With redraft fantasy football seasons coming to an end, some managers and leagues pivot to a condensed version encompassing the NFL playoffs. Yet, that brings its own unique challenges and changes from what we are used to these last 18 weeks. Others are focused on daily fantasy sports (DFS) tournaments. How should managers handle DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins in 2022 playoff fantasy football leagues and DFS?
How is playoff fantasy different from traditional fantasy leagues?
The major difference is the drastically reduced player pool. Additionally, there is no guarantee your players will be on your team for more than one game. In a season full of ups and downs and outcomes we never saw coming, who knows what the playoffs might bring along with it.
While the drafting process will remain the same, once a team is eliminated, those players are off your team, forcing managers to balance upside in terms of talent with stability with the likelihood of multiple games. Now, this is just one of the multiple iterations on how playoff fantasy football can be played. Using this as our format, let’s look at the Philadelphia Eagles and how managers should handle DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins in 2022 playoff fantasy football leagues, with an eye also toward their DFS values.
DeVonta Smith has shown flashes but is a risky fantasy and DFS option
There is no denying Smith is a special talent. His route running is polished, creates separation, and has phenomenal hands. The downside is Smith is on a team with an inconsistent passing attack. Not only that, but Philly has turned into a run-first team, further hurting his upside.
Since Week 8, the Eagles have run the ball on 61% of their offensive plays. For context, the league average is 43%. That’s a substantial difference.
When looking at receivers, no matter the talent, a reduction in opportunities is massive. Smith does lead the Eagles in target share (23.31%), and his 39.2% share of the air yards is the 10th-highest in the NFL. Yet, he has averaged less than 11 PPR points a game. He’s finished as a WR2 or better just five times all season and only once since Week 10.
The Eagles are likely a one-and-done team in the playoffs, having scrapped in with a 9-8 record. Smith might help you a bit in the Wild Card round. But beyond that, he does not carry the value of other wide receivers. If you drafted someone like Davante Adams, who is on a bye for the opening week, Smith could be treated as a one-week fill-in but likely nothing more.
Quez Watkins could bring some upside in deeper fantasy formats and as a DFS flyer
If you are looking for more of a home-run play, Quez Watkins might fit the bill. A rookie last season who didn’t see the field too often, he has become the Eagles’ No. 2 option. More importantly, he is one of the top targets when they need a splash play. Week 18 was a perfect example — he averaged 16.8 yards per reception on his 5 catches for 84 yards with a touchdown.
The issue will be consistency, as deeper targets are inherently lower percentage plays. But assuming the Eagles are trailing, they will go for broke and use Jalen Hurts’ arm to make a splash play happen with their season on the line. He is not a player I would feel completely comfortable starting. Nevertheless, if you are in a league with 10+ managers, I could make a case for Watkins as a dart throw with some splash upside.
Jalen Reagor has been a disappointment, both in the NFL and fantasy
I will admit I missed this one. I was high on Jalen Reagor coming into the NFL. Even last season, I could use the excuse that Reagor was not being used properly. They tried to use Reagor as a perimeter “X” — that is not his skill set. Then, they drafted Smith to give him a legitimate duo. Yet, nothing has changed.
Playing in all 17 games, Reagor has just 33 receptions on 57 targets for 299 yards and a touchdown. He sees the majority of his snaps (95% to 65%) on special teams, utilizing his return skills honed at TCU. Even in a format like NFL playoff fantasy football with only 14 teams, I still can’t come up with a good reason to draft Reagor, let alone with any aspirations of starting him.