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Senior Fantasy Football Expert Shawn Childs breaks down and forecasts the top players from the biggest colleges in the nation! In this edition, he takes a look at Deshaun Watson and a few other players who were drafted out of Clemson! Stay tuned for more College Football Player Breakdowns!
QB Deshaun Watson – Fantasy owners were taken on a great ride by Watson from Week 3 to Week 7 last year. Over a five-game stretch, Deshaun passed for 1,472 yards with 18 TDs and seven Ints while gaining another 186 yards on the ground with another TD. His success over this span projected over 16 games would have led to 5,305 combined yards with 61 TDs. When looking at his passing stats, Watson never attempted over 34 passes in any game. He made plenty of big plays while taking 19 sacks on the year over 204 pass attempts. His offensive line is a huge problem, and defenses will have a whole offseason to come up with a scheme to slow him down. His season ended in early November in 2017 with a torn right ACL that required surgery. I’m sure he’ll be limited in training camp with minimal if any playing time in the preseason game. His running value will be restricted for sure in September. With league average passing attempts (550) and about eight yards per pass attempt, Deshaun should pass for 4,250+ yards with another 500 yards on the ground. I would temper his huge TD output in 2017 over five games to about two TDs per game in 2018. It’s much better to set a good floor than overcommit to his ceiling. Realistically, Houston didn’t upgrade his receiving core in the offseason, and Will Fuller needs to prove he can stay healthy. I expect him to be overpriced for my blood this draft season.
WR DeAndre Hopkins – Hopkins can’t match the recent resume of Antonio Brown, but he has does have two special seasons (111/1521/11 and 96/1378/13) over the last three years. His top two seasons came to 331.10 and 310.80 Fantasy points in PPR leagues, which is on par with Brown’s five-year path. DeAndre has scoring ability plus a high volume catch opportunity from week-to-week. Deshaun Watson was special over a short stretch in his rookie year, which points to a special career in the NFL. I like the overall offensive talent better in Pittsburgh, but I like the arm and talent of Watson over Ben Roethlisberger. Coin toss with the nod to Hopkins as the best WR in 2018 with both options being winning plays if they stay healthy. Last year the Texans’ WRs caught 179 passes for 2,409 yards and 23 TDs on 328 targets. Houston won’t throw the ball enough for Hopkins to push his bar much further in catches or yards. I love his skill set and willingness to fight through tough coverage on many plays. He’ll be great with Watson behind center, which points to 110+ catches for 1,400+ yards and a run at 15 TDs. One of the most consistent WRs in the game in 2017 with a high floor in most weeks.
WR Mike Williams – His resume is a bit scarred after missing most of the 2015 season with a neck injury. He played at a high level in 2016 for Clemson (98/1361/11) in what I would call a very good offense. Mike has size (6’4″ and 218 lbs.), and Philip Rivers has a way of making the players around him better. Talent wise, Williams should emerge as the WR2 in this offense. Before doing my research, I had a mindset of Michael developing into a better version of Malcom Floyd with a chance to be a better version of Vincent Jackson. Williams has great hands, and he is going to be a factor at the goal line. The Chargers will get him the ball everywhere on the field. I see Demaryius Thomas in his game. Williams suffered back and knee injuries in 2017 leading to a wasted season (11 catches for 95 yards on 23 targets). Mike should be the second receiving option in the Chargers’ offense with a chance at 80+ catches for 1,200+ yards and a team-high in TDs.
WR Martavis Bryant – Bryant was my biggest draft day mistake in 2017 in a year where I got a lot right. He struggled to find a rhythm in the Steelers’ offense while being outplayed by JuJu Smith-Schuster. Over the first ten games of the season, Martavis made one play leading to his best game in Week 2 (3/91/1). He had fewer than 50 yards receiving in 11 of his first 12 games. With Antonio Brown injured late in the year, Bryant caught 13 passes for 184 yards and one TD on 17 targets. Overall, he caught 50 of his 84 targets for 603 yards and three TDs. His yards per catch (12.1) was well below 2014 (21.1) and 2015 (15.3). His best value should come on crossing routes where Martavis can use his speed to make big plays in the open field. Last year Bryant didn’t make enough plays in the deep passing game on the outside. Carr should have more time to throw creating better scoring chances for Martavis in the deep passing game. Only a three to five catch guy per week with his best games coming when he hits on a long TD. I’d rate him closely with Jordy Nelson heading into 2018 while offering more boom and bust results from week to week.
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WR Sammy Watkins – After two good seasons (65/982/6 ad 60/10479) to start his NFL career, Watkins failed to live up to expectation in 2016 and 20. The trade to the Rams was expected to offer a huge improvement in opportunity, but Robert Woods outplayed Sammy. LA did improve offensive with Watkins adding value in TDs (8). After a great game in Week 3 (6/106/2), he had four catches or fewer over his last 12 games while failing to gain over 45 yards in ten contests. In the end, Sammy caught 39 of his 70 targets for 593 yards. His skill set and pedigree point to much high upside, but Watkins will rank behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for targets. Tempting name for sure, but he may need an injury to gain starting Fantasy value in PPR leagues. I’ll set the bar at 60 catches for 900 yards with five to seven TDs.