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TE Ben Watson - New Orleans Saints

6-3, 253Born: 12-18-1980College: GeorgiaDrafted: Round 1, pick 32

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Photo: Tim Heitman, US Presswire

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News you need to know

General News (Tue Feb 2): said he would love to stay in New Orleans, adding that he has had good talks with owner Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton about re-signing.

Week 21: bye week

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Recent Stats and Projections

WEEKOPPoSNAPRECYDTDFumLPts
17 at ATL 62 6 59 1 0 11.9

Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 17 vs ATL (10 / 6 / 59 / 1 rec)

Watson's first catch came midway through the first quarter in which he ran a vertical route up the left seam for 22 yards deep into Atlanta's red zone. He ran a wheel route up the left boundary from an in-line position, beating Charles Godfrey to the corner of the end zone for an athletic 13-yard touchdown. Watson stayed busy as a receiver early in the second half, running a shallow stick route to the right seam for five yards to set up third-and-medium. He continued as Brees' trusted checkdown option for seven yards early in the fourth to keep the offense on schedule. He caught a similar stick route as described earlier later on this possession for five yards to set up third-and-short. His receiving day, and year, finished with yet another dumpoff to the left flat for seven yards to precede third-and-short. Brees looked back in his direction on the following down, but a solid defensive play prevented the first down late in the fourth. Watson will hit free agency after his career year in New Orleans, but it's also possible he hangs up his cleats and chooses retirement. The veteran tight end provided a capable seam option for various offenses throughout the year, and 2015 will be remembered as his best campaign to date.

2015 Week 16 vs JAX (2 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)

Watson's lone reception occurred midway through the second quarter, a five-yard stick route to the right seam. It was a very disappointing day for Watson in fantasy championship week, but it does little to take away from his career year as a receiving weapon.

2015 Week 15 vs DET (12 / 6 / 49 / 1 rec)

Watson didn't break into the game until New Orleans' second drive of half #2, when he sat down shallowly in the left seam for eight yards. To open the fourth period, Watson ran a slant route from the left sideline for ten yards. Watson won his isolated matchup with a LB late in the fourth quarter to gain nine yards and keep New Orleans' scant hopes alive. Continuing to feast on LBs over the middle, Watson ran across the field for 11 more yards. Watson reached the one with a ten-yard route up the left seam. He ran mostly uncovered to the right flat for a one-yard touchdown, salvaging a decent day for fantasy owners with garbage-time centric production. The consistent if unspectacular TE1 remains relevant for fantasy championships.

2015 Week 14 vs TB (11 / 7 / 70 / 0 rec)

Watson's first reception came on the fourth play of the day, a short two yard dump-off in the middle of the field off play-action. Just two downs later, Watson ran a wheel route up the left sideline for 26 yards to move his team into the redzone. Early in the second quarter on the successive drive, Watson ran a post route from the right slot for 19 yards to take the ball to the Tampa Bay three yard-line. Late in the first half, Watson snuck out of the backfield to catch a well-blocked screen pass for nine yards. The ball went back to the veteran tight end on the following play, as he leaped over his defender for seven yards near the left sideline to pick up a critical first down. Watson's next reception came late in the third quarter when he ran a short stick pattern to the right seam, plucking the ball out of the air between two defenders for five yards. A second effort reaching over the sticks was enough for Ben Watson late in the fourth quarter, as he took a rollout to the right flat for two yards to keep the game-ending drive intact. The reliable safety valve is a mid-range TE1 with a reasonably high floor.

2015 Week 13 vs CAR (8 / 4 / 38 / 1 rec)

Without doing anything spectacular, Benjamin Watson provided a nice target for Drew Brees throughout. A 16-yard catch on a shallow crossing route was nullified by a holding penalty, but Watson was able to get into the end zone on a well-designed play. Lined up in a bunch formation, he was able to run free into the end zone after the other two receivers confused the free safety with their route combination. The Panthers appeared to bust the coverage, allowing Watson to catch an easy pass from Brees.

