Why i think Sammy Watkins is way undervalued

:EDIT: i posted this, and just realized how long this is. holy crap. my bad haha. but if you read it all, let me know what you think!

so as the title suggests, i have an idea in my head. Sammy Watkins is undervalued by the fantasy football community. almost to the point where it is criminal! i have brought it up in multiple conversations with multiple people on this site, and off. and i know, im a Kansas City Chiefs fan so im a little biased… but am i really on this? i try my best to stay unbiased in my opinions because it leads to bad choices in FFB. but i keep on coming back to this. so im going to lay it down for you all, and i want to hear what you guys think. alright, lets dive in!

as of right now, Watkins ADP (according to HPPR 12 man ADP which is what i will base all of this off of as its the most consistent point wise between full PPR and standard) he is going in the 6th round. which means he is going around players like corey davis, michael crabtree, julian edelman, and the worst of all to me is… chris hogan is going before him. chris hogan? really?! not only did he have more receptions, yards, and TDs than hogan ever has had in a single year, Watkins did it with jared goff, and not getting an offseason to work on chemistry. and it was watkins worst year! with a QB that had almost 100 less attempts than the average QB did last year, and missed Watkins quite a few times. this is the same team that made sure to give gurley the ball as often as they could, because he was their offense. he was their best RB, AND best WR. that should tell you that his low numbers were not because he couldnt put up bigger numbers.

lets look at his time in buffalo. he had Tyrod Taylor throwing to him. the only guy that makes Alex smith look like a bad boy when it comes to how safe he is. he throws so little its insane as well. and yet during his time there, he put up good numbers. not great, but good. im not going to spend too much time on this, but the only thing that held him back was a foot injury. one that didnt get fixed right the first time so he had to go back for it. then it got fixed correctly. shouldnt be a problem, he went a full season no issue. so for those that are worried about reinjury, i wouldnt be.

so, of the QBs that he has had throw to him, its been safe and low attempts. no one is really going to thrive in that kind of situation. so what does he have now? a rocket arm of a QB who is set to set the world on fire with the weapons around him. but its right there, thats where people get stuck. the first argument i get isnt oh injuries, or oh low productivity last year, its whats around him. “tyreek hill is the 1! kelce is the second look! watkins falls to 3rd look!” and its there there i just dont get it. how no one else can see this. they aid sammy watkins. let me say that again… they PAID Sammy Watkins. they paid him as a top 5 WR, to the tune of only AB, Hopkins, and mike evans were the only ones paid more than him at the time. those are all guys you expect to be the WR1 on their team. there is no questioning that. so why would they pay him that way, to be 3rd fiddle? maybe watkins doesnt put up 100 catches for 1500 yards and 15 TDs or something insane like that. that money doesnt say he has to do that. what it says is, THIS is our WR1. not tyreek the freak, Watkins.

so now that i have voiced my opinion of that, so whats a reasonable expectation for watkins? well, thats kind of simple with a twist of not so much. he averages 16 yards a catch for his career. lets knock him down a yard just cause. i think he gets around 80 receptions as their WR1. tyreek will probably go back to around where he was when he was the 2, so probably 60ish to 70 receptions. still plenty for him to be valuable. but that puts watkins at 1200 yards. my guess, around 8 TDs as well. hard to say, so im just going to go with what he got with what he had when he had half of the receptions i have him pegged for this year. that puts him at 248 points last year (in PPR cause i couldnt find a points table quickly that was HPPR so i got lazy here) which would make him WR8 last year. im not going to lie, i know. that sounds high to me too. but i expect a lot of passing from the chiefs. and i expect the WR1 to get the lions share. and going off of his career numbers, and pegging him as the WR1 on that team, thats what gets spit out. if im honest, i dont expect those points. i think the balance of the offense should bring that number down. but i still have him pegged as WR14 for 2018. which is what tyreek the freak is sitting at ADP wise, and only 14 spots away from where watkins is getting drafted. and thats why i think its criminal. but, ill take my value and run with it.

