Part of performing well in the first game of the NFL season is seeing fantasy football players raise an eyebrow. However, we’ve seen this show in Week 1 before. After catching seven of nine targets en route to a Kansas City Chiefs 34-20 win on Thursday Night Football, we have to ask, Can Sammy Watkins’ fantasy football potential be realized this year?
Sammy Watkins’ Week 1 Triumph
In Week 1 of the 2019 season, Watkins caught nine passes and turned that into 198 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 1 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfortunately, this performance would account for 17% of his catches and 29% of his end of year yardage total. With that in mind, people might think this is a customary season debut with not much else to be expected.
After all, 82 yards and a touchdown is a solid start, but certainly, things will return to the norm with Watkins being phased out, right? Not so fast. Looking back to the playoffs last year, Watkins may be on steady ground to continue fantasy success.
Watkins was terrific in the 2019 playoffs
Against the Houston Texans, Watkins caught both of his two targets for 76 yards and logged one carry for 14 yards. A good day on what was a tremendous comeback by the Chiefs. While he wasn’t peppered with targets, both of Watkins’ catches helped set up scoring drives with his 48-yard catch to help Kansas City get into Texans territory to create a double-digit lead after Damien Williams plunged into the end zone.
Against the Tennessee Titans, who were looking like a team of destiny, Watkins was firmly in his bag catching seven of 10 targets for 114 yards and a score. The Titans secondary had no answer for the speed of Tyreek Hill and Watkins. In the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs looking to put the game out of reach, Andy Reid dialed up a drive that saw Watkins targeted three times with the final look going deep down the middle for a 60-yard touchdown.
In the Super Bowl, we saw Watkins targeted six times, which he turned into five catches for 98 yards. Watkins was targeted across four offensive drives, with his longest of the day going for 38 yards. The big play put the Chiefs at the San Francisco 49ers 10-yard line where they would take the lead three plays later and never look back.
Sammy Watkins 2020 fantasy outlook
Now we see that efficiency has been a hallmark in Watkins production as of late. It’s also important to note that he led the Chiefs in targets, receptions, and receiving yards in Week 1 while not seeing outrageous numbers that would point to strictly broken plays.
Kansas City will see a much better defensive secondary next week against the Los Angeles Chargers. Still, his ability to take the top off a defense alongside Hill means he’s the type of flex consideration that is always one play away from rewarding your decision.
Watkins may not find himself in WR2 discussions, yet some encouraging performances through the next two weeks could see him start to creep into weekly flex talk. Watkins is obviously in the best situation to see a weekly dose of targets and game designs to keep him involved; it’s just all about maintaining his efficiency on a week-to-week basis.
With Patrick Mahomes under center, there is no better supporting cast to draw attention away from a team’s WR2, and with so many other moving parts to be aware of, Watkins in his third year with the Chiefs could carry weekly fantasy value.