Sammy Watkins: Jones Fracture and Precedent

News surfaced today that Sammy Watkins has a broken foot that will need surgery. The break commonly known as a Jones fracture will require a screw placed in his 5th metatarsal. This is frustrating for the Buffalo Bills who are also dealing with an injury to their first round pick Shaq Lawson. He injured his shoulder during off season workouts and is likely out 5-6 months.

Sammy Watkins is coming off his best season as a professional. He went over 1,000 yards receiving and had 9 touchdowns despite playing in 3 less games than his rookie year with 33 fewer targets. Starting in Week 8 Watkins went on a tear that saw him put up the 5th most receiving yards in the NFL.

Receiving
Rk Year Tm G Tgt Rec Yds ▾ Y/R TD Ctch% Y/Tgt
1 Antonio Brown 2015 PIT 9 127 90 1163 12.92 8 70.9% 9.16
2 Julio Jones 2015 ATL 9 114 78 1141 14.63 3 68.4% 10.01
3 Odell Beckham 2015 NYG 8 92 54 926 17.15 9 58.7% 10.07
4 Brandon Marshall 2015 NYJ 10 113 68 924 13.59 10 60.2% 8.18
5 Sammy Watkins 2015 BUF 9 78 49 900 18.37 7 62.8% 11.54
6 Mike Evans 2015 TAM 10 103 53 868 16.38 2 51.5% 8.43
7 Allen Robinson 2015 JAX 9 82 46 814 17.70 8 56.1% 9.93
8 Demaryius Thomas 2015 DEN 10 102 57 777 13.63 5 55.9% 7.62
9 A.J. Green 2015 CIN 10 82 51 766 15.02 7 62.2% 9.34
10 Jarvis Landry 2015 MIA 10 110 74 762 10.30 2 67.3% 6.93
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/16/2016.

The injury is causing a wide range of reactions. Some think Watkins may be ready ready for the season opener where others hear broken foot and are very concerned. Owners should probably fall somewhere in-between. Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and Michael Crabtree have all had the same injury that Watkins. They all dealt with after effects of the injury and the Buffalo Bills must avoid rushing him back to soon to avoid similar issues. Lets examine the previous cases.

Let Julio Jones carry you to victory! (Getty Images)

Getty Images

Julio Jones

Julio Jones had a fracture in his foot prior to the 2011 NFL Draft. He was able to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine despite having the injury. He had the screw inserted following that workout. He played 13 games his rookie season, missing 3 games due to a hamstring injury. Jones followed up an impressive rookie season with a 1,200 yard and 10 touchdown sophomore season. It was Jones’ third season that saw the injury become a problem again re-injuring his foot and needing another screw placed in his foot. He missed 11 games that season. Since then Jones has played two full seasons with the Falcons putting up 1,593 and 1,871 yards in 2014 and 2015 respectively. He has been fantastic since the second surgery and remains one the most highly sought after dynasty assets.

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Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant had the same injury last season in the Dallas Cowboys opening night victory against the New York Giants. Bryant was able to get back on the field for the Cowboys starting in November however he didn’t look like nearly the same player. He only had one game over 100 yards and only found the end zone 3 times. He was shut down for the final game of the season and was forced to have another surgery to repair his injured foot. Adam Schefter reported Bryant had the surgery on January 6th and is expected to ready for off season workouts. How Bryant will looked this season is still to be seen but a full offseason of recovery should go a long way in towards a productive season for Dez.

AP Photo - Ben Margot

AP Photo – Ben Margot

Michael Crabtree

Michael Crabtree is one of the first wide receivers to undergo the surgery. The injury was initially discovered prior to the 2009 NFL Draft. Crabtree missed the first 5 weeks of his rookie season.  All seemed well for Crabtree until Week 1 of the 2011 season when he re-injured his foot. Crabtree was forced to leave that game and miss the following week as well. Since then he has been relatively healthy outside of an Achilles injury. He looked great win his first season with the Oakland Raiders and has given fantasy owners a reason to trust him again.

Trying to comeback from this injury too fast has been a problem for all kinds of athletes just ask Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant. He suffered the injury in the 2014-2015 season following an MVP campaign the year prior. Durant seemingly felt pressure to get back on the court and was unable to get healthy that season. He ended up being shut down and having a total of 3 surgeries over a 6 month period. Durant is back to his former self as he has the Thunder in Western Conference Finals.

The road back from the Jones fracture has not been easy or quick one. Re-injury has been a constant theme with all the previous cases and should be considered by all Watkins owners. If you are able to sell him in Dynasty and Keeper leagues to close to where you value him i would probably pull the trigger especially if you have other players on your roster with concerns. The upside is still there with Watkins but the danger of him missing more time feels like more of when than if question.

For more Dynasty and Fantasy Football content check out Fake Pigskin’s Angle of Pursuit podcast on iTunes and Stitcher

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