WR Emmanuel Sanders - San Francisco 49ers
|5-11, 180||Born: 3-16-1987||College: Southern Methodist||Drafted: Round 3, pick 2010|
Week 21: at Kansas City Chiefs - $
FBG says: Tough matchup. The 49ers' ideal passing attack - low-volume and low-impact - has been on full display this postseason. Jimmy Garoppolo got past the Vikings and Packers dropping back just 30 times and completing 17 total passes. On the regular season, the 49ers as a team threw the league's fourth-fewest passes a game and a good-not-great 28 touchdowns. They were efficient, though, ranking fourth league-wide in net yards per attempt. Without much of a downfield component - they lack a true deep threat, while Garoppolo has long struggled with his long ball - this unit relies heavily upon its playmakers to weave magic on short and intermediate routes. Leading the way is full-fledged superstar George Kittle, who may be facing his tight end equal (Travis Kelce) on Sunday. Kittle has been quiet this postseason, spending most of his time blocking, but averaged 75 yards a game on a whopping 28% target share during the season. Garoppolo has also seen success, if only sporadically, when throwing to Emmanuel Sanders and dynamic rookie Deebo Samuel. Sanders can still win downfield, but hasn't caught more than 3 balls in a game since Week 14. Shanahan manufactures 4-7 weekly touches for the explosive Samuel, and he's responded nicely. But if all goes to plan for the 49ers, they'll control the Super Bowl on the ground and supplement with just a few well-timed splash plays from their receivers. The much-maligned Kansas City pass defense took a dramatic turn for the better midway through the 2019 season. Dating back to Week 9, they've allowed just 6.3 yards per attempt and 239 a game, with only 3 opponents (aided by garbage time) topping 225. The Texans' trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills found success in the Divisional Round, but that had all the looks of a true outlier. Houston spent much of that game in desperation mode, and the Kansas City defense allowed just 46 passes of 20+ yards this season, eighth-best in football. Outside cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland are volatile in coverage, but both possess shutdown ability against downfield wideouts. Against the 49ers, though, the biggest burden will be on their slot unit as they seek to keep the likes of George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Emmanuel Sanders from making plays underneath. Slot cornerback Kendall Fuller had an up-and-down season, but has traditionally been strong inside, while safety hybrid Tyrann Mathieu has excelled as an on-ball playmaker (16 pass breakups and 4 interceptions). It's not a bulletproof unit, and they allowed a handful of big games to slot men and tight ends down the 2019 stretch. But often, opponents are pushed into shootouts early on, and the swarming pass rush forces a number of errant and ill-advised throws. As a result, this is no longer an easy group to throw on, even when the game is blown wide open. Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo will need to get creative to make big plays happen Sunday.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs WR 1, WR 12, WR 24, WR 36
Emmanuel Sanders's percentile rank in each category, among WR with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2019 Week 20 vs GB (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec - 0 points, $5500)
Sanders actually had two targets. The first fell incomplete due to an underthrow by Jimmy Garoppolo, but it was erased on the stat sheet because said underthrow was due to an illegal roughing of said passer. Sanders' only official target came two plays later, but it was also underthrown, this time not due to roughing the passer. Rather, Sanders beat cornerback Kevin King on a deep crossing route, but Garoppolo's through caused Sanders to slow down just long enough for King to recover and make a play on the ball.
2019 Week 19 vs MIN (2 / 2 / 33 / 0 rec - 4.3 points, $5700)
Sanders had a couple of catches on the opening drive, including a big play to get into scoring range and a reception to get into the red zone, but wasn't heard from otherwise in the comfortable win.
2019 Week 17 vs SEA (4 / 3 / 25 / 0 rec - 4 points, $6100)
Seattle split their coverage of Sanders evenly between zone and Tre Flowers' in man-to-man. As is his wont, Sanders fared better against the former than the latter, with the Flowers snaps resulting in just 5 yards on one reception. Everything else came against zone, including a missed opportunity for a big gain deep into Seattle territory. On the play, Sanders ran free through the Seahawk's intermediate zone, but Jimmy Garoppolo slightly underthrew it, and Sanders wasn't able to make a sliding 20-yard catch.
