Fantasy Impact: Sammy Watkins Goes to Kansas City

The fourth overall pick in 2014, wide receiver Sammy Watkins is now on his third team over the course of his five-year career. Despite his impressive play during his first two seasons, the Bills decided to move on last year, trading Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams. Unfortunately, he failed to make a significant impact in 2017 and hit free agency, recently signing 3-year $48-million dollar contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs have a new quarterback this year after the Alex Smith trade to Washington: Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes made some splash plays in the preseason and looks like a safe bet as an NFL starter. With Albert Wilson now a Dolphin, Sammy Watkins’ primary competition at wide receiver is Tyreek Hill, and to a lesser extent Chris Conley. While Watkins is coming off two consecutive low production seasons, I see a major opportunity here. Let’s dive into the Chiefs’ wide receiver corps a bit.

Air Yards

I’ll be using Josh Hermsmeyer’s (@FriscoJosh) RACR by Target Depth for comparison here. RACR is a wonderful efficiency metric for receiving using receiving yards and air-yards. I encourage you to learn more about at Here we are plotting it against depth of target and comparing to league average. For this article, you just need to know this lets you see efficiency at various depths. Generally, a receiver is used best where he is at, or above, league average.

Tyreek Hill is primarily best as a deep-ball specialist. Using his speed, he can break open past defenders. He showed us this several times last year.











Interestingly enough, Sammy Watkins has been most effective on short to medium passes, despite his reputation as a deep ball specialist himself.











What To Expect

Looking at this data, I believe Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins can complement each other nicely if appropriately used by the Chiefs’ coaching staff. With a new quarterback combined with year-over-year changes in Andy Reid’s offense, I find it a challenge to predict an exact target total. But I would imagine without Alex Smith, Kelce’s target total drops a bit, and Watkins picks up Albert Wilson’s old share and some of Tyreek’s targets too. I could see Sammy cracking 100 targets with the Chiefs in 2018. For fantasy purposes, we have to approach him as a WR2. He’s not likely to have quite enough volume to hit WR1 status, but we know his game-breaking ability, so the upside is potentially there.


Amateur Analytics nut. WR AY/T tracking (see Google Doc). JANIS GAWD 4EVA. CARROOOOO!!!! Writer for Dynasty Football Factory & PlayerProfiler.

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