Punch Drunk Wonderland

Is Sammy Watkins a Sell-High Candidate in Fantasy Football?

Sammy Watkins has been hot in the last several weeks. He’s shown rapport with quarterback Kyle Orton and he’s put up very nice numbers. Is now the time to sell high on Watkins or is the rookie worth riding out the rest of the season? Our friends at numberFire.com have taken a look.

Fresh off of his 9-catch, 122-yard, 2-touchdown performance against the Vikings on Sunday, Sammy Watkins is currently ranked as the 12th-best wide receiver in PPR leagues.

Is this the time for us to sell him high, or should we put on some Lorde and awkwardly dance in celebration at our newly anointed high-end WR2’s coming out party?

A Look At The Numbers

Through seven games, Watkins has been productive for fantasy owners, but also very inconsistent. He’s had three games with seven or more receptions and four games with four or fewer. He’s had three 85-plus yard games, and four games with now more than 31.

Still, he’s tied for 11th in targets (61), 14th in receptions (35), 20th in receiving yards (433), and tied for 10th in receiving touchdowns (4).

Our advanced metrics have him ranked favorably as well. Sammy is currently 11th overall in terms of Reception Net Expected Points (NEP), and 21st overall in terms of Reception NEP per target, putting him somewhere in that WR2 range for fantasy.

The New Bills Offense

Things seem to be looking up for Sammy as well. Since Kyle Orton has taken over as the starting quarterback for the Bills, Sammy has 18 catches, 236 yards, and 2 touchdowns. This was over a span of three games, including his abysmal two-catchperformance in Week 6 while getting shadowed by Darrelle Revis. Before that, over a span of four games with E.J. Manuel, Watkins had 17 catches, 197 yards, and 2 scores. It appears the changing of the guard has been beneficial to Sammy’s fantasy production.

Orton also seems to have been slightly more effective from a non-fantasy perspective. Among 34 passers with more than 100 drop backs this year, Manuel ranked 30th while Orton ranks 28th in terms of Passing NEP per attempt. While the difference here is pretty negligible, the only importance is each quarterback’s impact on Sammy – so let’s go back to that.

Orton is averaging 41 total passing attempts per game. Manuel averaged 33 attempts per game. That’s eight more passes per game that could go to Sammy’s hands. Under Orton so far, Sammy is indeed averaging two targets more per game.

In four games, Manuel turned 31 targets to Watkins into a 54.8% completion percentage and 6.4 yards per attempt. In three games, Orton turned 29 targets into a 62% completion percentage and 8.1 yards per attempt. The advanced metrics seem to back this up.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)



K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...