Sammy Watkins gained more than 1,000 receiving yards for the first time last season. Can he continue his upward trend?
Last season Sammy Watkins put up 1,047 yards on 60 receptions with 9 touchdowns. His performance really came on over the last six games of the season where he averaged 113 yards on 5.8 catches and a touchdown per game over that span.
In each of those six games, he caught a ball for over 37 yards emphasizing his big play potential. He finished ranked the 15th best fantasy football wide receiver according to Yahoo’s standard scoring.
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The question for this year is can he do better and if so by how much? The short answer is that he can absolutely do better. His quarterback last season was starting for the first time in his career and didn’t win the job until the end of August. Sammy Watkins and Tyrod Taylor have now played most of a season together and had an entire offseason to continue to build upon the chemistry they developed last year.
This season we are projecting Watkins to put up better numbers across the board. He only played in 13 games last year so even with a similar effort his numbers should increase if he stays healthy. We expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,320 yards with 75 receptions and 12 touchdowns. That type of performance last year would have ranked him as the 7th best wide receiver in the league.
In PPR leagues he tends to have a little less value than other receivers of his caliber. For one, Buffalo runs the ball more than most other teams in the league. Additionally, Watkins lacks a true number two receiver to take some of the pressure off of him which leads to him getting doubled a lot causing him to work harder to get open. He put up over 1,000 yards last season but only on 60 catches. 48 wide receivers had more receptions than him last season which is pretty incredible.
Where he can provide an extra boost is in leagues that reward big plays. 18 of Watkins 60 catches last season were for over 20 yards which is just under one-third of his catches. He made many memorable plays over the top of defenders for big gains which was one of the major reasons for his production.
In leagues that reward points for first downs, he does well relative to the amount of receptions he had. 41 of his 60 catches were for first downs which accounts for over two-thirds of all of his catches.
From an injury standpoint, Watkins get’s banged up a lot but he has not allowed that to cause him to miss much time. He has missed an average of 1.5 games per year over two seasons despite many injuries that he has played through. He had offseason foot surgery which is always nerve-racking but there is no reason to believe that injury will hold him back this season.
Sammy Watkins has the potential to greatly underperform or outperform these numbers depending on several factors including his and Tyrod Taylor’s health this season. He has the potential to be a top five fantasy wideout but due to the Bills run focused offense and Watkins lower reception numbers we think he will probably end up ranked between the 5th and 15th best receiver for fantasy football by the end of the year.
What do you think? Where do you think Watkins will rank amongst fantasy football receivers at the end of the season?