Many fantasy players have had Watkins valued lower than expected due to his performance over the last four seasons. However, when you completely break him down as a player you will see Watkins as a great value buy-low candidate for your dynasty leagues.
Sammy Watkins was a five-star recruit
coming out of South Fort Myers High School. After receiving offers to attend numerous schools he decided to enroll at Clemson University in South Carolina. Clemson has been known to develop some of the highest rated wide receivers in the NFL as of late. Under Dabo Sweeney, the Tigers have had the likes of; Martavis Bryant, Mike Williams, DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
The hype for Watkins during the 2014 draft was huge. The Bills traded up with the Cleveland Browns to the number four overall spot to draft him. He was the first wide receiver taken in a loaded draft class. The wide receivers that were drafted after Sammy Watkins include; Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, Jordan Matthews, Marqise Lee, Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry, Paul Richardson, and Martavis Bryant. Of these 12 players, half of them were taken in the first four rounds of startup dynasty drafts, according to the ADP ranking performed by DynastyRedzone.com.
Over the course of his career, Watkins has put up stats of:
Now after putting Sammy’s stats in a table like this, there are numerous things I like to look at. The first is the fact he caught 192 of 346 passes thrown his way throughout his career. Now even though that is just a 55% catch rate, you also have to include the number of times the quarterbacks either overthrew him or just tried to force the ball to him.
Second, Sammy Watkins has had a label in the past of injury prone. In 2015, he suffered three different injuries. According to sportsinjurypredictor.com, Watkins had a thigh glute sprain in the preseason. He missed the last three preseason game because of this. Then in week three against the Dolphins, Watkins had a leg calf sprain, which resulted in two missed weeks. When he came back week six Watkins then had a slight ankle sprain on a touchdown scoring play. Which resulted in missing another week. He missed eight games in 2016 due to a teammate stepping on his surgically repaired foot. Watkins was put on the IR after week three and didn’t recover the rest of the season. The Bills decided to trade him away during the offseason afraid not to get anything for him. Sammy suffered a concussion week three in 2017 but was able to return for a contest week four against the Dallas Cowboys. The only game he missed in 2017 was week 17’s matchup with the 49ers to rest up for the playoffs.
The Final Point
Which brings up my final point, last season was a down year for Watkins. He was traded August 11th, 2017, that only gave him a month to build chemistry with his new quarterback and team. Not only did he not have time to work with Jared Goff during the season, but he also had one of the toughest schedules for a wide receiver to have. He faced off against; Josh Norman, Richard Sherman (twice), Patrick Peterson (twice), Xavier Rhodes, Marshon Lattimore, and Jalen Ramsey. The Rams decided not to re-sign Sammy this offseason and let him try free agency.
Watkins was signed relatively quickly during the 2018 free agency period. His current contract will pay him $48 million over the next three years with the Chiefs. Before signing in Kansas City, the Chiefs already had a high-powered offense with Kareem Hunt running the ball. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be catching passes from Patrick Mahomes along-side Sammy Watkins. While that could mean more mouths to feed in Kansas City than his past stops in Buffalo and LA, it also means less double coverage and easier schedule against cornerbacks.
I could see Watkins finishing the season as a WR2 providing great value for his ADP of 48 overall in startup leagues according to DynastyRedZone.com. Let’s look at the players that are being drafted around Watkins current ADP:
- Carson Wentz: Not drafting a QB this early
- Jerick McKinnon: Another free agent signing hype seems to be pushing his value up
- Doug Baldwin: 29 years old, only target that Wilson has relied on in the past still in Seattle. Age and double teams could be looming
- Deshaun Watson: Another QB took too early for me
- Rob Gronkowski: Injured a lot, starting to talk about retirement
- Rashaad Penny: Unproven rookie, I like him but will take the experienced player
- Sammy Watkins:
- Derrick Henry: Too many questions about the running game in Tennessee, rather he Dion Lewis
- Hunter Henry: His value will go down after his injury
- Russell Wilson: Another QB took too early for me
- Nick Chubb: Value will go down after Duke Johnson extension
- Mark Ingram: Value will go down after suspension for PEDs
- Ronald Jones: Another unproven rookie, not high on Jones as a lot of people.
I listed the six spots above a below his current ADP from dynastyredone.com to show the players you could get in this range in standard PPR format, along with my opinions about each pick taken in that spot. In this range, I believe Watkins, Penny, and McKinnon have the highest upside with Watkins as the only one that has performed like it before. A lot of dynasty players also seem to be down on him right now as well, making his trade value a good buy as well. You might have to play a little bit right now, but he should exceed expectations.
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