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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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Week 12: at Houston Texans

All TE vs HOU

Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. Drew Brees has been burdened with a league-worst defense this year, but that's been good for his fantasy owners as the Saints are back to slinging the football with abandon week in and week out as they chase various opponents. The last time we saw Brees before the bye he racked up 19/28 for 209 net yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions against the Washington D, finding Brandin Cooks for 5/98/2 on eight targets. Over the past four weeks (three games), Brees has slung 87/117 for 1,107 yards passing, 12 TDs and just four interceptions. Start him and smile fantasy owners! The Houston pass D allowed 19/39 for 197 net yards passing, one TD and two interceptions to Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, after giving up 22/38 for 183 net yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown with three sacks for -14 yards to Andy Dalton and company two games ago. Over the past four weeks (three games), this team has allowed the second-least fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (13.1 on average);the fourth-least fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends (3.8); and the fourth-least fantasy points given out to opposing wide receivers (12.5). That's some strong pass D, friends. This is a neutral matchup between quality units.

Recent Stats and Projections

8 vs NYG 65 9 147 1 0 20.7
9 vs TEN 69 5 60 0 0 6
10 at WAS 49 3 19 0 0 1.9
12 at HOU 0 4 53 0 0 5.3
12 at HOU PROJ-Dodds * 4 * * * *
12 at HOU PROJ-Tremblay * 4 * * * *
12 at HOU PROJ-Bloom * 4 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

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.


New Orleans Saints Team Links

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12@ Houston Texans
13vs Carolina Panthers
14@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15vs Detroit Lions
16vs Jacksonville Jaguars
17@ Atlanta Falcons