Emmanuel Sanders’ torn Achilles came at the worst time for his fantasy football owners, but another Broncos wide receiver could help.
Emmanuel Sanders was easy to identify as a fantasy sleeper heading into drafts this year, and he has delivered as WR15 in ESPN PPR leagues heading into Week 14. But he suffered a torn Achilles in practice on Wednesday, and his season is over just like that.
The waiver wire offers some options to replace Sanders, like Adam Humphries, Dante Pettis or Curtis Samuel, but if you’re in a deep league the options likely aren’t exciting. So it’s become viable to look at who will directly step into Sanders’ role in the Denver Broncos’ offense.
Sanders primarily operated out of the slot this season, as quarterback Case Keenum peppered him with targets just as he did Adam Thielen with the Minnesota Vikings last year. Sanders is leaving behind 8.2 targets per game, and a 23.8 percent target share. As he was placed on IR, the Broncos picked up Andre Holmes off waivers from the Buffalo Bills to fill a spot on the depth chart.
Courtland Sutton will now become Denver’s No. 1 wide receiver. But The Denver Post points to another rookie, DaeSean Hamilton, being featured in the slot” in Sanders’ absence.
Hamilton missed time earlier this season with a knee injury, and he has five receptions for 61 yards in 10 games played thus far. Three of those catches for 44 yards came against the New York Jets in Week 5.
This week the Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers, who have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers (ESPN PPR scoring). They have also allowed the most touchdowns to the position (19), including eight over their last three games. Richard Sherman is having a good season as San Francisco’s No. 1 corner, but otherwise the secondary has been very generous to opposing passing games.
Denver has put themselves in position for a playoff spot with a three game winning streak, and Sanders’ contribution probably delivered a playoff spot for a lot of his fantasy owners. In the wake of his injury it’s worth checking on Sutton’s availability (66.4 percent owned in ESPN leagues, 67 percent owned on Yahoo!). Hamilton is a potential flier for deeper leagues in a good matchup this week, and if he performs well he’ll be on broader waiver wire lists next week.