The Denver Broncos have struggled to get things going as of late, losing four-straight games and hanging out in the cellar of the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders. On Thursday Night Football in Week 7, the team now hopes a matchup with the 1-5 Arizona Cardinals can right the ship and get things turned around.
One key to their success will be wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who’s been a go-to target for Case Keenum this year. Of the team’s six games, Sanders has seen at least seven targets in five of them, and for much of the year has been a great fantasy football option. While the matchup against the Cardinals doesn’t look ideal on paper, there is some reason for optimism entering this week.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the situation and decide whether the Broncos pass-catcher is a start or sit against the Cardinals.
Key Stats and Emmanuel Sanders’ Fantasy Outlook
I’ll break down the matchup, recent production and a few other key numbers for Sanders against the Cardinals. All information on fantasy points and statistics for defense vs. position are from ESPN.
- Arizona Cardinals vs. wide receivers in 2018: 90 receptions, 979 yards, two touchdowns (No. 9 fewest fantasy points per game)
- Sanders has led Broncos wide receivers in snaps in all but one game (Week 2), per Football Outsiders
- Sanders has dominated in targets over the past four games, totaling 39 to Thomas’ 22 and Sutton’s 19
- Thomas expected to draw coverage from Patrick Peterson in shadow coverage
If Peterson does indeed shadow Thomas for the most part, then Sanders should have plenty of big-play opportunities. At the very least, he’ll once again receive a high number of targets. As you can see, the Cardinals have given up plenty of receptions and yards this season, just not touchdowns.
Should You Start or Sit Emmanuel Sanders?
I like Sanders quite a bit in this spot, especially since he’s being targeted 15 percent of the time when on the field. That number easily leads both Thomas (13.8 percent) and Sutton (10.5 percent). The fact that Keenum loves throwing to Sanders is a big deal, but adding on that he may have one of the better matchups on the Denver offense should lead to double-digit targets being funneled his way.
Sanders received 24 targets in the past two games, resulting in 16 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown. I believe he builds off that and tops the 100-yard mark once again, firmly placing him as a start in all leagues this week.