Sammy Watkins name doesn’t always come up in the conversation when media pundits and NFL fans talk about the league’s elite receivers. Regardless of your predisposition about trading away two first round picks for him, it’s about time that it should.
No doubt, playing in the smaller market of Buffalo doesn’t always allow the Bills’ second-year receiver national exposure, but in the past couple months and for majority of the year, Sammy’s been on a tear. Through his last 7 games and not too long after publicly pleading for more targets, Watkins has accumulated 33 receptions for 668 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.
That’s an uptick in production of almost twenty yards per game compared to his season average (95/game vs 75/game) in 11 total contests. Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Sammy have also been building serious chemistry, which has directly led to the star receiver leading the NFL in average yards per reception.
Through 11 games, Watkins has 44 receptions for 827 yards and 9 touchdowns.
-Averages 18.8 yards per reception which is best in NFL
-Catches a 20+ yard pass on 34% of his receptions, good for 3rd in NFL, just behind Green Bay Packers’ James Jones and Jacksonville Jaguars’ Allen Robinson.
-15 catches of 20+ yards is T-16th in NFL
-9 receiving touchdowns is T-10th in NFL
He’s putting up these numbers on only the 43rd most Targets (75) for WR’s in NFL.
Sammy Watkins’ lack of targets is one factor in such a high average yards per reception, but bottom line is he and Taylor have been consistently airing it out. While some will pound the ‘lack of targets=inflation of numbers’ drum, imagine what he could do with the extra 70, 80 or even 100 more targets that other top-notch talents get?
That’s kind of ridiculous to think about and while projections can be deceiving, Watkins is one of the main reasons the Bills currently lead the league in big plays from scrimmage (10+ yards for rushing and 25+ yards for receiving), with 92 total. He’s consistently able to beat defenders downfield even when the ball isn’t thrown his way.
Now, is Odell Beckham Jr. still putting up bigger numbers and are stud receivers like Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and Deandre Hopkins still going crazy? Are there guys out there with more yards after the catch or more touchdowns?
Absolutely yes to all, and honestly it seems like a new star is born in the passing game every few weeks.
But even with all the other big names in mind and the fact that the Bills are wrapping up its 16th straight season without a playoff berth, it would be a mistake to overlook the sophomore season Sammy Watkins is having.