Here are a few players whose fantasy stock has fallen during their recent preseason outings.
Sammy Watkins, WR Buffalo Bills
Going into the 2014 NFL draft, I considered Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins to be the best of a very deep group. After being drafted by the Buffalo Bills, I have some major questions as to whether he can be counted on as a fantasy option during his rookie season. However, my questions do not have anything to do with Watkins skill set, but rather with his quarterback.
Through two preseason games, starting quarterback E.J. Manuel displayed the same inconsistencies that plagued him during his rookie season. Manuel had multiple passes batted down, along with struggling on his accuracy (11/20 in first two games), and being been slow to go through his progressions. Going into his second season as the Bills starting quarterback, it is now or never for the Florida State product. With a running game centered around veterans, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, the Bills have a stable running game. With Manuel’s inconsistencies throwing the football and health concerns (11 games missed in 2013) it is a fair question if he can be the Bills quarterback of the future.
In May, the Bills mortgaged a piece of the future to move up in the draft and grab Watkins (2015 1st and 4th Round Picks). Watkins displayed everything you want in a no.1 receiver while at Clemson; speed (4.41 40-yd dash), acceleration (1.53 10-yd split), reliable hands (4.49% drop rate), and the ability to take any pass the distance. Watkins could be the most complete receiver to enter the draft since A.J. Green, and will be the focal point of the Bills passing attack in the future. However, as long as E.J. Manuel struggles with his accuracy (58.8% in 2013), and decision-making (11:9/TD:INT) there are legitimate concerns as to whether or not Watkins and the rest of the Bills receiving corps can be counted on to produce consistently for fantasy football owners
Value: Low WR3/High WR
Preseason Week 1: 4 Rec/14 Yds, 2 Drops
Jordan Matthews had been called the “star of Eagles camp” according to several Eagles columnists, getting a lot of time with the first-team offense. With the high praise coming from Philadelphia, it is concerning that Matthews flopped like he did in week one of the preseason. Matthews dropped two passes during the Eagles opening preseason game, showing scouts critiques about Matthews consistency catching the football have some validity.
This is not the first time there have been concerns about Matthews’ consistency catching the football. During his senior season at Vanderbilt, Matthews dropped 7.69% of the passes thrown his way. Even though Matthews struggled to catch the ball consistently, his production was unmatched (SEC All-Time Receiving Yards Leader).
With the departure of DeSean Jackson to Washington, there is a gaping hole between starters Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper as the Eagles slot receiver. With Matthews’ strong training camp, many consider Matthews the front-runner for the job. Matthews acknowledged his rough debut, stating, “Those were catches I should have definitely had,” adding “those are balls that I’ve caught before in games and in practices. That’s a basic concentration thing.”
If Matthews can bounce back from his rough debut, there is no doubt that he can serve value in the Eagles up-tempo spread offense. However, if Matthews continues to let balls slip though his hands, he may see his opportunities to contribute go with it. But it was just one game, after all.
Matthews bounced back in a big way in week two against the Patriots; reeling in 11 passes for a game-high 104 yards. This is a positive sign for the rookie wide receiver, showing that his two drops in week one were due to nerves rather than his concentration. Matthews can take hold of the Eagles slot receiver position with another solid performance in week three of the preseason. If Matthews does get the job, he will have immediate value in PPR leagues as a solid number four receiver, giving him extra value in PPR leagues
ADP: Mid 12th