Sammy Watkins carried the Bills' passing offense in 2015
(Editor’s note: Our Crazy Fantasy Stat of the Day is an occasional free PFF Fantasy offering, highlighting something that catches our eye and helps us learn something for fantasy football for 2016.)
We track a lot of neat fantasy football numbers here at PFF. One of my personal favorites is wide receiver rating. It’s not difficult — it’s just a quarterback’s passer rating when targeting that specific wide receiver — but it can show a lot about the connection those two have.
There are times when it doesn’t tell the whole story, however. For example, if you see that a wide receiver has a 101.6 wide receiver rating, well, that’s good, but if every receiver on his team put up 100-plus, then the number tells you more about the quarterback than it does about the receiver. So I find it useful to compare individual wide receivers’ ratings to those of their teammate. A big gap indicates that receiver was doing more than those around him, and not just a product of his environment.
Which brings us to the Fantasy Stat of the Day: Last year, the gap in wide receiver rating between Sammy Watkins and his team’s No. 2 receiver was greater than any other receiver in the league. Watkins had a 128.8 wide receiver rating last year. Robert Woods, the next-best receiver on Buffalo, put up an 82.9. That was a gap of 46.1. Atlanta’s Julio Jones was the only other receiver whose lead over his No. 2 receiver was even as high as 40.
Watkins was PFF’s No. 77-graded receiver as a rookie in 2014, finishing 25th in fantasy scoring while playing 16 games. In 2015, though, he jumped up to 11th in PFF grades and a tie for 15th in fantasy scoring despite playing three fewer games. He had the most fantasy points per opportunity among all wide receivers last year, and was fourth in average depth of target, with the three in front of him averaging 44 targets apiece compared to Watkins’ 91.
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In short, Watkins had a big 2015 by almost any measure. He outproduced his expected production based on aDOT by more than any other receiver. Right now, his ADP is a little depressed based on some offseason surgery, but recent news indicates he’s recovering well, and could be a bargain. He’s currently the No. 12 receiver in our staff consensus ranks.