by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know how impressive last season’s rookie wide receiver class was, with Odell Beckham Jr. leading the way. Included in that group was the Bills’ Sammy Watkins, the fourth overall selection in 2014, who posted 65 receptions for 982 yards and 6 TD over his rookie season. So we’d expect growth and development in Year 2, right? Maybe watch him rise into borderline WR1 territory? Not so fast, as there are a slew of obstacles working against him.
New Coaching Staff/New Faces
While the Bills have always been more of a run first team, the addition of LeSean McCoy this offseason should help make that an even more dominant split. One of the elite running backs in the league, you know he’s going to be the centerpiece of the offense.
New coach Rex Ryan believes in a ground and pound approach, and he definitely has the talent on defense to help support it. As it is, here’s where the Jets’ offense ranked in rushing attempts during his time as head coach:
- 2009 – 1st
- 2010 – 2nd
- 2011 – 16th
- 2012 – 6th
- 2013 – 5th
- 2014 – 4th
This team is going to try and wear down opponents on the ground and shutting them down on defense. Why risk making a mistake through the air? As it is the team also added Charles Clay at tight end and Percy Harvin at wide receiver. With a limited number of opportunities to go around and a crowded group needing to get looks, Watkins may have a tough time replicating his 128 targets from a year ago.
Poor Quarterback Play
The Bills are primed to open the season with a combination of EJ Manuel and Matt Cassell under center. That hardly instills much confidence, simply by looking at the career completion percentage and yards/attempt from the two:
- Cassell – 59.0% // 6.64
- Manuel – 58.6% // 6.43
That’s poor, to say the least, and further helps to feed into the idea of focusing on LeSean McCoy and the rushing attack.
It’s easy to imagine fantasy owners buying into the hype of Watkins and ultimately overpaying to acquire him. That’s not to say that there isn’t upside potential, but there are significant factors working against him and his production.
He currently has an average ADP of 46.0 and is coming off the board as the 19th wide receiver. That’s not a terrible spot, but we simply can’t ignore the risk. He certainly shouldn’t go any higher than that and fantasy owners may want to look in a different direction.
As of right now Latavius Murray is going in the same area of the draft (average ADP of 49.0) and you can get a similar upside wide receiver in Keenan Allen (average ADP of 55.7) in the following round. That are gambles I’d rather take.
Sources – CBS Sports, Pro Football Reference, Fantasy Pros
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