Player Analysis: Sammy Watkins
By: David Reynolds (Twitter: @FwT3R_aka_DorD)
Since entering the league in 2014, Sammy Watkins has always been a guy with some major talent that many fantasy owners have been buying in on. He played all 16 games in 2014, then 13 games in 2015, and finally 8 games played in 2016. After some strong WR1 production at the end of 2015, there was a lot of excitement about Watkins heading into 2016. The foot injury had been an issue, but it appeared to be taken care of and that Watkins was ready to go. That excitement was short lived due to a foot injury before the season even started, and then a combination of re-injury and poor fantasy production did not help reignite that flame. In the 2015 season, Sammy Watkins over 13 games had produced 60 catches (4.6), 1,047 yards (80.5), and nine touchdowns (.7) on 96 targets (7.4). Those numbers in a PPR format come out to 218.7 fantasy points (16.8 per game). In 2016, Watkins caught 28 passes (3.5) for 430 yards (53.8), with 2 (.3) being TDs on 52 targets (6.5) in just 8 games. These numbers come out to 83 total fantasy points in PPR. His 10.4 fantasy points per game, put him at 50th among all wide receivers. As you can see, across the board all his number were down from his previous season, granted it was just in eight games. The biggest and most noticeable drop in production came in the yards and touchdowns. He eclipsed 60 or more yards eight times in 2015 as that only happened twice in 2016. Over his 13 games in 2015, he crossed the goal line at least once per game in seven games, and only two total TDs in 2016. The final note in terms of fantasy production would be the points per game. He only broke double digit fantasy points in three game, and in the five other games he had no more than seven points.
At this point in time, with over 482 MFL10 drafts completed at www.myfantasyleague.com he is being drafted as the 15th WR off the board. With this price tag, it is clear the fantasy community is expecting a strong bounce back year out of Watkins. Can we really trust that season? Or should our expectations be that of his rookie year in a full 16 games? He had 199.2 fantasy points in PPR or 12.5 points per game. I definitely see that being his floor with clearly the upside for more, but I’m not willing to pay a top end WR2 cost to find out. If I’m wanting to go WR in the third round, I’m going with Doug Baldwin. I will feel confident knowing I’ll get back and then some for what I’m paying for in Baldwin. If I can’t get a Baldwin, I have no issues waiting a couple more rounds and drafting a Larry Fitzgerald or Emmanuel Sanders.
For Redraft Leagues, Watkins can be approached as a low end WR2 with obvious upside. Depending how you feel about Watkins’ foot injury and whether he is 100% heading into 2017 or not, as of now he should be approached as a low end WR2.
For Dynasty Leagues, I would be happy with buying in to Sammy Watkins. His foot injury has been an annoying and lingering one, but Julio Jones has dealt with a similar issue throughout his career as well, and Watkins’ talent keeps his upside very high. This may be the last year I am buying in on Watkins, but as of now, I want him on my roster. His price tag is low, and I am all for buying in on the highly talented and high upside WRs.