The Kansas City Chiefs took a big chance activating wide receiver Sammy Watkins for their Sunday night game against Indianapolis this week.
When the receiver showed up on the injury report on Friday with a shoulder injury and was listed as questionable, it appeared he may be inactive against the Colts. He dressed despite the ailment but his night was seemingly cut short on the first series of the game.
Watkins tweaked his hamstring on the Chiefs’ first series of the night and was listed as questionable by the team to return.
With Tyreek Hill still sidelined, Watkins has been the top wide receiver for the Chiefs this season. He has 23 catches for 365 yards and three touchdowns. Averaging 15.9 yards per catch, he looked to have revived a spiraling career already this season.
But now, injury woes may sideline Watkins once again, leaving the Chiefs a bit shorthanded at receiver in the short term.
On a positive note for the Chiefs, Hill was warming up on Sunday with the rest of the receivers and doesn’t appear to be far from a return. That timeline may move up to as early as next week for Kansas City should Watkins miss any time. Especially with the Houston Texans on the slate for next week, the Chiefs will need to get some firepower at receiver.
Watkins’ Fantasy Impact
With Watkins failing to record a catch on Sunday, his fantasy score will remain at zero, hurting managers who risked playing him against the Colts.
Whatsmore, it was a big day for Texans receiver Will Fuller who may have fallen under the radar with Watkins’ health and game status appearing to be certain. Now, fantasy owners may have to find a short-term replacement for Watkins if his injuries force him to miss any time.
From a Chiefs standpoint, this will likely mean Travis Kelce gets more receiving looks to make up for Watkins’ production. Kelce leads the Chiefs with over 400 receiving yards this season.
Other Chiefs receivers who may benefit include Byron Pringle, who was already having a strong night early with over 70 yards receiving. Looking for a more proven receiver than Pringle? How about rookie Mecole Hardman who has been a solid WR2 option for the Chiefs without Hill in the lineup.
Though Hardman only had eight catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns through the first four games, his speed and route-running ability are enough to make managers believe he could sprout down the stretch. And if Watkins’ injuries are more serious, Hardman could get more involved.
Outside of Watkins, Bills receiver John Brown has shown nice involvement and chemistry with quarterback Josh Allen and has been averaging over 10 fantasy points (PPR), including 12.50 from Sunday’s win over Tennessee.
Another option could be Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu, who is only owned 38.9 percent of leagues. Sanu has steadily seen his numbers climb this season and faces a weak secondary at Arizona next Sunday. With Matt Ryan continuing to utilize Sanu as a WR2, it’s not a bad investment for a short-term replacement or even a new WR2.