2019 Week 16 vs LAR (6 / 3 / 61 / 0 rec - 7.6 points, $6400)
Sanders was neutralized by Darious Williams, Jalen Ramsey, and the Rams' zone defense -- until the game was on the line with one minute left. Sanders' 46-yard catch to set up San Francisco's game-winning field goal resulted from a complete breakdown on the back end of Los Angeles' Cover-2 zone. safety Taylor Rapp overplayed his anticipation of Sanders' route going towards the sideline, which rendered him a mere spectator when Sanders' route broke toward the deep middle on a post.
2019 Week 15 vs ATL (4 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec - 1.9 points, $6900)
The Falcons played a ton of man-to-man coverage, so the main reason for Sanders's quiet day was that he didn't beat it, especially against cornerback Isaiah Oliver, against whom he ran most of his routes. A secondary reason was that Atlanta didn't fall for Kyle's Shanahanigans, repeatedly ignoring when Sanders would go in jet-sweep or end-around action as a decoy.
2019 Week 14 vs NO (9 / 7 / 157 / 1 rec - 30.6 points, $5900)
Sanders' first four touches made it clear that he was designed to be the early-down chain-mover in San Francisco's game plan: 19 yards on 1st-and-10, 31 yards on 1st-and-15, a 75-yard touchdown catch on 1st-and-10, and then a 35-yard touchdown pass on 1st-and-10. That's nearly 85 percent of all the yardage and scoring he was involved in ... 21 minutes of game time into the afternoon. It's worth noting that these exploits were facilitated by New Orleans playing a ton of zone in the first half, which allowed Sanders to get open on the middle-of-the-field routes he's wont to run (and excel at).
2019 Week 13 vs BAL (6 / 4 / 41 / 0 rec - 6.1 points, $6400)
Whether because of the lingering effects of his rib injury or the generally superb coverage of Baltimore's cornerbacks, Sanders was more valuable in real football than fantasy football this week. That's because, although he didn't light up the scoreboard, two of Sanders' targets converted massive first downs for the 49ers: He made a diving catch on 3rd-and-3 and he drew a defensive pass interference on 4th-and-1. To boot, both conversions came on drives that ended in 10 of San Francisco's 17 points.
2019 Week 12 vs GB (1 / 1 / 15 / 0 rec - 2 points, $6400)
Sanders faced a relatively even mix of defenders in coverage on his routes. The most frequent was cornerback Kevin King (8 routes), who was in coverage on Sanders' only reception (and target). On the play, he beat King to the inside on a 10-yard dig route and was immediately tackled by safety Adrian Amos.
2019 Week 11 vs ARI (5 / 3 / 33 / 0 rec - 4.8 points, $6900)
Sanders couldn't make it through three quarters in his attempt to play through the rib injury he suffered last week. He was visibly affected by it while on the field, as several of his receptions were followed by Sanders wincing as he slowly got to his feet. Sanders' final play involved being the target of Jimmy Garoppolo's first red zone interception, and that route involved a quick twist back to the inside, which he did not execute quickly at all.
2019 Week 10 vs SEA (4 / 2 / 24 / 0 rec - 3.4 points, $6400)
Sanders left the game midway through the second quarter with a non-contact rib injury he suffered while turning inside on a dig route. Prior to that, Sanders's two receptions came on identical slant routes, one against Shaquill Griffin and the other against Nick Thorpe.
2019 Week 9 vs ARI (9 / 7 / 112 / 1 rec - 20.7 points, $5800)
Sanders gained 52 of his 112 yards on two plays in the same second quarter scoring drive, both against Patrick Peterson's man-to-man coverage. On the first, Sanders ran a 20-yard comeback route, and held onto the ball despite Peterson hitting him as the pass arrived. Two plays later, Sanders beat Peterson on a quick slant out of the right slot, and ran away from him for 24 yards after the catch. Sanders' most important play, however, was his 4th-and-1 touchdown to end the first half, which gave the 49ers a two-score lead they wouldn't relinquish. On that play, Sanders uncharacteristically lined up in the backfield, and ran a route into the right flat. Peterson didn't locate him until it was too late.
