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Previewing Sammy Watkins for Super Bowl DFS

Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce get the publicity, but Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins remains a serious playmaker. We break down his performance to date, his DraftKings and FanDuel salaries, and what to expect for Super Bowl 54.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins catches a pass in front of Houston Texans cornerback Bradley Roby during the third quarter in a AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Arrowhead Stadium. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers square off in Super Bowl 54 on Sunday, February 2nd. We’ll be breaking down everything you need to know to prepare your daily fantasy football lineups for the big game. We’re starting with a player-by-player preview for the skill position players on the two teams.

26-year-old Chiefs’ WR Sammy Watkins has had an eventful career. After being taken fourth overall in the 2014 draft, he looked like a budding superstar over his first two seasons in Buffalo. A series of injuries derailed his progress, costing him 15 games over the next three seasons while he bounced from Buffalo to L.A. to Kansas City. At his best, he has all the makings of a star WR — strength, speed, sure hands, and crisp routes. He’s dealt with some injuries this season, but he’s been on a roll so far this postseason.

DFS Super Bowl price

DraftKings Captain: $10,500
DraftKings Flex: $7,000
FanDuel: $10,500

DFS opponent position ranking

DraftKings: 8th
FanDuel: 12th

Season performance

Watkins started the season off with a bang, catching nine of 11 targets in Week 1 for 198 yards and three TDs. Unfortunately, it ended up being just a flash in the pan, as his 49.8 DKFP ended up accounting for 35% of his total for the entire season. He wouldn’t have another 65-yard game or catch another TD until the playoffs. Though his target stayed elevated through the first half of the season, they fell to barely four per game from Weeks 11 to 17. After seeing 24% of the team’s targets when active through Week 10, Watkins saw just 13% over their last six games.

Playoff performance

After a mostly quiet regular season, Watkins is making an impact during these playoffs. Though he only saw two targets in the Divisional Round, he converted both for a total of 76 yards (one for 48 yards, the other for 28) and added a 14 yard run. He is coming off a dominant AFC Championship game, during which he caught seven of his 10 targets for 114 yards and a TD - easily his best line since Week 1. He appears to have re-established himself as the No. 2 WR and third receiving option behind Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce. Though, as always with Watkins, there remains doubt as to his ability to keep his production steady.


The DvP ranking listed on the DraftKings lineup builder - the big scary red “8th” to the left of Watkins’ salary - is weighted and incorporates several different variables. In this case, that complicated algorithm seems to be misleading, making the 49ers defense look better than it actually is. The 49ers actually gave up the 13th fewest DKFP to WRs over the course of the entire season. And if you focus only on the second half of the season, it looks even worse: since Week 9, the 49ers have given up the sixth-most DKFP per game to WRs. The 49ers have one of the best front-sevens in the league, and Richard Sherman remains an excellent corner, but this secondary isn’t one DFS managers need to fear.

Over the last seven games of the season, multiple WRs scored 10-plus DKFP five times. One of the two games that did not happen was Week 12 against the Packers, when Davante Adams was the only WR to see more than four targets. The other was Week 15 against the Falcons, when Julio Jones scored 41.4 DKFP and Russell Gage scored 8.3. The 49ers are susceptible to giving up big lines to multiple WRs in the same game, which is good for a secondary option like Watkins.

DFS pricing and analysis

The DraftKings Sportsbook has set the over/under for this game at 54, implying that they’re expecting a scoring bonanza. For that to happen, the Chiefs are going to need production from more than just Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. If you subscribe to that argument but want to save some salary cap, you could look to Mecole Hardman ($3,300 captain; $2,200 flex). On some level, it’s almost impossible to predict which complementary Chiefs WR will have those one or two big plays. On the other hand, Watkins has seen more targets than Hardman all season, and Watkins is the one who has been hot through the playoffs. While it’s probably too risky to put Watkins into your captain spot, he’s worth of consideration in your flex.

I am an avid fan and user (my username is arikleen) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.