Fantasy Football: What to expect from Miles Sanders in 2021

Miles Sanders has had some success over his first two seasons, but is a third-year fantasy breakout coming?

Miles Sanders, Fantasy Football, Eagles
NFL Analysis Network

Based on fantasy points per game (full PPR), with a minimum of 10 games played, Miles Sanders has been RB21 and RB17 in his first two NFL seasons. Heading into last year, there was plenty of optimism he’d become a top-end fantasy running back.

But the Eagles offense was a wreck for most of last season. From Carson Wentz’s struggles to an injury-riddled offensive line, it would have been hard for any back to succeed. Sanders did up his yards per carry and touchdown rate though, with improved marks from Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders’ DVOA as well.

In the three games Jalen Hurts started for the Eagles last year, Sanders averaged 19.3 full PPR fantasy points per game with at least five targets twice. Hurts being lined up to start all season looks like good news for Sanders.

In true Eagles’ fashion, and Colts’ fashion based on head coach Nick Sirianni’s roots there, the Eagles added Kerryon Johnson, brought back Jordan Howard and drafted Kenneth Gainwell to add bodies to their running back mix. Boston Scott is still around too. Individually they may not be a great threat to Sanders as the lead back, but collectively there has to be concern. Sanders missed four games last season, while also struggling with ball handling (seven drops and four fumbles).

Camp (and eventually, preseason game) stats have to kept in a certain place. But these notes from Eagles’ camp are interesting.

Through Monday’s practice, and presumably after Tuesday and Wednesday, Sanders is leading Eagles’ backs in carries, touches and first-team carries. Camp is the time to get a look at everyone though, and the new coaching staff is doing that.

Miles Sanders 2021 Fantasy Outlook

As expected based on buzz coming out of Eagles’ camp, via Fantasy Football Calculator (and others, I’m sure), Sanders’ ADP is falling. As of Wednesday morning, he’s RB20 (pick 4.01) in 12-team full PPR. He’s in the same range (RB20, pick 3.09/3.10) in standard and half-PPR.

Miles Sanders Average Draft Position
ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator

It’s unlikely Sanders’ ADP falls much more, as the initial panic level tapers off. He has always been in RB2 range, with some measure of upside for those who wanted to buy into that. Going beyond Hurts’ prowess as a runner to vulture looks, that upside has now taken a bigger hit. S

From this corner, Sanders has always had a limited fantasy ceiling for this year. Now, he has a lower floor on even a slight hint that camp buzz becomes reality. He won’t be an exciting back to take in your fantasy draft. But near the RB2/RB3 border, somewhere from late third-round to mid fourth-round in a 12-team league, there are backs with less potential.