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Justin Watson: Waiver Wire Target Stepping into Big Role? (Fantasy Football)

by Shane Manila | @DFF_Shane | Featured Writer
Dec 10, 2019

Justin Watson could have a big impact during the rest of the fantasy playoffs

The outlook for many a fantasy playoff roster took a severe hit on Sunday when Mike Evans injured his hamstring and was lost for the game. Evans was injured on the below touchdown and was immediately ruled out of the rest of the game.

Tamp Bay head coach Bruce Arians stated after the game that he doubted Evans would be able to play again this season. The loss of Evans can not be understated. He’s averaged 9.7 targets per game on his way to 18.3 points per game through Week 13 (WR3). But fantasy football is no different than the NFL. No one is going to feel sorry for you and it’s next man up. Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and even Breshad Perriman will all see an increase in targets and scoring, but there’s one more player you can pick up this week off your waiver wire that will benefit from the loss of Evans.

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Player Profile
If you play in any dynasty fantasy leagues, you know the name Justin Watson. If you don’t play in dynasty leagues then he may be a bit of a mystery to you. That’s bound to happen when you play in a college conference (Ivy League) more known for producing presidents than wide receivers. Watson spent four years dominating the Ivies, putting up 3,777 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns on 286 receptions while at the University of Penn. This highlight film shows you some of the things that made him a favorite sleeper of many dynasty fantasy football players during the 2018 rookie draft season.

Despite an outstanding college career, Watson wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine so he wasn’t able to show off to all the teams in attendance. When he held his pro day, 20 teams did send representatives and they saw Watson display just how talented of an athlete he is. His agent, Joe Linta, had this to say about the pro-day performance:

“Justin had one of the more amazing days in recent memory. Very few WRs have ever had a 40-inch vertical, do 20 reps at 225, and run in the 4.3s.”

Though he didn’t go the combine, his pro-day workout and college production were enough for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to select him in the fifth round in the draft. Buried on the depth chart behind Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, DeSean Jackson, and Adam Humphries, his rookie year stat line consisted of one reception in 12 games. The 2019 season hadn’t been much better for Watson…until Week 14.

Losing Evans frees up nearly 10 targets per game for the other receiving options in Tampa Bay. Targeted eight times, Watson hauled in five receptions for 59 yards and his first career touchdown.

Entering Monday Night Football, his 16.9 points tied for WR15 (with two others) on the week. Jameis Winston showed on Sunday against the Colts that he has no issues targeting Watson despite his lack of experience. Watson was the second-most targeted Tampa Bay receiver on Sunday and his five receptions were also second-most on the team. Unless your wide receivers have been decimated like the Philadelphia Eagles, you shouldn’t start Watson this week. However, he is someone you can pick up to see if his target share holds for a second week. If it does, then you can roll him out there in Week 16 as a flex.

Wide receivers to consider dropping for Watson based on our Rest of Season rankings:

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Shane Manila is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Shane, check out his archive and follow him @DFF_Shane.

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