Emmanuel Sanders
Emmanuel Sanders
34-Year-Old Wide ReceiverWR
Buffalo Bills
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Sanders doesn’t seem to realize he’s 34. Last year with the Saints, he managed 8.9 YPT, had two catches of 40-plus yards and scored five times in 14 games, while playing with a diminished Drew Brees and his backup Taysom Hill. At 5-11, 180, Sanders is slight, but he’s quick and was once pretty fast — 4.42 40 at the 2010 combine. This offseason, Sanders signed a one-year, $6 million deal in Buffalo, where he’ll replace the departed John Brown and play opposite Stefon Diggs in one of the league’s most pass-happy offenses. He’ll also have to fend off slot man Cole Beasley and promising second-year man Gabriel Davis, but there should be enough targets to go around for all four, given the team’s tendencies and lack of depth at tight end. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#222.91
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Bills in March of 2021.
Joining Buffalo
WRBuffalo Bills
March 16, 2021
Sanders agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Bills on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
Sanders will travel to Buffalo on Thursday to make this deal official. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the deal is worth $6 million. The 34-year-old wideout proved he still has something left in the tank last year, recording a 61-726-5 line across 14 games with the Saints. Sanders is slated to serve as the No. 2 outside wide receiver behind Stefon Diggs -- who led the league with 1,535 receiving yards last year -- in Buffalo. Cole Beasley (leg) should handle the slot reps while Gabriel Davis rotates in on the outside.
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NFL Stats
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Fantasy/Red Zone Stats
See red zone opportunities inside the 20, 10 and 5-yard lines along with the percentage of time they converted the opportunity into a touchdown.
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Advanced NFL Stats
How do Emmanuel Sanders' 2020 advanced stats compare to other wide receivers?
This section compares his advanced stats with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average. The longer the bar, the better it is for the player.
  • Air Yards Per Game
    The number of air yards he is averaging per game. Air yards measure how far the ball was thrown downfield for both complete and incomplete passes. Air yards are recorded as a negative value when the pass is targeted behind the line of scrimmage. All air yards data is from Sports Info Solutions and does not include throwaways as targeted passes.
  • Air Yards Per Snap
    The number of air yards he is averaging per offensive snap.
  • % Team Air Yards
    The percentage of the team's total air yards he accounts for.
  • % Team Targets
    The percentage of the team's total targets he accounts for.
  • Avg Depth of Target
    Also known as aDOT, this stat measures the average distance down field he is being targeted at.
  • Catch Rate
    The number of catches made divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Drop Rate
    The number of passes he dropped divided by the number of times he was targeted by the quarterback.
  • Avg Yds After Catch
    The number of yards he gains after the catch on his receptions.
Air Yards Per Game
53.1
 
Air Yards Per Snap
1.33
 
% Team Air Yards
23.3%
 
% Team Targets
16.1%
 
Avg Depth of Target
9.1 Yds
 
Catch Rate
74.4%
 
Drop Rate
4.9%
 
Avg Yds After Catch
2.8
 
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2020
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2020 NFL Game Log
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2019 NFL Game Log
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2017 NFL Game Log
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Snap Distribution / Depth Chart
Snap Counts
Snap %
Buffalo BillsBills 2020 WR Snap Distribution See more data like this | See last season's snap counts
#% of Team Snaps

113689%
83665%
81864%
62749%
29123%
635%
171%
40%
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Receiving Alignment Breakdown
See where Emmanuel Sanders lined up on the field and how he performed at each spot.
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2020 Emmanuel Sanders Split Stats
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Measurables Review View College Player Page
How do Emmanuel Sanders' measurables compare to other wide receivers?
This section compares his draft workout metrics with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average.
Height
5' 11"
 
