Sammy Watkins is the consensus top offensive weapon in the 2014 NFL draft and the one who is expected to have the most fantasy impact. With top speed, soft hands and great field presence, Watkins is expected to be the next great NFL receiver, even if his landing spot is still to be determined. Rookies are always something of a risk in fantasy drafts, but with his talent, Watkins could be one of few rookies in recent years to be taken high in re-draft leagues. There is definite excitement surrounding this 20-year-old rookie.
In just three years at Clemson, Sammy Watkins set school records with 240 receptions and 3,391 receiving yards and had 29 total touchdowns. Watkins saved his best for last at Clemson. In his final game, he went off against Ohio State in the Orange Bowl for 16 receptions, 227 receiving yards and two scores.
It’s not like Watkins was just starting to emerge after a solid senior season. He had a solid sophomore year and an even better freshman year. After tallying 1,219 receiving yards on 82 receptions for 12 touchdowns and even 231 rushing yards in his first year, Watkins was named a first-team All-American. The list of freshman to be All-Americans is short with just four modestly talented players named: Herschel Walker, Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson. With a college resume like that, it’s no wonder why Watkins is creating so much buzz.
Last month at the NFL combine, Watkins performed well and helped keep his status as a likely top 10 pick intact. Watkins weighed in at 211 pounds and was officially measured at 6”0′ 3/4, so he is a short 6”1′. His 4.43 40-yard dash was not really an amazing time. Despite the fact that his combine numbers could have been better, they don’t truly measure his elite on-field play-making ability.
- 4.43 40 yard dash
- 16 reps bench press
- 34” vertical
- 6.95 3 cone drill
- 4.34 20 yard shuttle
- 126.0 inch broad jump
Where could he go?
This is regarded as a very deep draft for receivers. That fact could lead to Watkins slipping a little, but he’s going to be a top 10 pick. The Texans will not take him at number one after taking DeAndre Hopkins in the first round last year and needing a QB, or a freak of a DE to go with their other freak of a DE. A lot of people expect the Rams to take Watkins at number two, but with St. Louis also having the 13th pick, they could wait and possibly be happy landing a Mike Evans or Odell Beckham Jr.[ad id=”Ad1″]
The Jaguars are so desperate for a QB that they probably can’t take Watkins and bypass the talent that will await their third overall pick. Oakland is in the same position as Jacksonville. The Browns at number four could be an interesting landing spot for Watkins. Yes, they have Josh Gordon who is the best elite young WR in the NFL right now, but with Watkins added to the mix the Browns will have a deadly receiving unit with two elite young WRs and a dangerous TE in Jordan Cameron. Watkins’ upside outweighs Cleveland’s need for an upgrade from its mediocre QBs.
If he somehow slips the first five picks, the Falcons are not likely to take him at number six. If he’s still in the green room when the Bucs are on the clock, he could go to Tampa Bay. The Vikings will not take him at number eight with Cordarrelle Patterson in-house. In a remote scenario, he could go to the Bills. If the impossible happens and he slips to number ten, Matthew Stafford may drown in a pool of his own drool… but the Lions seem determined that Stafford forever and always only have one target, Calvin Johnson.
As with every WR, you need to consider who is getting him the ball. If he goes to the Rams, Bradford is a good QB, yet not elite. If he goes to Oakland, that could hurt his fantasy value since they are weak at QB. Jacksonville could also drop his value.
On the positive side, his elite skills could be enough to overcome a bad QB situation. Just look at what Josh Gordon did for the Browns with only Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell.
2014 Sammy Watkins Fantasy Draft Projection:
Standard re-draft leagues – Rounds 5 to 7
PPR – Rounds 4 to 6
In dynasty start-ups – Rounds 2 to 4
Rookie-only drafts – Watkins is a reasonable player to take number one
With over five years of fantasy football experience Darren has won a high percentage of leagues and is an expert on IDP. When not setting a line-up, he works as a freelance writer for The Miami Herald.