Justin Watson is still a deep Dynasty stash, but not someone you should target in a standard redraft league. Watson will battle Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson for the No. 3 receiver role in the Tampa Bay offense. If he wins that job he may be just one injury away from a serious target opportunity. He saw that opportunity in 2019 and caught 14 of 24 targets for 146 yards in his final four games.
Watson, who is expected to push for a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver job following the offseason departure of Breshad Perriman, will face competition from 2020 fifth-round pick Tyler Johnson. Watson and Johnson seemingly share many of the same traits, namely reliable hands and routes, as well as an impressive college history of red-zone success. Watson, a fifth-round selection himself back in 2018 who racked up 31 touchdown grabs over his last three seasons at Penn, began to make some strides on offense at the tail end of last season after spending his rookie campaign almost exclusively on special teams. The 25-year-old saw expanded opportunity due to the hamstring injuries that cut short the seasons of both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, turning in a pair of five-catch, one-touchdown efforts over the last four games. However, Johnson is believed to have talent befitting a notably higher draft selection, and the fact he led Power 5 schools in red-zone catches, red-zone receiving yards and red-zone touchdowns over the last four seasons project to make him a formidable rival to Watson in the competition to slot in behind Evans and Godwin on the depth chart.
Watson, who secured two of four targets for 27 yards in the Buccaneers' 28-22 overtime loss to the Falcons in Week 17, finished the 2019 season with 15 receptions (26 targets) for 149 yards and three additional yards on punt returns over 16 games. While those season numbers were decidedly modest, they represented career highs for Watson, who'd logged just a single reception over 12 games during his 2018 rookie campaign However, Watson wasn't really primed for a big boost in role until Mike Evans went down with a season-ending hamstring injury in Week 14 against the Colts, as he'd logged no more than 11 snaps from scrimmage in any game prior. The second-year wideout went on to gain some valuable experience over the final four contests of the season, a span that also saw Chris Godwin go down with a hamstring issue of his own and miss the last two-plus contests. Given that he turned in a solid performance relative to opportunity, Watson should be ready to make a push for a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver role next summer, particularly if Breshad Perriman, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent, isn't brought back.
Watson caught five of 10 targets for 43 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 23-20 loss to the Texans. Watson stepped into the No. 2 receiver role behind Breshad Perriman with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin sidelined by hamstring injuries. He scored from eight yards out late in the first half, giving him two touchdowns in his last three games. Watson will be an appealing option in deeper formats if both Evans and Godwin remain out against the Falcons in Week 17.
Watson is expected to serve as a starting receiver for Saturday's game against the Texans, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Watson has caught seven passes for 86 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets over the past two games while handling near-identical 55 and 56 percent offensive snap shares in wins of the Colts and Lions, respectively. Expect his workload to take a more notable jump in Week 16, as the Buccaneers will be missing Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Scott Miller to hamstring injuries, with the latter two receivers getting shut down for the season. After a big performance in Detroit (five catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns on six targets), Breshad Perriman profiles as the clear No. 1 receiver, but Watson should comfortably slot ahead of fellow wideouts Ishmael Hyman, Cyril Grayson and Spencer Schnell, all of whom resided on the Buccaneers' or another team's practice squad as recently as two weeks ago. Along with Perriman and Watson, tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate should see expanded roles in the Buccaneers' passing attack Saturday while its top two targets are out of commission.
Watson brought in both of his targets for 17 yards in the Buccaneers' 38-17 win over the Lions on Sunday. Watson was slated to see extra work with Mike Evans (hamstring) out of action, and the potential for an even bigger spike in workload was there when both Chris Godwin and Scott Miller also exited the contest due to the same issue. However, Watson still saw a disappointingly low target share. That could be poised to change Week 16 against the Texans, however, when the second-year wideout may be primed for volume akin to the eight looks he logged against the Colts in Week 14 as a result of the potential absences of Evans, Godwin and Miller versus Houston.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||@New Orleans Saints||27||24.71|
|4||10/04||Los Angeles Chargers||3||16.13|
|6||10/18||Green Bay Packers||12||19.22|
|7||10/26||@Las Vegas Raiders||22||22.63|
|8||11/03||@New York Giants||29||26.00|
|9||11/09||New Orleans Saints||27||24.71|
|11||11/24||Los Angeles Rams||14||19.63|
|12||11/29||Kansas City Chiefs||4||16.68|
|3 Year Avg||14||8||82||1||5||10.25||14|