Weight
180 lbs
 
40-Yard Dash
4.40 sec
 
Shuttle Time
4.10 sec
 
Cone Drill
6.64 sec
 
Vertical Jump
39.5 in
 
Broad Jump
126 in
 
Bench Press
12 reps
 
Hand Length
9.25 in
 
Arm Length
32.00 in
 
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
Sanders was a difference-maker for the 49ers after they acquired him midseason, averaging 9.5 YPT and 13.9 YPC over 10 games and giving them a viable third weapon alongside George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. But this offseason he signed a two-year deal with the Saints to pair with Drew Brees and play second fiddle to Michael Thomas. At 5-11, 180, Sanders is small but quick, and he's always had decent long speed (4.41 40 at the 2010 combine). But at 33, he's almost certainly lost half a step, and it's unclear how he'll slot into the New Orleans offense. Deep threat Ted Ginn is gone, but third-year man Tre'Quan Smith is younger and probably at least as fast as Sanders at this stage of their respective careers. Moreover, Thomas is a target hog, tight end Jared Cook earned Brees' trust late last year, and tailback Alvin Kamara gets a lot of looks out of the backfield. But unless Smith takes a big leap forward, Sanders profiles as the No. 2 WR and likely slot man when Thomas lines up outside.
After a year in the wilderness with terrible quarterbacks and an injured ankle, Sanders bounced back in 2018 with an underrated season - a robust 8.9 YPT and four catches of 40-plus yards in only 12 games. Prorated over a full season, Sanders' numbers come out to 131-95-1,157-5. The Broncos were so pleased they exercised their option on his contract in March, guaranteeing $1.5 million of his $10.15 million salary for 2019, a strong sign they expect him to be their No. 1 target again. That's the good news. The bad news is Sanders turned 32 in March while rehabbing from Achilles surgery in December. in the second week of preseason games. Moreover, while Sanders thrived with the mediocre Case Keenum under center last year, he'll have to adjust to newly acquired Joe Flacco, a player who's been on the downside of his career for half a decade. Throw in a new head coach and offensive coordinator, and it's a lot to pick up while not being fully up to speed all offseason at an age when most receivers hang it up. At 5-11, 180, and with 4.41 speed, Sanders has always been fast and quick, but keep in mind that 40 number was taken nine years ago. Following a return to health this summer, Sanders' main competition for targets is the untested trio of Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick -- none of whom were overly impressive last season -- as well as first-round rookie tight end Noah Fant.
A Week 5 ankle injury largely derailed Sanders' season, so don't read too much into his career-low per-play numbers and meager fantasy output. That he played with three of the worst quarterbacks in the league didn't help, either. At 5-11, 180, Sanders is small, but he's fast (4.41 40), quick and agile. He turned 31 in March, but smaller receivers often age well, and he hadn't shown significant signs of decline before the injury. For 2018, Sanders' outlook is markedly improved. For starters, he's had an entire offseason to get healthy, and Case Keenum should be a significant upgrade over the trio of scrubs with whom Sanders played last year. Finally, the Broncos still have a narrow receiving tree - at press time, Demaryius Thomas is the only experienced player of note on their depth chart, though rookie second-rounder Courtland Sutton should work his way into the mix eventually.
Like Demaryius Thomas, Sanders benefits greatly from the Broncos' narrow passing tree. Without a reliable third receiver, no pass-catching TE of which to speak and with backs who catch passes occasionally but no one who specializes in it a la Theo Riddick or James White, the Broncos essentially target two players regularly every week: Thomas and Sanders. For that reason, even when the team had an elite defense and a below-average first-year starter in Trevor Siemian, Sanders (even with Thomas opposite him) saw 137 targets. At 5-11, 180, Sanders is small, but he's fast (4.40 40), exceptionally quick, runs good routes and has good hands. Despite his diminutive stature, Sanders saw plenty of red-zone work (22 targets, 4th), but caught only three TDs in that area. Sanders didn't make many big plays (13.1 YPC, 7.5 YPT, 12 catches of 20-plus and two of 40 or more), but that's likely on the Broncos quarterbacks as Sanders had six 40-plus plays with Peyton Manning's decaying carcass the prior year. The Broncos will again enter Week 1 with Siemian under center, but he'll be more experienced this time around, and new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy could add some life to the passing attack. The Broncos also drafted rookie speedster Carlos Henderson and signed Jamaal Charles, but neither should hugely impact Sanders' targets.
Like teammate Demaryius Thomas, Sanders' production fell off last year due to the precipitous decline in quarterback play from Peyton Manning. Sanders still managed 14.9 YPC and 8.3 YPT (a far cry from his 10.0 YPT in 2014) and, like Thomas, scored six TDs, only on 40 fewer targets and 12 fewer red-zone ones. Sanders increased his catches of 40-plus yards (six last year, four in 2014), but, more significantly, his catches of 20-plus decreased from 24 to 12. At 5-11, 180, with 4.40 speed, excellent quickness and good hands, Sanders is still capable of big plays, but the Broncos' offense was decidedly less explosive in 2015. While Mark Sanchez – or whoever gets the bulk of the team's snaps this year – will be a major upgrade from 2015 Manning; the days of the record-shattering Broncos offense are long gone. And if the Broncos' defense is anywhere near as good as last year's, Denver might find itself running more. Nonetheless, there's little depth beyond Thomas and Sanders, so a repeat of something approaching last year's target volume is likely.