2015 Week 12 vs HOU (9 / 4 / 53 / 0 rec)

Watson's first action came on a short stick route to the right slot, a four-yard gain midway through the second quarter. Two plays later, he ran an intermediate out-route to the right sideline for eight yards to set up a manageable field goal. Late in the third period, Brees was able to step up in the pocket and hit his safety valve, Watson, for 15 yards and a dearly needed first down. The veteran tight end ran a corner route to the right sideline for 26 yards and a critical first down in the fourth quarter. A lone bright spot on a discouraging offense, Watson's career year lends low-end TE1 value for the next few weeks of the regular season.

2015 Week 10 vs WAS (5 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)

On the first play from scrimmage, Watson opened his relatively quiet day with a play-action reception in the right flat for eight yards. Early in the second half, he sat down in the middle of the field as a safety valve for seven yards. Watson moved the chains on the following play with a short out-route from the right slot for four. Clearly the team's top option at TE, Watson is a reliable safety valve for an offense that needs to throw the ball as much as possible. His secure role in a career year makes him a lower-end TE1 for the rest of the fantasy season.

2015 Week 9 vs TEN (5 / 5 / 60 / 0 rec)

Watson's first catch came midway through the opening period, a 12-yard hookup to the back shoulder in which he was split out to the right boundary. He flashed impressive hands late into the second quarter, running a 19-yard seam route from the right slot to move the chains. The veteran TE sat down in the middle of a Tennessee zone just a few plays later, picking up 10 yards. Midway through the third, Watson caught a nine-yard seam route in New Orleans' hurry-up attack to prevent a possible challenge. Staying involved late into the third, Watson ended his receiving day with another short checkdown over the middle for 10. Continuing his breakout season, Ben Watson is another option for Drew Brees to give defenses headaches with over the middle of the field. His role is secure as a consistent TE in a high volume offense.

2015 Week 8 vs NYG (10 / 9 / 147 / 1 rec)

Watson got in on the action midway through the first quarter, hauling in a back-shoulder pass on a beautifully thrown ball down the right seam for New Orleans' second chain-mover of the day. As Brees extended the play out of the pocket, Watson posted up defender Trevin Wade for a 46-yard gain down the right sideline to jumpstart his team's third series. Watson ran a shallow crosser midway through the second quarter, settling down in a soft spot for eight yards and a new set of downs. A few plays later, Watson quickly uncovered up the right seam for six quick yards. The veteran tight end picked up where he left off early in the second half, finding space between two linebackers over the middle for 17. On the following possession, Watson once again ran a shallow crossing pattern for a modest gain of four to set up a third-and-long. Very late in the third, Watson ran a seam pattern for a 20-yard touchdown. He beat Devon Kennard up the field, and Landon Collins was late to react over the top, making for a relatively easy pitch-and-catch. Midway through the fourth, Watson ran another short stick pattern from the right slot, settling down in front of coverage for five yards and a new set of downs. On the following, game-tying touchdown drive, Watson shook Landon Collins over the middle of the field and proved tough to tackle for a huge 16-yard pickup on third down. Watson's breakthrough two weeks ago against Atlanta may not have been as fluky as many initially presumed. A trusted option in a suddenly lights-out option, Watson is a perfect veteran to take what the defense gives him over the middle. He won't play such soft defenses every week, but deserves to be added as a mid-range TE2.

2015 Week 7 vs IND (5 / 4 / 59 / 0 rec)

Watson's first catch came late in the first quarter on a fake field goal pass from Luke McCown. He found a wide open zone in Indianapolis' special teams coverage for 25 yards. Watson's second reception was a lot like his first in principle, a play-action pass across the formation in which he settled in a wide open zone for 25 yards. He caught a dumpoff pass on a shallow crossing route for three yards midway through the third period, but fell well short of first-down yardage. Watson's final catch was another short completion where he sat down in a vacant zone over the middle of the field for six yards and a new set of downs. He was bound to have a significant dropoff in production after last week's career effort, but Watson is clearly Brees' most trusted option as a safety valve TE.

