Sammy Watkins closed the 2015 season playing like a superstar receiver for the Bills, but offseason foot surgery could prevent him from building on that success this year. He had surgery to repair a small bone in his foot that included having a screw inserted, and we're not sure of the timetable for his return. Last year, Dez Bryant and Julian Edelman had similar procedures, and both receivers required a second surgery in the offseason. We hope Watkins doesn't suffer a similar fate and that he's ready for training camp or at least Week 1, but his health will be one of the bigger stories to monitor in Buffalo all summer. When healthy, Watkins has the potential to be a No. 1 Fantasy receiver in all leagues. Watkins finished 2015 with 60 catches for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns on 96 targets, and the majority of his production came in the final nine games of the season. He finished the year with at least six targets in eight of his final nine outings, and he had double digits in Fantasy points in six of those games, with five 100-yard performances and seven touchdowns over that span. If you project his stats from those nine games -- 49 catches, 900 yards and seven touchdowns -- over the season, Watkins would have finished with 87 catches, 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns. He developed a solid rapport with Tyrod Taylor, and we hope he's healthy for training camp. If that's the case, Watkins should be drafted in Round 3. But if he misses the start of camp or looks like he could be sidelined to open then the season then his value will suffer, and if that is the case we would recommend drafting him in Round 4 or 5.
Watkins (foot) was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list for the start of the Bills' training camp, Mike Rodak of ESPN reports. Watkins underwent surgery on his foot in May and isn't quite recovered enough to participate in practice. It appears the team is trying to ease him into camp, allowing the third year wide out to workout and run drills on the side of practice before they allow him back into the flow of things a little later on in camp. He'll again enter the season as unquestionably the Bills' top receiver, looking to improve on his 1,047 yard, nine touchdown performance in 2015.
Watkins says his surgically repaired foot is ready for anything. He's doing full workouts with little in the way of limitations, but still says he needs to gain confidence with his speed cuts, especially when cutting left and putting torque on the repaired left foot. "That's something I'm not comfortable with," said the third-year receiver. "I can do any other route except that route. I'm just kind of tense about it. My foot is tense about it." Even though the Bills are one of the most run-oriented teams in the league, the passing game goes through Watkins and there was a stretch last season where he within earshot of the Antonio Browns of the league. He hasn't proved he can stay healthy enough or avoid periods of inconsistency where he's a cream-of-the-crop fantasy guy, but he's not that far off either. It'll be worth watching to see how quickly the staff incorporates him into training camp practices, but so far, so good in the recovery and we wouldn't knock him down too much from where he stood pre-injury.
While Watkins (foot) says he's "feeling great," he's still unsure as to when he'll be able to return to the practice field, ESPN's Mike Rodak reports. "I don't know how much I'm gonna be doing or when I'm gonna be on the field, but I'm definitely going to be active and engaged," Watkins said Tuesday. "I don't know what the schedule is like with me being on the field competing-wise, but I'm right where I need to be at -- feeling good, healthy. Nothing is bothering me. Just really prepare for whatever they do." No one around the team expected Watkins to come in at 100 percent when camp opens up in a couple of weeks. He'll be such a high pick in leagues, his status should be monitored regularly during the end of the summer so you know if the high-upside (yet injury prone) third-year wideout is full-go for Week 1. With the Bills running back situation all of a sudden being a question mark, you can bet the team would love to see much of the offense flow through Watkins and Tyrod Taylor.
Watkins (foot) began running on Friday after undergoing foot surgery in May, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports. Watkins posted the video of himself sprinting down the field at the Bills' practice facility to his Instagram accompanied by the caption "back on top soon". The Bills have been wavering this offseason about whether or not their star wideout will be ready in time for Week 1, but the fact that he has already started running is a positive sign that Watkins will be back sooner rather than later.
Watkins expects to be ready for the start of training camp July 30, TSN.ca reports. "For training camp, I think I'll definitely be available," Watkins said. "I might sit out two or three days. It's all about how I feel within those days. The goal is to come back and be prepared for training camp." Watkins had surgery in April to address stress fractures in his left foot, with most reports suggesting he had a Jones fracture, which is a common injury that typically sidelines players for 8-12 weeks. The timetable puts him on track for training camp, and he's no longer wearing a walking boot or limping. Still, Watkins made it clear he'll take a cautious approach, even conceding that he'll need to test his foot out when the Bills open camp. Given the high rate of re-injury with foot fractures, the team may opt to be even more cautious than Watkins wants.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||New York Jets||19||22.75|
|4||10/02||@New England Patriots||22||23.78|
|5||10/09||@Los Angeles Rams||6||18.50|
|6||10/16||San Francisco 49ers||18||22.38|
|8||10/30||New England Patriots||22||23.78|
|17||01/01||@New York Jets||19||22.75|
|3 Year Avg||112||62||1014||8||44||16.35||149|