If you're a Sammy Watkins manager pushing for the playoffs, you've probably moved the star wideout in and out of your lineup about 97 times. You've probably got him in there right now as a matter of fact and told yourself for the 49th time, "I'm done, no more tinkering till Sunday morning" before proceeding to hit the ole Twitter box to catch some last-minute update on his status. I'm here to help. Kinda. Probably, not though, because his injury scares the bejesus out of me.
Look, he came back last week after a nine-week absence and played pretty well, catching three balls for a totally respectable 80 yards. And this week he plays Oakland! You have to roll him out there!
Then Watkins missed practice Wednesday. And the coaching staff had to remind us, "Oh hey, remember how he missed two months with a surgically-repaired foot? That bad boy is still broken, he's just playing through pain." Thanks for that swift kick in the nether parts Bills coaching staff.
"I don't know if he's going to play one play or 20 plays," Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn told reporters. "We'll just see how big his role is. I'd like to keep him in the whole time, but I can't say."
On Thursday, Sammy Watkins reportedly came back to practice in an extremely limited fashion which prompted Rex Ryan to say that Watkins "looked good" and is expected to play.
Watkins practiced again Friday but color me skeptical. I would normally say, this is coach speak and that Watty will be a high-level decoy who will make a few plays, but not a lot. But who exactly is he going to be a decoy for? Robert Woods and Percy Harvin are out for Sunday. Marquise Goodwin is reportedly dealing with a sore wrist. Who else is left? Justin Hunter? Brandon Tate?
Based on expected volume against a bad Raiders pass defense, you almost have to play Watkins. I don't think there is a player this week with a low-floor/high-ceiling combination quite like Watkins. He could literally play one snap, get hurt and give you zero or could play 40 snaps and haul in eight to 10 passes for 150 and two scores.
Whatever you decide to go with, be at peace my friend. Or not, because who am I kidding, it's fantasy football.
More news and notes ...
NEWS: Rob Gronkowski has a herniated disc in his back and is set to have surgery, his third in seven years going back to his college days. His exact return is unknown but he's done for the regular season for sure.
- Bottom line: Bennett obviously is the biggest beneficiary, but as we saw against San Francisco, Brady likes to spread it around if Gronk isn't around. Even as the No. 1 tight end for Brady, Bennett is susceptible to an occasional poor fantasy day.
NEWS: Jay Cutler does indeed have a torn labrum and will have season-ending surgery. This comes after John Fox curiously declared Cutler day-to-day. Cutler's tenure with the team could be at an end as he reportedly has no guaranteed money left on his deal.
- Fantasy spin: The Bears take on the Niners in Week 13. San Francisco has given up the most fantasy points to wide receivers and has given up a league-worst 20 touchdowns to the position. Matt Barkley isn't totally terrible and we saw four different players collect nine or more targets in Week 12 versus Tennessee. Marquess Wilson led the way with 11 targets, eight receptions, 125 yards and a touchdown.
- Bottom line: Wilson is a solid sleeper this week versus a very generous San Francisco defense.
- Fantasy spin: I know tight end has been rough this year but beware playing Vernon Davis as Arizona has been death on fantasy TEs, allowing a league-best 25 yards per game to the position. The Cards are also the only team in the NFL that still hasn't allowed a single touchdown all year to tight ends despite going up against the likes of Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen.
- Fantasy spin: Expect the team to try and protect their rookie quarterback with a run-heavy game plan, meaning Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have limited upside this week. Jalen Ramsey has been playing extremely well and is likely to lock up Thomas. Overall, the Jags have been the sixth-stingiest to fantasy wideouts allowing just 20.75 points per game to the position.
- Bottom line: At this point in the season, it's nigh impossible to bench D.T. and Sanders, but both should be considered WR3s or flex options at best.
Other news and notes:Mark Ingram is nursing a toe injury, missed practice Wednesday and Thursday but was at practice Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday. Ingram told reporters he expects to play. If he doesn't go or is limited, Tim Hightower would be an RB1 candidate at home versus the Lions.
Kelvin Benjamin has a shoulder injury and was limited in practice this week but he told reporters he expects to play.
Devante Parker (back) missed practice all week and is listed as questionable. Realistically, don't expect him to play much if at all versus Baltimore. Kenny Stills is an interesting deep sleeper.