Emmanuel Sanders, Dion Lewis and More Fantasy Reaction from Patriots vs. Broncos

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2017

New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis (33) runs back a kick-off for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

The New England Patriots had a dominant 41-16 victory over the Denver Broncos Sunday night, but fantasy football players care about more than just the final score.

Each of these teams has had a knack for spreading the ball around and getting different players involved all year, which is awful when it comes to predicting fantasy performances. However, some individual efforts from Week 10 might provide indications of what to expect going forward.

You are already starting Tom Brady, who had three more touchdowns, but here are some more players to keep an eye on.

           

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos

Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Because of injuries and poor quarterback play, this season has been a disappointment for Emmanuel Sanders, who entered the day with just 296 yards on the year. He had two scores, with both coming in Week 2.

However, he looked as good as ever in this one with six catches for 137 yards.

The receiver was a monster in the first half, catching five passes for 114 yards while being responsible for most of Brock Osweiler's 128 yards at the time. As Kevin Dillon of MassLive.com noted, he was doing his damage against top cornerback Malcolm Butler:

One of the major factors in this emergence is his health, which was a question mark even after returning to the field last week. James Palmer of NFL Network reported this improved significantly over the past week:

It's tough to argue this based on the results.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Jones of USA Today noted his previous career high of 181 yards also came with Osweiler throwing passes.

With obvious trust from the new quarterback and seemingly back to 100 percent healthy, Sanders could be a star at receiver for the rest of the season.

           

C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos

Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Even when he is playing well, seeing limited carries and few chances near the end zone isn't a great recipe for fantasy success for C.J. Anderson.

Anderson led the Broncos backfield Sunday with 10 carries for 54 yards, his 5.4 yards per carry being his best of the season. However, Jamaal Charles (eight carries for 38 yards) and Devontae Booker (eight carries for 24 yards) continue to take away touches.

With the Broncos now averaging just 13.6 points over the last five games since the bye, it's clear there are limited options for any of these running backs to score touchdowns and there aren't enough yards to make them fantasy relevant.

Anderson no longer should be in lineups until he can find a way to separate himself from the pack.

                     

Dion Lewis/Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 12:  Running back Rex Burkhead #34 of the New England Patriots runs for a touchdown after a catch in the first quarter of a game as free safety Darian Stewart #26 of the Denver Broncos pursues at Sports Authority Field at Mile High o
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

It's nearly impossible to know what to expect from Patriots running backs, mostly because head coach Bill Belichick doesn't care about your fantasy team.

However, Dion Lewis has slowly earned a bigger role as the season has progressed, and he came through with his best performance of the season against the Broncos.

He made a significant impact on offense with 14 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. He also added to his day with a 103-yard kickoff returned all the way to the house:

Meanwhile, fellow running backs James White and Rex Burkhead also scored touchdowns in the blowout, both as receivers.

The notable factor was the use of Burkhead, who had 36 yards on 10 carries to go with three catches for 27 yards. This comes after a seven-catch performance last game against the Chargers.

It's clear he also has the trust of the coaching staff and will remain heavily involved going forward.

All three players should be rostered in fantasy leagues and could be useful, but Lewis and Burkhead each earned upgrades after this game. Lewis can be an RB2 in all competitions, while Burkhead might be a flex option, especially in points-per-reception leagues.

           

Martellus Bennett, TE, Patriots

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 12:  Tight end Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots warms up before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 12, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Martellus Bennett this week, who was waived by the Packers and picked up by the Patriots because of injury question marks. He accused his former team of mishandling his injury and forcing him to play, but that didn't stop him from playing in his first game with the Patriots, as detailed by Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports.

Regardless of your feelings for him as a person or your side of the debate, Bennett showed his talent in limited playing time against the Broncos with three catches for 38 yards:

He was only averaging 33.3 yards per game with the Packers.

Bennett will stay behind Rob Gronkowski on the depth chart, but New England loves two-tight end sets, which could lead to plenty of playing time for Bennett going forward. He fit in well with this system last year, finishing with 701 receiving yards and seven touchdowns with Gronkowski in and out of the lineup.

With so few consistent tight end options, the veteran could end up being a useful fantasy player in the second half of the season. If Gronk gets hurt, Bennett would immediately become a TE1 once again.

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