Improvement from Sanders was expected in his new environment, but hardly to this extent. Paired with Peyton Manning, Sanders finished fourth in the league with 101 receptions, tied for third for catches of 20 or more yards (24), fifth in YPT and fifth in receiving yards. The 5-11, 180-pounder also saw 20 red-zone targets (T-10th) and 10 targets inside the 10 (T-7th). Manning and the Broncos aren't shy about using small, quick receivers from in close as they did with Wes Welker in 2013, and Sanders is essentially a younger version with more long speed (4.40 40) and explosiveness. Sanders' opportunity and red-zone upside are capped by playing opposite a target monster in Demaryius Thomas, and there's some chance Manning will drop off at age 39. But unless second-year man Cody Latimer takes a huge leap forward, the Broncos suddenly lack depth at receiver, and Sanders is virtually assured a sizable piece of the Denver passing game. The acquisition of injury-prone Owen Daniels to replace the departed Julius Thomas at tight end probably won't affect Sanders much, either.
Sanders enters a crowded situation in Denver with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas the favorites to see most of Peyton Manning’s targets. But last year there was plenty of room for those three and Eric Decker, and now there’s a 136-target void to be filled. Sanders should see at least some of those targets, though the Broncos also drafted Cody Latimer in the second round. At 5-11, 180 and running a 4.40, Sanders is small, fast and quick, a completely different style of receiver than Decker and as such probably won’t see many of Decker’s 23 red-zone targets. But anyone projected for a significant role in Peyton Manning’s passing game needs to be considered, and should something happen to the 33-year old Welker, Sanders would be the favorite to take on his role.
With the departure of Mike Wallace, Sanders stands to inherit the Antonio Brown role. The problem is Brown is still around, and no one on the team is Wallace. At 5-11, 180, Sanders along with Brown are likely to form the smallest tandem of receivers in the league. Sanders runs a 4.4 40, and he’s got good quickness, so like Brown he's dangerous in the open field. But neither is suited to red-zone work, and with tight end Heath Miller still recovering from a major late-season knee injury, we'd have to think other receivers will be involved when the team gets near the goal line. Of course, third-round draft pick, Markus Wheaton, is yet another small, quick wideout in the Brown/Sanders mold, so maybe the Steelers are bucking the big-receiver trend on purpose.
A foot injury cost Sanders five games last year, but by that point he had already been supplanted by Antonio Brown as Ben Roethlisberger’s co-favorite receiver (along with Mike Wallace). At 5-11, 180, Sanders is small, but he’s got excellent speed, running a 4.4 40 at the NFL Combine a couple years ago and good quickness. With Hines Ward retiring and Wallace unhappy, Sanders could have an opening to take on a more significant role. But chances are he opens the year as the team’s No. 3 receiver.
Taken in the third round last year, Sanders progressed as the season went on, emerging as the team's third receiver behind Hines Ward and Mike Wallace. At 5-11, 180, Sanders has plenty of speed, but his lack of size limits his red-zone upside, and Wallace is the team's first option for stretching the field. Sanders broke his foot in the Super Bowl but is expected to be healthy for the start of training camp.
The speedy Sanders was taken in the third round of the 2010 draft. Considering the depth the organization has at the receiver position, he'll at best battle Atwaan Randle El for the third receiver spot. The number three spot served Mike Wallace well in 2009 (756 yards, 6 touchdowns), but with the team expected to run the ball a bit more this year, odds are whoever wins the day for the third receiver role will not match Wallace's output from last year.
More Fantasy News
Cut free by Saints
WRFree Agent
March 10, 2021
The Saints will release Sanders on Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
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Leads team in targets, receptions
WRNew Orleans Saints
January 18, 2021
Sanders hauled in six of nine targets for 48 yards in the Saints' 30-20 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday.
ANALYSIS
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Falls flat in Sunday's win
WRNew Orleans Saints
January 10, 2021
Sanders caught two of three targets for three yards in the Saints' 21-9 win over the Bears on Sunday.
ANALYSIS
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Scores fifth touchdown in finale
WRNew Orleans Saints
January 3, 2021
Sanders caught nine of 13 targets for 63 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 33-7 win over the Saints.
ANALYSIS
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Solid effort as top wideout
WRNew Orleans Saints
December 25, 2020
Sanders secured four of five targets for 83 yards and rushed once for 12 yards in the Saints' 52-33 win over the Vikings on Friday.
ANALYSIS
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