by Ray Kuhn
It’s all about the upside.. While he is entering his fifth season in the NFL, and first in Kansas City, there is a lot of positive speculation surrounding Sammy Watkins entering the 2018 season. As you’d expect that is impacting his draft position.
Considering we are dealing with an established player it seems odd to say at least a portion of Watkins’ ADP of 65 in the NFFC is based on speculation, but how else can you explain it given his career path? Watkins didn’t waste any time acclimating to the NFL in his first two years as a professional:
- Year 1 – 65 receptions for 982 yards
- Year 2 – 60 receptions and 1,047 yards
Injuries, a messy situation in Buffalo and then a less than perfect fit in Los Angeles followed as Watkins combined for 67 receptions and 1,123 yards over his last two seasons. While he did catch eight touchdowns in 2017, which was highly efficient, Watkins didn’t return consistent fantasy value.
This season he now calls Kansas City home thanks to the lucrative free agent contract he signed this off-season. So how will that impact his value for 2018 and what are the chances that he lives up to his current ADP?
Previously, including last season, Watkins lined up exclusively split within the traditional “X” receiver role, and that played a part in limiting his upside. There were only so many routes that he could run, and in a lot of situation, he was either faced with double coverage or had to deal with the opposing team’s best corner back.
That is where things are expected to change in 2018. He will be part of an Andy Reid offense, so there is upside from that perspective, and Watkins will be surrounded by a ton of offensive talent. While Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are also competing for targets, there should be plenty of production to go around as the defense’s focus will be spread out. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, Reid and the Chiefs plan to move Watkins around the formation. That, especially when Watkins lines up in the slot, will increase the possibilities for his production.
We then need to check in on how Watkins is adjusting to his new team, his new role and his new quarterback. There are a lot of expectations surrounding Pat Mahomes entering this season as he has just one NFL start under his belt, but the talent and the arm certainly are there.
While it is the off-season, and it is the Chiefs’ website, B.J. Kissel is reporting all positive things about Watkins and his acclimation to Kansas City. The chemistry appears to be strong with Mahomes and Watkins doesn’t appear to have any issues in picking up the offense.
It isn’t plausible for Watkins to repeat his reception to touchdown ratio from last season, but he should get back to the performance levels we became accustomed to in his first two seasons. Granted we are putting a lot of pressure on Mahomes, but the infrastructure surrounding Watkins does appear to support his current ADP.
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings: