Sammy Watkins: Managing Expectations

(Elsa/Getty Images)

(Elsa/Getty Images)

While Sammy Watkins was an incredible player at Clemson University and has tremendous potential in the NFL, the hype has gone too far. Currently Watkins is being drafted as the 21st wide receiver and 48 overall. He is currently going before names like Kendall Wright, Desean Jackson and TY Hilton at wide receiver. This is simply too aggressive.

The Buffalo Bills feature the running game with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. Last season both Spiller and Jackson carried the ball over 200 times. The Bills will run early and often. When they are not running the ball, they utilize short passes designed to get their playmakers the ball. While this is one of the areas Watkins excels, they tend to utilize all of their weapons. Last season Spiller and Jackson combined to catch 80 balls. The Bills leading pass catcher Scott Chandler had 53 receptions. They had 5 players with 30 catches or more showing the desire to spread the ball around.

Don’t forget the hype that surrounded Tavon Austin last season. Austin came into a very similar situation. The Rams like the Bills utilize the rushing game and have an underperforming passing game. Austin underproduced for fantasy owners, leaving them very frustrated. Typically it takes a wide receiver at least one season if not two or three to adjust to the NFL.

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Last season the Buffalo Bills attempted 522 passes last season. That was good for 24th overall last season. The Bills gained 3103 yards in those attempts which had them at 28th overall. I know what you’re thinking, EJ Manuel went down last season and hurt the Bills passing game. While this is true the impact it had was marginal. The Bills passing game went down 9 yards per game and their passing completion percentage went down 4%.

Quarterback Games Played Attempts Completion % Yards Yard/Game
EJ Manuel 10 306 59% 1972 197.2
Thad Lewis/Jeff Tuel 6 216 59% 1131 188.5

Sammy Watkins should be drafted as a 4th or 5th upside play at most. Employing this strategy will likely mean you will not own him this season. When another owner is overdrafting Watkins, they will be leaving value on the table. Be the owner collecting value and not overdrafting. If you have your heart set on Watkins, go ahead and draft him. Don’t ask me what you should do with him when he isn’t performing to the expectations you set.


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