Usually in this space I discuss up-and-coming players. Guys you may know on a name basis, but may not know much beyond that. This week I’m taking a different angle. There are interesting waiver wire considerations discussed by other Sharks writers, but I’m going to focus this week on someone that may fall victim to your wire. If he ends up there, then get your claim in to stash Sammy Watkins on your roster before the weekend.
It’s been a rough 15 months for Sammy Watkins. He broke his foot Summer 2016 and unfortunately suffered a fate similar to those who had this injury in prior years. He was not effective when he was on the field and he did not spend much time actually on it. Many injuries linger (and an argument could be made that others are more problematic) but foot injuries and receivers are a terrible combination. Twenty-eight receptions and 430 yards later, 2016 was a season to forget for young Watkins and his frustrations don’t end there. He was given a clean bill of health entering camp but then was delivered a curve-ball as he was traded mid-August. Players who get traded during the off-season usually have time to get up to speed pre-camp, but they are usually traded long before preseason Week 1. Despite that difficult situation Watkins maximized his (limited) early season usage pulling in 13 of his 14 targets for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns across his first three games. Unfortunately, tough matchups and battling an injury suffered in Week 3 have derailed him since. Inevitably, owners looking at a total of 28 yards across the last three weeks, a meeting with Patrick Peterson looming, and a bye to follow, makes Sammy Watkins disposable for some. That presents your buying window.
Look at the Rams schedule – five of the Rams final six opponents are in the Bottom 12 of the league vs. the pass. Amidst a 4-2 start the Rams are on the brink of bursting into the playoff picture, but they need an X factor in order to stick around into December. The offense funnels through Todd Gurley and Jared Goff looks like a competent quarterback. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are quality role players and others are effectively being sprinkled in, but they really need that explosive element in order to break through to the other side. Watkins is that element; it’s why they traded a 2nd round pick (plus) in order to acquire just one year of his service…in August! They know his game breaking ability is what they need to put them over the top and it’s only a matter of time before it’s unlocked.
His finish to the 2015 season may seem like a distant memory, but it isn’t like we are talking about an aging veteran; Watkins is still just 24 years old. Thirty-five receptions for 679 yards and 6 touchdowns across his final 6 games with a first year quarterback? He can do that again…he WILL do that again. The schedule is sure setup to give him that opportunity…and his coaching is a heck of a lot better than he received in Buffalo! Sure, shiny new toys we don’t know much about are what makes this game so much fun, but while others are chasing potential short term options like Taylor Gabriel, Kenny Stills, and even (former?) bust Laquon Treadwell “zig when they zag”. He’s the end-of-season difference maker you should be looking for while your competition is distracted with them current…ahem…flavor of the week.
This week’s flavor of the week is: Birdseed
You remember Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Or you’re a millennial or generation Z reader now judging me for dating myself. But that scene at the end of the movie with the creepy woman in the park? She throws the pile of birdseed in the air to save young Kevin which causes the birds to attack Harry and Marv. In this case, you’re the birds. And Sammy is the birdseed. When his owner is fed up and says I’ve had enough…well…