The Wrong Read – Episode 20: Is it Finally Time to Give Up on Sammy Watkins?

Welcome to the 20th installment of the “The Wrong Read,” an article series that reflects on recent podcast episodes, pushing the ideas discussed on the podcasts to their logical conclusions and offering some further thoughts on the topics broached by the guests and hosts. Prospect season is quickly approaching. Here’s an article about why you should be paying special attention to rookie running backs if you plan on employing a Zero-RB strategy. Sammy Watkins entered the NFL as one of the most promising young wide receivers in recent memory. His combination of athleticism and production at a young age to go along with elite draft pedigree is not often seen among NFL prospects. Indeed, a look at his closest comparables as a prospect pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

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By Blair Andrews | @AmItheRealBlair | Archive

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  1. bmoff says:

    Great article. I've eyed him, and tried to trade for him, multiple times in the past with no success due to the potential and brand value attributed to him. Would love to have him on my roster in 2018 (although more as a flex player than a wr starter), assuming it's about a 50/50 chance he lands on a decent offense. But even if his owner is tired of him, I don't think I could convince him to give him up for what his true value is.

  2. @hba24 @bmoff this was absolutely fascinating, another great addition to one of my weekly 'must-reads'. I'm a big fan of Sammy and read this with depression. He was traded twice in my redraft 3 keeper league this year. I ended up with him (traded away Rishard Matthews for him) and rolled him out from week 9 onwards (aside from the final consolation weeks once I was out of the playoffs).

    I ended up doing ok out of him because of his high TD percentage and solid redzone usage. But his previous owner got royally screwed from weeks 4 until the Rams bye in week 8! The usage overall and lack of targets has to be a concern. I read a really interesting piece, I think by Mike Tanier on Bleacher Report, who mentioned that the Rams preferred to use Woods to Sammy as they felt he was a vastly superior blocker and more of a selfless teammate.

    This doesn't impact fantasy per se, but an interesting point to note when assessing Sammy for 2018. I agree with Blair that he's going too early by ADP compared to similar players. I also found that people in my league were more than prepared to consider trading him. I actually think he's lost brand value (in my league at least), due to the inconsistency, injury history, etc.

    The likely result is I'll be looking to pick him up later than his ADP would indicate in next year's draft. That deep threat speed really reminds me of early DeSean Jackson, plus he's a big guy with good hands.

    Just my two cents and really interested to hear the thought of other Rotoviz staff and or readers.

  3. I think Sammy can explode in 2019. A team will pay him to come in and be an alpha and he will finally get his 130+ target season. I say 2019 because I have a hard time believing the Rams would give up a 2nd round pick and then let him walk. They have the money to tag him so I think they do. He apparently began to buy into his role towards the end of the season because the team was winning. However, after the season he said he would like to come back but “understands it is a business.” I personally think he wants out so he can get paid and get the damn ball, but the Rams hold the power this year.

    I traded for him a couple of weeks ago because if he does hit free agency, I think his already high price tag will be even higher. Maybe I will flip him after training camp and the narrative of him finally having an offseason with the Rams has built up. I’d only do this if I could get about 1.02 value back though - because I think 2019 is his year. The Rams offense will be potent again, but no one receiver has the ability to finish top 5 simply due to the nature of how it operates.

    Man, I hope Aaron Donald can somehow figure out how to force the Rams to extend him now so they can’t afford to tag Sammy!

  4. Just out of curiosity, what did you give up to trade for him?

  5. @bmoff Thanks. Can't hurt to send out feelers. But I know what you mean. Especially if the current owner drafted him as a rookie (as I did in one dynasty league) it will probably be hard to get him without overpaying.

    @Will Thanks. DeSean Jackson has certainly been a useful fantasy player in the past--four seasons with over 200 PPR points (including two over 250) and another two with over 180. So if you're thinking Watkins could return DJax-like value, that's not half bad. But Torrey Smith is also in his range of outcomes. At this point it's looking like DJax might be the best case scenario--which is disappointing as someone who loved Watkins as a prospect.

    @ClubSpinSack That's an interesting take--I can see it happening. So far he's been linked to the 49ers in 2018. Maybe Shanahan can get the most out of him, but if he does go there it seems like he'd mostly eat into Goodwin's work. Garcon is still probably the target hog. If Watkins can go somewhere where he can turn into a target hog, that would be what we're all hoping for, and probably what needs to happen for him to explode. Where is that though? And can he even make that sort of transformation from what we've seen so far?

    I don't hate that trade BTW--from a value standpoint you basically got three firsts for OBJ, which is probably more than I would have been willing to pay to get him.

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