When it comes to dynasty football leagues you know there is no offseason. Without the in-season worries of lineup setting and setting up waiver wire claims, dynasty league enthusiasts can focus their efforts on making trades to improve their teams and preparing for rookie drafts.
Today’s column will take a look at Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins. We will start off with an overview of the veteran and then take a look at analyzing his value in dynasty leagues. Then, to finish it off, we will propose some possible trades involving Watkins to give you some ideas for either buying or selling him.
For all discussions regarding Sammy Watkins’ dynasty value, let’s assume you are playing in a 12-team, one-quarterback dynasty league with PPR scoring. As always, player values can shift quickly in dynasty leagues so be sure to stay on top of the NFL news cycle when proposing trades.
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The Buffalo Bills traded up five spots in the 2014 NFL draft to take Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick. They paid a lot, sending the ninth overall pick and a future first and fourth to the Cleveland Browns to seal the deal. The trade looked good at first as Watkins played in 29 of 32 possible games in his first two seasons, catching 125 passes for 2,029 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played hurt for much of his third, and final, season in Buffalo. Watkins appeared in just eight games while playing through a foot issue.
The Bills then traded Watkins to the Rams after his third season instead of signing him to a contract extension when his rookie deal expired. Watkins was an afterthought in the Los Angeles offense, catching just 39 passes for 593 yards and eight touchdowns despite his 15 games played being the second-most of his career. Watkins was on the move again following the 2017 season, this time heading to the Kansas City Chiefs on a three-year deal. Watkins again struggled with injuries in 2018, playing in just 10 games. Despite the abbreviated season, Watkins almost matched his production from the year prior, catching 40 passes for 519 yards and three scores. He also showed the best efficiency of his career, hauling in 72.7% of his targets. That came after topping a 60% target conversion rate just once in the previous four seasons.
Watkins was on his way to another offseason as a low-end WR3 in dynasty until the unsettling Tyreek Hill news broke in mid-March. Now, with the possibility that Hill may face either legal action, punishment from the league, or both, Watkins has seen his dynasty ADP on Fantasy Football Calculator raise several rounds. While no one knows what, if anything, will happen to Hill, just the possibility is causing Watkins to gain some dynasty value. If Hill were to miss extended time with the Chiefs, Watkins would be elevated to the WR1 role in one of the top offenses in the league. On the other hand, Hill may very well be cleared of any wrongdoing, leaving Watkins where he was last season.
Let’s say Tyreek Hill is suspended by the NFL for being involved in whatever happened with his child — and as of now, we don’t know anything and it’s important to stress that — the Chiefs would be low on weapons. If the Chiefs did the same thing they did to Kareem Hunt to Hill — and Hill isn’t going to get the benefit of the doubt from his prior issues — then the Chiefs are running out of weapons. They’ll still have Travis Kelce, but there isn’t much after that.
Hunt is gone and they have permanently replaced him with Damien Williams. Williams played well in the playoffs, but he’s come into some season with high expectations before — during his time in Miami — and he didn’t do much. No one knows if he can translate his playoff success to a 16 game schedule. Carlos Hyde’s best days are behind him. The receiving corps would have Sammy Watkins as their top threat. Watkins can never stay healthy and it may be time to accept that he’s never going to play up to his expectations many people had for him when he was drafted. Sammie Coates or DeMarcus Robinson would be the No. 2 wide receiver.
Sure, the Chiefs scheme is great and Mahomes does things that we’ve never seen from the quarterback position, but even the greatest quarterbacks struggle with no-name wide receivers. Tom Brady is the exception since he dragged a Patriots teams with Reche Caldwell as their best-receiving threat, but the next year they revamped the entire offense. Look at what happened with Aaron Rodgers last year when he didn’t have any receiving threats. Mahomes can fling the ball around the field all he wants, but if his receivers don’t get open, that could lead to some turnovers. Turnovers are bad things.
For all of our sake, hopefully, Hill is not involved with anything that could get him suspended or cut. We got a year of seeing what Mahomes could do with weapons. There’s no reason to raise the degree of difficulty.
As Mayock himself might say, let’s look at the tape … or, at the very least, his previous mock drafts and accompanying thoughts on previous Raiders picks.
Almost as infamously as he gave Raiders 2009 second-rounder Mike Mitchell a seventh-round grade and apologized to him for it later, Mayock also famously said he would have taken Khalil Mack first overall in 2014 (he fell to the Raiders at No. 5 after, in order, Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson, Blake Bortles and Sammy Watkins).
“You talk about a kid like Clowney, who’s just got superhuman abilities, versus this kid, and if I had a choice between the two, I think I’m taking Mack,” Mayock said at the time.