The New England Patriots have been in the market for a big-bodied wideout for an extremely long time. They’ve swung on multiple occasions over the past few months to a year, all with varying, yet underwhelming success.
However, after what seems to be the beginning of the end of the Josh Gordon era in New England, the Patriots threw their hat in the ring one last time in hopes of giving Tom Brady a reliable substantial-sized wideout. The Pats traded for Mohamed Sanu, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons.
While Sanu may look the part, the question of whether or not his skillset will transfer over into fantasy production for your roster in Week 8 vs. the Clevland Browns is still up for debate. Let’s further inspect.
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Mohamed Sanu’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Cleveland Browns
When the New England Patriots make roster moves, they tend to grab headlines, even when they’re not all that headline-grabbing worthy. This is not to say Mohamed Sanu will not be a crucial part of the Patriots offense moving forward. However, it is saying that whenever the Pats acquire a new player, it doesn’t always mean that player is suddenly the next Randy Moss.
Many people believe Sanu was brought in to replace Josh Gordon and serve as an outside receiver for the offense. Yet, there is plenty to pick apart from that notion. For starters, Sanu has functioned predominantly out of the slot during his previous stops in the NFL. Not to say he can’t line up out wide, but that is where he’s made his money during his solid eight-year career. Yet, the Patriots offense has functioned with two-slot receivers in previous years, most notably with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola on their way to being crowned Super Bowl LI champions.
It’s also worth noting that Josh Gordon’s role didn’t need much replacing within the offense. That’s because that process had already been in motion prior to Sanu’s arrival. Fellow Patriots wideout Phillip Dorsett out-snapped Gordon in two out of the first three games of the season in 2019, when both players were healthy. Dorsett is also one week removed from playing just one less snap than the team’s number one receiving target, Julian Edelman. Dorsett currently has four touchdowns over the five games he’s been active for this season and seems to be on an upward trajectory.
So where does Sanu fall into the Patriots plans? Well, for one, he’s as sure-handed of a receiver as there is the NFL. He’s also a dominant blocker in the run game. Those two attributes alone will buy him plenty of playing time. He’s also been productive at times this season, scoring within double-digits in four of his seven games this year. He may, however, have his hands full in a somewhat surprisingly difficult task this Sunday.
For all the Cleveland Browns’ struggles this season, their secondary has fared well for the most part in terms of defending opposing wide receivers. They surrender the 14th fewest points to the position on the season, and have allowed just three opposing wideouts since Week 3 to surpass 41 yards receiving, none of which exceeded 75. They’ve also allowed just four separate receivers to find the endzone in 2019, one of the eight-fewest totals in football.
Should You Start or Sit Mohamed Sanu in Week 8?
Sanu is more of a single puzzle-piece, rather than a major factor in what the Patriots hope will be a Super Bowl-winning team. His fantasy value does not differ much with the trade to New England. He’s currently on the low-end WR3 to mid-tier WR4 spectrum.
New England may try to force some targets towards their newly acquired receiver, ala Antonio Brown in his lone Patriots performance, however, he should still serve as the third option in the passing game behind Edelman and Dorsett.