2017 Fantasy Football Instant Reaction: Trade sends Sammy Watkins to the Rams, but what about his draft stock?
A mid-summer blockbuster trade sends Sammy Watkins' Fantasy value south -- but it doesn't necessarily have to do with him.
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About the only good thing going for Watkins is that he's healthy. For now.
Maybe in time, Watkins will end up being an asset for the Rams. Obviously he's a heck of a talent and coach Sean McVay can play mad scientist with him in his offense. But there are simply too many "What If's" to treat Watkins as a top-20 Fantasy receiver.
It's unfair to point to Goff's 2016 numbers and assume he'll still stink. It's also impossible to believe he'll morph into a dynamic passer. The vibe from L.A. seems to be that Goff is inconsistent -- on one day he'll provide "a glimmer of hope," the next he's completing 10 of 22 for roughly 110 yards while trying to throw downfield more.
Fantasy owners simply can't accept the quarterback situation for Watkins as a lateral move, much less as an improvement.
The schedule is another issue. The Rams play their division rivals twice plus showdowns against the Giants, Redskins, Texans and Vikings. Not only will Watkins get an up-close look at Janoris Jenkins, Josh Norman, Xavier Rhodes, but he'll also see Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson multiple times. It's not like the Rams have another weapon in the passing game for defenses to even consider assigning a top cornerback to cover.
At least the surface won't be a problem. In 11 career games on grass, Watkins has posted a higher yards per catch average (18.1) and scored more touchdowns on a per-game basis (0.64) than in his 26 games on turf (15.4, 0.38). The Rams will play 12 of 16 games this season on a natural surface, and the weather won't be bad, either.
But changing teams in mid-August and digging into his third different playbook in less than eight months will be tricky. At the very least, McVay's West Coast scheme shouldn't be too far off from what he was being asked to perform in Buffalo, but terminology and other nuances are sure to be a process for him. Considering that learning a playbook was considered a weakness when he was a draft prospect, patience could be required to expect strong consistency from Watkins.
Though he gives the Rams a legit deep threat and clearly should become their No. 1 receiver, not to mention help keep defenses from ganging up on Todd Gurley, it just feels like a bad situation for Watkins, who has never finished better than a No. 15 Fantasy receiver.
Watkins has scored 10-plus Fantasy points just 15 times in 37 career games and has missed 11 matchups over the last two seasons. In L.A., there's simply too much risk to consider him anywhere close to a reliable Fantasy receiver.
Until we see proof of progress from Goff, and from the Rams offensive line, Watkins should get drafted as a high-end No. 3 receiver. Taking him in Round 5 would minimize a lot of the risks involved.
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