By: Skyler Ooyen (Twitter: @dfffan1)
Updated: 4/8/2017

Player Analysis: The Denver WRs

Situations such as Denver, Oakland, and New Orleans can tend to be the cause for many Fantasy Football debates. When you get these teams with multiple mouths to feed and several historically solid WR options, guys like Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas become a hot topic. Throughout the 2016 season, Sanders totaled 79 receptions on 137 targets totaling 1,032 yards and 5 TDs, which resulted in 212.6 fantasy points in PPR scoring. Thomas totaled 90 receptions on 144 targets totaling 1,083 yards and 5 TDs, resulting in 228.3 fantasy points in PPR. With such similar stat lines in 2016, my goal here is to break down these players more in depth and show you which WR you should be drafting in 2017.

Based on ADP, this choice is relatively simple. Thomas is currently taken at the 40th pick according to MyFantasyLeague ADP, while Sanders’ ADP is 74th off the board. With this, you can see that Sanders is a steal considering you can grab him more than two rounds later than Thomas. In 2016, Thomas scored less than 10 fantasy points in PPR only 4 times, while Sanders scored less than 10 points in PPR a total of 8 times. Sanders also had the highest scoring game out of him and Thomas with 32.7 in one week, compared to Thomas having a week with 22.6. Also worth noting, neither of them totaled over 10 points in Weeks 1, 16 and 17. In Weeks 3 and 13, both WRs totaled over 100 receiving yards, which was largely due to improved Quarterback play.

With the targets, yards per target, touchdowns, and yards being nearly identical for these two, there are only two stats that show a difference of better wide receiver play. Thomas has a 62.5 catch percentage compared to Sanders 57.5%. Also, Thomas had 11 more receptions on 7 more targets. Thomas showed he provided slightly more reliability for his QB than Sanders did. In 2016 32.7 in PPR was Sanders highest scoring game, compared to DT’s 22.6.
So what do you do with these two heading into 2017? Whether you are looking for a higher ceiling or a higher floor WR, or you’re going strictly based on value, you can determine who to draft. As the Quarterback situation looks to remain the same with the sole difference of both developing for another season I don’t see a significant increase or decrease in stats for either one. If anything, overall improvement at the QB position should theoretically help both of them out.

For Redraft Leagues, Thomas is a safer option with a higher floor, and should be approached as an WR2 with upside. If you are looking at your WR3, or even your Flex option, considering Sanders current ADP, he could provide owners some great return with his value. There are still some owners out there that believe Thomas is an elite WR, but as of late, he has shown us he just hasn’t quite been there for fantasy owners. Thomas provides his typical upside from his talent and play making ability alone, but Sanders should provide better return on cost in 2017.

For Dynasty Leagues, unfortunately both of these guys are not exactly ideal long-term options. Demaryius will be 29 this year, turning 30 in December. Emmanuel just turned 30 in March, and based on both of these ages, clearly they are far from ideal long-term Dynasty options. Demaryius definitely could have a few big years left in him, but I do not recommend going out and paying up for either of these guys. Don’t be surprised if Denver goes after a WR in this year’s draft.