Over the past three seasons, Mohamed Sanu has become a consistent and reliable target for QB Matt Ryan. While he’s not the most explosive receiver, his reliable hands and physical play style have made him a great compliment to the dominant Julio Jones. In fact, Sanu has seen his yardage totals increase every year he’s been in Atlanta. Will that trend continue into 2019? Let’s take a look.
Targets and receptions
In his time with the Falcons, Sanu has seen has seen 81, 96 and 94 targets since 2016 respectively. His lowest season - 2016 - also happened to be the most productive for the Atlanta offense. If you’re like me, and you believe the Falcons are going to have a great offense this year, his 2016 numbers may be a better guidance than the last two years. This is especially true when considering that Calvin Ridley will likely get more looks in his second season.
His catch percentage in Atlanta is right around 70%, with his 2016 percentage of 72.8% being his highest. There’s no reason to think that trend will suddenly break higher or lower this year.
The Falcons offense will be more productive overall, but Sanu’s numbers will probably dip down as a result. Count me in for 80 targets and 56 receptions.
Yards and touchdowns
Mohamed Sanu has a lifetime average of 11.6 yards per reception. His average in Cincinnati was slightly higher at 11.8 (versus 11.4 in Atlanta). His best year in Atlanta was 2018, when he hit 12.7 yards per reception. Nothing suggests that he’s suddenly going to bust this number wide open, so we’ll run with the 11.4 average he’s shown since being with the Falcons.
As for touchdowns, he’s had 4, 5 and 4 touchdowns per year since 2016. That’s a pretty consistent trend that will also probably stay fairly reliable. With that, we’re looking at about 640 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns as a fairly conservative estimate.
It’s not that I think Sanu is regressing as a player - far from it. He’s been a reliable weapon that Matt Ryan clearly loves throwing to. However, guys like Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper will continue to get more looks as Ryan gets more comfortable with them. It’s also unlikely that Julio’s targets will take a substantial hit, leaving Sanu the odd man out. Even still, his final numbers are still respectable, if not exactly WR2 levels.
80 targets, 56 receptions for 640 yards and 4 touchdowns
What kind of year do you think Sanu will have in 2019?