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Miles Sanders: Make it or Break it

Miles Sanders haters: BEWARE! @JoeBeldner explains why Sanders is the perfect buy-low and destined for a breakout season in 2022.

If you have rostered Miles Sanders on your Fantasy Football team(s) in any of his first three seasons, odds are you have grown extremely frustrated with him. I, too, admit that I have been a Sanders hater over the years and have even had him on a few of my “Do Not Draft” lists.

With that said, every player has value, and his current price point/ ADP has become completely preposterous. If you sort through the array of injuries and inconsistent team usage, Sanders has displayed hints of greatness and even some elite production. In this article, you will be convinced that he is one of the top buy-low options currently on the market. Proceed with caution if you are one of his many haters.

NFL Career

Provided By Pro-Football-Reference: View Original Table

Before you take out your pitchforks, let’s rewind a few years to Sanders’ rookie season. He was drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles to be their bell-cow-RB. He lived up to his lofty expectations that season, leading all rookies with 1,327 scrimmage yards. Since his impressive rookie year, his NFL journey has been defined by a mixed bag of injuries. He has not played more than six consecutive games since his first professional season.

Although Sanders failed to meet expectations last season, he managed to earn the highest rushing average of his career (5.5 YPC). This was the seventh highest average of all RBs in the NFL last season. He additionally only fumbled the ball once, marking the best rate of his career thus far. He is one of three RBs in NFL history to start their career with 750 rushing yards, a 4.5 rushing average, and at least 25 catches in their first three seasons. Even with such efficiency, Sanders has left dynasty managers repulsed, desperate, and craving more.

Friendly Competition

The controversial RB is entering his fourth professional season, still 25-years-young, and hungry to fulfill his true potential. He is additionally stepping into a momentous contract year. Sanders is still the clear RB1 in the offense, but the team boasts an impressive RB room. Boston Scott has shown he can hold down the fort when Sanders is injured, and Kenneth Gainwell had a very promising rookie season. Expecting either to be completely uninvolved in Philly’s offensive attack would be a pipe dream. If looking to acquire Sanders, be sure to handcuff him with at least one of these players if possible.

Even though both backups are respectable at what they do, neither have the prospect pedigree of Sanders. He has the perfect build for the modern NFL runner and boasts a 4.49 40 time. He also possesses terrific contact balance, patience, and lateral agility. When healthy, he has truly proven to be a special talent and one that stands out at the professional level.

The team also reunited Jalen Hurts with UDFA Kennedy Brooks. The two players proved to be an impressive tandem at the collegiate level. Although this looks like a pretty crowded backfield committee, Sanders is by far the most talented of the pack. Expect him to be extremely motivated to show the team and his fans he is up for the challenge next season.

Fly Like an Eagle: 2022 Outlook

It is a bit astonishing that Sanders could not score a single touchdown last season. The Eagles led the league with 25 rushing TDs, and Sanders had a respectable 137 carries. Considering this statistic as more of an anomaly rather than a legitimate cause for concern is better. The team completely revamped their offense this offseason by acquiring star WR A.J. Brown. With an improved passing attack and the rare rushing capabilities of Hurts, Sanders should be able to improve on this total tremendously.

The team still values him as their starting RB, and the job is his for the taking. He should additionally be able to take advantage of new holes in opposing defenses due to the attention that his talented teammates require. This should be the perfect recipe for improved fantasy production. Sanders’ fantasy finishes have steadily declined through his first three years (RB15, 23, 45). Although this may be a cause for concern, he is in the perfect position to bounce back and breakout in 2022.

Final Thoughts

It is astounding what a little motivation can do for a player when their back is against the wall. Although Sanders is still relatively young, the clock is ticking for him to prove himself. He has been doing everything in his power this offseason to better his health and strengthen his durability. If healthy, we can finally receive the breakout season that we have been eagerly waiting for from the elusive RB. The potential reward outweighs the risks of obtaining Sanders at his current price point. Take advantage of this rare price dip while you can. If Sanders can stay healthy, you can be adding an RB2 with upside at an absolute bargain. 

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