if you read the whole thing, i appreciate it! i know its far too long but i do tend to ramble. let me know what you think! any metric that im missing? point you think needs to be made? let me know! cause i do feel kind of crazy with what i think, since it seems like no one else thinks the same thing. also, i didnt spell check any of this so if something doesnt make sense, thats my bad. my editor quit. :smirk:


I been going back and forth b/w Davis and Watkins for a few weeks now. Love both their ADPs. We were on this stuff as well, outside the metrics in full detail. WELL DONE! After reading this manifesto, we agree that Watkins is HIGHWAY ROBBERY where he is being selected at. And we believe it’s b/c the people are 3 way split on Mahomes. 33/33/33. BOOM/AVG/BUST. We are all in on that dude, give us BOOM. And the Watkins addition will defs help that case. Shiiiiit, if Alex Smith can get it done in that system, sky’s the limit for Mahomes. Wondering what the footballers’ take on this one is.

I love watkins as well from a talent perspective but may need to adjust your numbers a bit. All stats are from the below:


Watkins has actually averaged about 15 YPR with the exception of the one year where he averaged 17.5 and hit 1K yards so his numbers are supported by that good year. But can see rationale behind using the 16 ypc still given career avg is 15.8. I think being conservative would be to assume it’s going to drop lower than that given all this talk about how chiefs are going to be using him out of a number of different spots instead of just having him line up and run deep which is what other teams have done. Although IMO, this actually isn’t a knock on Watkins, it’s actually better because it will help him benefit in terms of other targets and probably increase his catch rate which i touch on below.

Watkins has a career catch rate of about 55%. So if we hold that flat, to reach your 80 catches, he would need to see about 142 targets. That is an insane amount of targets that need to go his way. Let’s say we improve his catch rate due to what I said above to 60%. He would still need to see 133 targets but then you would need to assume some drop in his YPC. Let’s say he falls to 13 YPC, than he’s basically a 1K receiver which is still great but not near what you said above. Kelce over the past 2 years has seen about 120 targets on average. He’s not going anywhere and young QBs love relying on TEs as their safety blanket over the middle. Hill gets about 100 targets and he has a catch rate of about 70% so that gets to the 70 receptions you said above. Between west and hunt last year, they got about 100 targets. So just between those players there you’re talking about 462 targets not even accounting for the other players on the team. Last year, after accounting for RBs/Kelce/Hill, there were another 185 targets to rest of the team. Let’s assume that number decreases obviously to 120, and you’re basically looking at 580+ attempts. Last year, despite the narrative, Smith was one of the most efficient and best deep passers in the league throwing the rock for 500+ times. The only time in the last 5 years the chiefs threw for 500 times in the last 5 years.

Not saying it’s not possible, just saying the math makes it challenging for me to believe they will put the ball in Mahomes hands that many times when they do have a stud RB already with a backup who’s also not bad himself.

I myself am big on Watkins at his value, I just have his ceiling much lower than you. With regards to TD upside, although it may be there, I feel like last year he got a tonne cause he was basically the best option after Gurley. Where as now in KC, we see how much they like to use Hunt on the goaline/redzone and also have Kelce so will have to fight for the touches there. Totally agree Hill poses no threat to him there.

You have ceiling lower than us b/c you believe Mahomes will be avg???

Sorry not sure where you pulled average out of there. I’m just looking at tossing the rock for over 580 times. There are very few QBs that do that and just find a hard time believing that Mahomes will be doing that in his first year. I like Mahomes, believe in the talent for sure. Just don’t think he reaches that milestone immedietely. I mean aaron rodgers has only exceeded 580 passing attempts once in his entire career.

Rivers is someone who has hovered around that 580 figure for the past few years. Big Ben is less in one of the more potent passing offenses.

Like I said, I could definitely be wrong and don’t think it’s impossible by any means. Just not actually forecasting that as my baseline.

Either way I still agree watkins is undervalued at his current ADP.

