Receiver Sammy Watkins is known just as much for his injury history as he is for his Fantasy success. He's landed 10-plus Fantasy points in 15 of 37 career games, but has missed 11 matchups over the last two seasons. Instead of playing in Buffalo with a quarterback he's developed chemistry with, Watkins was traded to the Rams in mid-August. It's there he'll now catch passes from unproven second-year passer Jared Goff. He'll also learn the terminology for his third different offense in less than a year. He'll also move from the challenging AFC East to the downright dangerous NFC West, where he'll see cornerbacks like Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman twice a year each. But at the very least, he's healthy, and he's still playing for a new contract after his fifth-year option wasn't picked up. Fantasy owners must decide if the reward that Watkins can provide is worth the risk of a top-40 pick, because that's where he's going to go so long as he stays on the field. While we'd prefer to settle for him in Round 5, expect him to get picked between Rounds 3 and 4 in your leagues.
Watkins caught two of four targets for eight yards in Saturday's preseason game against the Raiders. Cooper Kupp stole the show with a 6-70-1 receiving line, but Watkins was the only other player to draw more than two targets from Jared Goff. The former Bill nearly had touchdown in the second quarter when Goff slipped a perfect pass into tight coverage in the front corner of the end zone from 28 yards out. The ball went right through Watkins' hands, though Raiders CB Sean Smith may have gotten a piece of it. Either way, it was an encouraging performance for pretty much anyone involved with the Los Angeles offense.
Rams coach Sean McVay expects Watkins to play in Saturday's preseason game in Oakland, ESPN.com's Alden Gonzalez reports. Watkins joined the Rams one day before their exhibition opener and unsurprisingly was held out of action. He should get his first chance to play with Jared Goff in a game this weekend, though the duo figures to get its longest look together in the third week of the preseason. Goff looked sharp in the opener, and his continued progress will be crucial for Watkins' bid to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2016 campaign.
Watkins and a 2018 sixth-round pick have been traded from the Bills to the Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick, Mark Bodenrader of the Rams' official site reports. Watkins' move to Los Angeles comes while he's in the final year of his rookie contract, and after Buffalo declined to pick up his fifth-year option. Drafted fourth overall in 2014, Watkins has been wildly productive when on the field, but a lingering foot injury has raised concern over his durability. The 24-year-old played just eight games last season, finishing with 28 catches for 430 yards and a couple scores. Given his upside, however, the Rams are understandably willing to take him aboard this season, when their top receivers previously projected to be Tavon Austin, Robert Woods and rookie Cooper Kupp. In Watkins, who is now fully healthy, new coach Sean McVay gets a proven No. 1 wideout for his offense, but the wideout will need to familiarize himself with quarterback Jared Goff in short order prior to the regular season.
Watkins caught four of five passes for 39 yards during Thursday's preseason opener against the Vikings. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked Watkins' way early and often Thursday, and it was encouraging to see the duo clicking in game action. Following a lengthy recovery from a foot injury that cost him eight games in 2016, Watkins appears on track to enter the season as the Bills' No. 1 wide receiver. While the health concerns surrounding Watkins' fantasy stock are warranted, his tremendous upside shouldn't be ignored, either.
Coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday he expects Watkins to play about a quarter during Thursday's preseason opener against the Vikings, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. It's been mostly good news for Watkins in his long recovery from an injured foot. While the Bills have been managing him with caution, there have been no major setbacks and him playing in the first preseason game is a great sign. At this point, everyone's eyeing a full workload come Week 1.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/22||@San Francisco 49ers||26||24.25|
|9||11/05||@New York Giants||12||21.29|
|12||11/26||New Orleans Saints||28||24.75|
|17||12/31||San Francisco 49ers||26||24.25|
|3 Year Avg||92||51||820||6||36||16.08||118|