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Fantasy Impact of Emmanuel Sanders, Mohamed Sanu Trades

The Patriots and 49ers get a boost in the passing game by acquiring veteran receivers before the trade deadline.

The fire sale of the struggling 2-5 Denver Broncos began on Tuesday when the club traded wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the San Francisco 49ers for 2020 third and fourth-round draft picks. For San Francisco, Sanders immediately becomes the most accomplished wideout on a team that is undefeated (6-0) for the first time since 1990. Jimmy Garoppolo’s weapons on the outside have only accounted for 49 receptions for 679 yards in the six wins. The top-producing wideout has been pedestrian Marquise Goodwin who has just 11 receptions for 181 yards. 

This is an immediate upgrade for both Sanders and Garoppolo from a fantasy perspective. Sanders gets a huge boost going from Joe Flacco to Jimmy G and Garoppolo gets a much-needed playmaker to prevent defenses from doubling star tight end George Kittle. Sanders, a two-time Pro Bowler, has been solid returning from a torn Achilles suffered last season, grabbing 30 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns in seven games for Denver.

From a Broncos perspective, expect emerging young wideout Courtland Sutton to cement himself as a low WR1-high WR2 going forward. Sutton, who has posted 11-plus PPR fantasy points in six of seven games, will now see increased volume as the clear WR1 on passing downs for a run-oriented Denver offense.

Earlier in the day, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots added veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in a trade with the Falcons. Sanu was acquired from Atlanta in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick. 

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He gives the Patriots much-needed help to complement star WR Julian Edelman. In 2019 with the Falcons, Sanu has posted double-digit fantasy performances in four of seven games. With Josh Gordon currently nursing a knee injury, Sanu will step right in as Tom Brady’s most reliable target outside of Edelman. This will not affect Phillip Dorsett, who should continue to see his work in three-wide receiver sets. However, it does downgrade rookie Jakobi Meyers, who saw his most targets (5) and receptions (5) in Monday's 33-0 blowout victory over the Jets.

On Atlanta's end, the 1-6 Falcons are adding draft capital and cap space as they attempt to rebuild for the future. With the emergence of Austin Hooper at the tight end position to go along with star wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, the Falcons in essence cut-bait with the weakest link of their draft corp while recouping premium compensation. 

With Matt Ryan’s status in doubt over the next several weeks after suffering an ankle injury in Week 7 against the Rams, the fantasy outlook is not positive for any of the Atlanta positional players. The Falcons have brutal matchups with whoever is under center when they face the 6-1 Saints and 4-2 Panthers twice each in the span of five games, followed by a road date with the undefeated 49ers in Week 15.