Free agency has a way of impacting the entire NFL calendar. It affects what players teams go after in the draft. It impacts regular season records and it helps the teams that advance to the postseason. But free agency also has an impact to all the armchair quarterbacks who gather at their computers each Sunday morning to set their fantasy football lineups.
The acquisition of Emmanuel Sanders by the Denver Broncos is one of the most interesting free agent developments in the fantasy football world.
Peyton Manning proved that there are enough footballs to go around last season when he had two 1,000 yard receivers in Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. He also tossed 10 or more touchdowns to four different receivers.
Meanwhile, last year in Pittsburgh, Sanders had 740 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were personal bests. The question is whether Sanders is ready to achieve Decker-like numbers ( 1,200 yards, 10 touchdowns) with Manning.
The answer is most likely yes. Reaching 700 yards with the more run-heavy Pittsburgh Steelers offense is probably akin to reaching the 1,000 yard barrier with the pass-happy Broncos and Manning.
As for the touchdowns, Ben Roethlisberger tossed a respectable 28 touchdowns last season which means Sanders caught around 21 percent of them. If Sanders were to catch 20 percent of Manning’s 55 touchdowns, just like Decker did, he would haul in 11 TDs.
So yes, Sanders is in for a much bigger fantasy year with Denver. The trick is to not draft him too high, but to be ready to grab him as a WR2 with a high upside if he falls to you in the fourth round.