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Sammy Watkins injury: Fantasy Football implications

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The Buffalo Bills may be without their best offensive weapon for a while. Star wide receiver Sammy Watkins is dealing with discomfort in his left foot, which he had surgery on back in April. Watkins had a screw placed in his foot, and during the Bills opening week match-up against the Baltimore Ravens, Watkins thought he re-injured the foot. But X-rays show no new breaks, meaning this is going to be a matter of how well Watkins can play through pain.

There is talk that the Bills may shut down the third-year receiver. If that happens, there is no timetable for when he could return. This will likely turn into a week to week update with Watkins, as with no new structural damage, there is nothing left to heel. This is bad news for both the Bills and fantasy owners. A football player relies heavily on their feet, especially a wide receiver who will be running and cutting all over the field. So Watkins puts a ton of pressure on that left foot every time he suits up on the field, and can get pulled out of any game he starts.

So first things first, this would be a huge shot to the Bills as a team given Watkins is one of their top two players on offense, alongside LeSean McCoy. The rest of the team’s wide receiving corps is made up of names such as Robert Woods, Greg Salas, and Marquise Goodwin. The teams passing game is not that great, to begin with, with Watkins leading the team with four receptions and only 43 yards in the season opener.

The team will likely put extra emphasis on the running game, meaning larger doses of LeSean McCoy. But McCoy is a fragile back as well, and the team cannot afford to run him too much, as an injury to him would make their entire offense non-existent. The team only managed to score 7 points in Baltimore, and lost 13-7.

As for Fantasy Football owners, Watkins was drafted by most as a top receiver, or paired with another star receiver to make him their two. Either way, anyone who drafted Watkins surely did so with high hopes for the 23 year old. He is set to become more of a headache than a home run for the foreseeable future. Owners will be entering each week needing someone else at the ready, as Watkins could easily miss multiple weeks, and even when he does play, it will likely be a game time decision. This will leave fantasy players checking the inactive reports and forcing them to make late changes to their lineups.

Even when Watkins does return to the field, which could be this week or in seven, we really do not know, you need to be concerned if he can make it through the entire game. As I mentioned earlier, this is all about pain management on Watkins’ part as nothing is structurally wrong at the moment. The foot injury is a delicate issue, and Watkins could very well start a game only to leave after a handful of snaps. This could leave fantasy owners with the dreaded zero in any given week if Watkins feels his foot is simply not responding the way he wants.

So this is going to be an injury that will drive fantasy owners nuts. Even if Watkins is not shut down, which would be terrible news in its own right, he still remains a major question mark going forward.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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