this season. I would just like to add something else to think about in regards to Sanders; before his 2014 season, Emmanuel’s highest receiving yards in a season was 740. It is highly possible he only posts great fantasy numbers when he has a hall of fame quarterback at the helm.

Conclusion

Look, I’m not saying not to draft these wide receivers. (I, however, will be staying away from both of them in 2016). I am saying they will not be worth their ADP this year. Just keep these thoughts in mind as this season may not be what it typically is for either Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders.

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