1 Like

while i do agree with a vast majority of this, i do think his catch rate jumps up. he hasnt had great QB play to work with. im not a big fan of goff, and im fairly high on mahomes. this could easily be my biased brain working against me because in my lifetime i have never seen us draft a QB in the 1st, or seen a QB with as much raw talent as he has. i also have seen a lot from him at camp that makes me optimistic as hell for what he can do. a vast majority of this comes from the perspective of he is the WR1 for that team. so someone has to suffer. and honestly, i think its tyreek and kelce that suffer for him to succeed. i dont voice that too much cause, well people think im crazy for it. so part of this is also the unsaid. a lot of passing attempts, and less targets to kelce and tyreek.

and i do admit that my initial numbers are too high. WR8 seems like a good ceiling for him if everything goes right. maybe higher than that if mahomes ends up being the real deal from day 1. but WR14 seems fair for a guy who just needs a good amount of targets. i dont expect watkins to hit insane catch percentages like AB with his crazy 68% he has had the last 5 years. but im thinking more in the 62% range. and at 130 targets, that does put him at 80 catches. i know im too high on him in the world of probability. but the main point i have, i also know ADP is way too low on him.

100% agree on the poor QB play in terms of Tyrod taylor. And 100% agree on catch rate going up given the news of Chiefs moving him around in the formation so hitting him on easier targets (i.e. slants, curls, digs) vs his traditional 9 or post routes. The flip side of that as I said is you have to then adjust down his YPC pretty significantly as well to get to the 80 catch range. And 130 targets, is still a tonne of targets for that offense. Attainable, but still lots of risk built in there.

I can definitely see him eating into some of Tyreek’s targets because they have a very similar deep threat skill set. So some of those long bombs may be going his way instead of Hill. The only counter for that is I would say that other NFL teams would probably agree with you that Watkins is a much superior talent. As a result, he will be drawing the top coverage from CBs instead of Hill which actually may result in hill getting better looks. And if Mahomes is as talented as we all think and hope, he should be able to connect with the open guy vs forcing it into coverage.

The last thing I would say is this. I too was one who thought Watkins lack of production last year was entirely due to Goff not being a capable deep passer. But after having gone through some research of others (including Harmon and Waldman) who i respect + analyzing some more film on my end, I realized that although he was definitely held back some by Tyrod, the narrative of him being wide open and Goff not being a capable passer may be a bit overblown. Quote from Harmon on RP below:

“However, the narrative that Watkins was just constantly running free from defenses and Jared Goff just passed him up is a false construction. Watkins fell below the 40th percentile in success rate vs. man, zone and press coverage. Again, it’s worth noting that the context of his late arrival to the team and his high-degree of difficulty assignment but one would have thought a healthy Watkins would perform better”

Definitely think him arriving late to the rams played a big part in that as well but end of the day, as much as I love Watkins, I think some of the onus still falls on him to create separation from press and finding holes in the zone. And Matt Waldman who has some videos on Goff has actually made me see some of Goffs ability as a deep passer as well so I don’t think the gap between Mahomes and Goff is as wide as I myself had previously thought.

Either way, I’m in agreement that at his current ADP, I’ll take all the Watkins I can get. And definitely see upside like you do, maybe just not to the same degree or at least, with much more risk to attainment.

1 Like

It’s a weird situation. Because the counter to most of what you said, is basically saying something similar to what you said. In all honesty, it’s the defense that they will face that will have to dictate what happens. Because there is so much speed and explosiveness on this offense it’s like, ok make sure hill is covered so we dont get beat over the top. Ok now watkins is going over the top. Let’s cover both of them hard. Well shit, now kelce is wide open in the middle. Ok let’s play a deeper zone to cover all 3, well shit now hunt has a box that’s in his favor. This team is hard to predict because they are good to excellent on so many levels of talent with the skill positions. So everything you are saying I’m saying to myself, yeah I can see that. And then I’ll think of my point and say yeah, I can see that too. So basically we agree, he is undervalued. But how undervalued is hard to determine because there are far too many angles to think of and try to predict.

I can see that how it goes both ways. KC offense can definitely kill you a thousand different ways if Mahomes lives up to the hype.