2019 Week 8 vs CAR (5 / 4 / 25 / 1 rec - 10.5 points, $5400)
Even though Sanders didn't post a huge stat line in his first game with San Francisco, his likely usage going forward was apparent. Namely, he's taken over the Marquise Goodwin role, and will be relied upon in crucial situations. To wit, two of Sanders' four receptions came on third down, both of which he converted. The first was a 3rd-and-11 reception where he sat down in Carolina's deep middle zone and went to the ground to catch a low throw. The second was a 3rd-and-4 where he once again sat down in a zone, though this time it was short right. It should be noted that Sanders also had a near miss deep, when he beat cornerback Russ Cockrell on a 20-yard out route. Unfortunately, Jimmy Garoppolo was hit as he threw, so the pass sailed high and out of bounds.
2019 Week 6 vs TEN (3 / 1 / 0 / 0 rec - 0.5 points, $5500)
Sanders managed one catch on a bubble screen that was brought down at the line of scrimmage. He sat out the second half after apparently aggravating a knee injury that had slowed him some in practice this week.
2019 Week 5 vs LAC (1 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec - 1.4 points, $5600)
Sanders showed us how low his floor can be in this offense with just one reception. He was a complete non-factor as Denver wisely dialed back Flacco's workload after the Broncos jumped out to an early lead. Sanders hauled in one out route for a 9 yard gain in the 3rd.
2019 Week 4 vs JAX (9 / 5 / 104 / 0 rec - 12.9 points, $5500)
Sanders passed the 100 yard mark for the first time this season as he and Sutton both drew a team-high nine targets. Sutton found the end zone twice, but Sanders had the edge in yards. Sanders had a diving catch on an out route from Flacco on the first play of the game. Sanders nearly found the end zone when he broke loose on a long catch and run on a deep out route early in the 2nd quarter, but he was brought down inside the 10 yard line after a 39 yard gain. Flacco tried Sanders deep a couple more times in the first half, but couldn't connect on the long balls. Sanders picked up a big gain on a deep crossing route late in the 4th quarter. He grabbed his leg after going down on the play, but hopped up and broke another big gain on a deep post route two plays later in the drive. Though he didn't leave the game, he might be popping up on the injury report this week.
2019 Week 3 vs GB (4 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec - 2 points, $5700)
Sanders had a slow performance after a hot start in his first two games back from an Achilles injury. He caught a short out route in the 1st quarter, then curl out up the seam halfway through the 2nd quarter before disappearing for the rest of the contest. Sanders nearly saved his day with a touchdown as he was targeted in the end zone later in the 2nd quarter, but the ball careened off a defender's hands just before Sanders could secure it in the back left corner.
2019 Week 2 vs CHI (13 / 11 / 98 / 1 rec - 23.3 points, $5600)
Sanders dominated targets with 13, ahead of Sutton, Lindsay, and Freeman who all drew 7 looks from Flacco. He got right to work hauling in a slant route from the right slot on the first offensive play of the game. Sanders shifted over to the left slot and caught a similar looking pass two plays later. Sanders made an amazing catch between four defenders on a 3rd quarter out route. He narrowly missed a touchdown when he was tackled at the two yard line late in the 4th on a shallow drag route. He was the intended target on Flacco's late 4th quarter interception, but the fault lies with the QB who just overthrew the ball. Sanders tied the game up with a breath-taking, toe-tapping catch over tough coverage from CB Fuller on a corner route in the back of the end zone. Sanders also caught the ensuing 2-point conversion with a short out route.
2019 Week 1 vs OAK (7 / 5 / 86 / 1 rec - 17.1 points, $5600)
Sanders didn't get going until late in the 1st half, pulling in a slant route for a short gain from the slot on his first target. He turned up the heat in the 4th quarter with a 53 yard gain straight down the middle of the field on a bomb from Flacco. Sanders tiptoed down the sidelines and spun away from a tackle for a big run after the catch on the next drive, then capped it off with a touchdown on a back shoulder short out route from the Oakland two yard line with just over two minutes left. Sanders was second on the team in targets and looked to be behind Sutton as Flacco's number 2 option for most of the game.
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