Sammy Watkins Fantasy Value Continues to Decline in Parallel to Dropping Target Share Volume

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 08: Sammy Watkins #14 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs toward the goal line during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on September 08, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars | Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

In Week 1 the 2019 NFL season, Sammy Watkins produced one of the biggest fantasy lines in recent memory, catching nine balls for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Combined with Tyreek Hill suffering a broken collarbone that required a multi-week absence, it seemed as if Watkins was about to go on a fantasy tear as the number one wide receiver in a Pat Mahomes-led Kansas Chiefs offense.

Instead, the Week 1 eruption is starting to look like a major outlier from Watkins, who has failed to even come close to repeating that production in three subsequent games. From Week 2 through Week 4, Watkins has averaged 4.6 receptions for 55.6 receiving yards, with zero touchdowns.

A big issue for Watkins has been that, even in Hill's absence, his target share has actually gone down in every game this season. He bottomed out at 14 percent in Week 4, in a game where Mahomes spread the ball around to eight different pass-catchers. Watkins' six targets in Week 3 was third to Demarcus Robinson (nine receptions) and Travis Kelce (eight), while flashy rookie Mecole Hardman had five targets.

While no one player has seen huge benefits from Hill's absence, as Kelce has mostly maintained his prior production, it is clear Mahomes does not have the same chemistry with Watkins as he did with Tyreek. While Watkins has led the team in targets over the past three games with 27, it has not resulted in the type of fantasy production his owners had hoped for after a huge Week 1.

With Hill not expected back for Week 5, as the Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts on "Sunday Night Football," Watkins will have at least one more opportunity for a big day as the team's most-targeted wide receiver. While it's hard to predict whether it's Watkins, Robinson or Hardman that goes off in a given week, Watkins should get enough looks to make a big game possible at Arrowhead.

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