2015 Week 6 vs ATL (12 / 10 / 127 / 1 rec)

Watson was involved early and often, and his first catch of the game came on a dumpoff for eight yards over the middle. His second catch was a rollout off play-action that went for four yards. Watson caught a critical third down in the two-minute drill, leaving his feet for the leaping reception of 13 yards. The ball went right back to the veteran tight end on the next play, another leaping catch down the seam for 16 yards. A third consecutive catch, Watson gained inside leverage on a safety by running across the field for 28 yards before being pushed out of bounds. A screen went back to Watson two plays later off left tackle for three yards. The heavy involvement continued on the following play, a highly thrown pass that could have been caught in a wide open zone, but fell to the turf for an unsuccessful third down. Watson continued to be Brees' favorite target to open the second half, catching his first pass on a deep play-action corner route for 22 yards. He got back into the action on another play-action rollout, finding space across the formation for 17 more yards. Watson put an exclamation point on his fantasy deep with a play-action pop pass off a FB dive for a wide open two-yard score. His final reception on the career day, going for 14 yards on yet another play-action rollout from Drew Brees. Every bit of his career day was necessary for a win against the previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons, who couldn't find an answer for Watson all night long. He's more likely to go catchless next week than repeat this performance, but his role as Brees' favorite possession TE appears safe.

2015 Week 5 vs PHI (5 / 3 / 36 / 1 rec)

Watson moved the chains on New Orleans' first drive of the day, catching a 21 yard corner route from a bunch formation. Watson was able to capitalize on miscommunication from the Philadelphia defense late in the subsequent drive, catching a quick six-yard flat route before turning it up field for a relatively easy touchdown. Watson's final catch did not come until much later, midway through the fourth, when he sat down in the Philadelphia defense for nine yards. Watson is a capable veteran on a team that appears short on them at this stage.

2015 Week 4 vs DAL (3 / 3 / 30 / 0 rec)

For the second straight week, Watson caught all of his targets. His short routes were success outside of being stopped short of the first down marker on a third down crossing route. With Josh Hill getting the goal line touchdown, Watson's upside was limited this week.

2015 Week 3 vs CAR (4 / 4 / 42 / 0 rec)

Watson's biggest day of the the young season began with a ten yard out route late in the first quarter to move the chains. The ball went back to the veteran right end on the next play, a short pass to the right flat for three yards. Watson caught a 20 yard seam route on a third-and-long that initially reached first down yardage, but was overturned upon review and fell one yard short. Late in the third quarter, he found space underneath the defense as a checkdown option for eight yards, but coughed up the ball upon being hit by Thomas Davis. He caught all four targets, proving mostly reliable until surrendering the fumble. Watson remains a low-end TE2.

2015 Week 2 vs TB (4 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)

Watson got his hands on the ball for the first time with five minutes to play in the third quarter. It was a play-action dumpoff into the right flat that picked up four yards. He also caught a short dumpoff for eight yards in New Orleans' no-huddle attack over the middle of the field. Plays are obviously not being called for him, as Watson is nothing more than a safety valve.

2015 Week 1 vs ARI (5 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)

Watson began his day by moving the chains on an eight-yard out route late in the first quarter. He ran a crossing route for a gain of seven on his next catch before stumbling out of bounds. Watson again worked underneath the defense for a gain of four across the field near the end of the first half, and didn't haul in a pass thereafter. Watson was nothing more than an afterthought offensively, as it was clear that Brees never looked in his direction early in his progressions. He offers more real-life value than in fantasy, and the lack of a target to Josh Hill says as much about the New Orleans utilization of the TE position as there is to know.

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Latest News

Saints | Ben Watson wants to return (Mon Jan 25, 04:08 PM) - New Orleans Saints impending free-agent TE Benjamin Watson said he would love to stay in New Orleans, adding that he has had good talks with owner Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton about re-signing.

Our View: A first-round draft pick in 2004 (Patriots), Watson had a career resurgence in 2015 with the Saints. He put up a career-best 825 yards receiving and tied a career high with six touchdown catches. Watson finished the year as the 7th-best fantasy tight end, and he would have to be considered a top-10 option in 2016 if he stays with the Saints.
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