TE Ben Watson - New Orleans Saints
|6-3, 253||Born: 12-18-1980||College: Georgia||Drafted: Round 1, pick 2004|
Week 15: at Carolina Panthers
FBG says: Good matchup. Drew Brees is actually enjoying the most efficient season of his career, though fantasy players aren't impressed. Brees is posting his best touchdown and adjusted yardage rates ever, with just 4 interceptions on the year, and is shattering his own record with a stunning 76% completion mark. But as the Saints continue to win games fairly easily, he's not being given much volume - and not producing many counting stats. Brees has averaged just 226 yards over his last 8 games and hasn't topped 201 in 3 weeks. That said, it's obvious what upside this passing game carries when pressed to perform. Michael Thomas continues to dominate the attack, taking on 28% of team targets and producing 35% of the yardage. His volume comes and goes, but in his 5 games of double-digit targets, he's averaged 12 catches for 141 yards. His 86% catch rate is record-breaking and gives him a strong ceiling and floor in fantasy. The only other usable pieces are running back Alvin Kamara, who averages 5 and 52 a game, and the upside of rookie Tre'Quan Smith. Smith has erupted twice and racked up 16.9 yards per catch, but has drawn just 2 targets over the last 2 weeks. Brees, Thomas, and Kamara are full of fantasy upside, all capable of a blowup game in any matchup. But game flow will always determine their floors, which can doom fantasy lineups. The Panthers pass defense has long been a boom-or-bust unit, but typically a more dependable one than this. Over the last 6 weeks, they've allowed quarterbacks to complete 70% of their throws at a robust 8.7 yards per attempt. Game flow and volume have stopped some of the bleeding on this Carolina losing streak, but this has still become one of fantasy's tastier matchups. The pass rush, which has dominated for years, is struggling to get home here - Julius Peppers and Wes Horton have combined for just 5.5 sacks. And the secondary is in even worse shape, with cornerbacks James Bradberry and Donte Jackson struggling for consistency. Bradberry trades off great coverage snaps with bad lapses, and Jackson has fallen off markedly from a fantastic start to his rookie season. Over that 6-game stretch, 4 opposing receivers have reached 100 yards, and 8 have topped 80. They've allowed big, game-breaking completions to guys like Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, but also to the likes of Adam Humphries, David Moore, and Breshad Perriman.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs TE 1, TE 12, TE 24
Ben Watson's percentile rank in each category, among TE with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2018 Week 14 vs TB (3 / 3 / 24 / 0 rec)
Watson caught all 3 of his targets this week but did not play a major factor in the game. Despite the lack of receiving depth, Watson has not emerged in the Saints offense. His longest catch today was 11 yards and he was a non-factor in the red zone. It has been a disappointing season for the big tight end with Brees utilizing other tight ends in the offense. The skill set does not seem to matchup with what the Saints are trying to do right now. With Taysom Hill and Josh Hill bidding for time, Watson may be the odd man out at the end of the season.
2018 Week 13 vs DAL (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
It has been a steady decline all season for Watson. Despite the lack of big time weapons in the receiving core this year, the Saints have gotten away from using Watson in recent weeks. The big tight end only played 38% of offensive snaps this week and did not have a single target. The Saints have been using their backup tight ends in recent weeks and this could be a sign that they plan to move away from him in the off season. He has not been the big-time weapon they expected when they signed him.
2018 Week 12 vs ATL (2 / 1 / 20 / 0 rec)
It was another quiet game for the big tight end this week. After finally showing some signs of life in the recent weeks, Watson fell behind again this week. He had 1 great 20-yard grab for a first down and dropped his only other target. The Saints offense went through its backups this week and Watson did not have to do very much. Watson is still a weapon for the saints despite the down season.
2018 Week 11 vs PHI (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
It was another banner day for the Saints offense, but Watson played no part in that. He did not register a single target and was out played by tight ends Taysom Hill, Austin Carr, and Josh Hill. It is a very thin group of receivers for New Orleans, but with the way Drew Brees played anyone could have caught a touchdown.
2018 Week 10 vs CIN (2 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
It ended up being a very quiet game for Watson as he ended up with a single yard on his lone reception, but that does not tell the full story. That lone reception was originally ruled a touchdown but was eventually reviewed and overturned to rule him down at the 1-yard line. His other target was a Tebow-style jump pass from Taysom Hill. The ball was just behind Watson and he tried to one-hand it in the back of the end zone. He managed to pull it down before it bounced off his face mask for an incompletion. Watson was a few inches away from having a 2-touchdown game, but instead wound up with a single reception for 1 yard. The NFL can truly be a game of inches.
2018 Week 9 vs LAR (4 / 3 / 62 / 1 rec)
There has not been a lot to celebrate for Watson and Brees so far this season. The pair has not seemed to click on offense and there was even a time when Josh Hill was getting more looks than Watson. That all changed today with the most productive game by Watson as a Saint. He was third on the team in targets and second in receiving yards. He had a long 32-yard reception as well as a 13-yard touchdown reception. The 32-yard catch came on an out and up route deep down the right sideline with Watson going up and over his defender for the catch. The 13-yard touchdown looked like a broken play that just happened to go right for the Saints. Brees went through his play action motion and was greeted by a Rams defender right in his face. As he backpedaled, he heaved a prayer of a pass up in the air that happened to fall right over the shoulder of Watson who had started to sprint towards the corner of the end zone. It was perfect placement for the pass, but it was not the original design of the play. Watson celebrated by putting the ball under his jersey as an announcement that his wife was pregnant.
2018 Week 7 vs BAL (6 / 6 / 43 / 1 rec)
After all the talk of chemistry and a potential short tenure in New Orleans, Watson and Brees finally looked to be on the same page this week. The duo connected on all 6 of their targets and came down with the first touchdown of the game. Watson was 3rd on the team in receiving yards this week and tied for 2nd in targets. His 1-yard touchdown catch came off the same play action play they failed to convert earlier in the season. The Saints lined up in a power run formation on the 1-yard line, faked the ball to Mark Ingram, and Brees found Watson wide open in the back of the end zone. This is the type of showing we expected to see from Brees and Watson this season and hopefully it marks a turning of the page in their season together.
2018 Week 5 vs WAS (4 / 4 / 30 / 0 rec)
Watson pulled in all 4 of his targets this week but he was unable to do very much with them. His longest play of the day was 9 yards and he was not featured in any of the goal line work. With the return of Mark Ingram, the Saints committed to running the ball more and used Josh Hill as the blocking tight end. Watson is still the starter, but he is going to need to prove his worth or he may find his tenure in New Orleans to be a short one.
2018 Week 4 vs NYG (3 / 1 / 23 / 0 rec)
After putting together a much better game with Brees last week, the TE/QB duo regressed this week. Watson only managed to snare 1 of his 3 targets this week albeit for 23 yards. He did get an opportunity in the red zone just before half time to cash in for a touchdown. Watson had a free release into the flat but lost ground to the safety towards the side line. Brees threw a perfect ball into his arms just ahead of the coverage, but Watson could not complete the catch to the ground and it popped free as he rolled out of bounds. This is the kind of catch he is expected to make or he will risk losing snaps and targets. Backup tight end Josh Hill led the team in receiving yards this week but is not expected to push Watson for playing time just yet.
2018 Week 3 vs ATL (6 / 5 / 71 / 0 rec)
After not showing any real chemistry in the first 2 weeks, Brees and Watson seemed to be in the same page this week. The big tight end had more targets, receptions, and yards than any other game this season. He also had his longest play with a 27-yard reception. This play helped setup an eventual field goal but was also disappointing. Brees hit a diving Watson down the right hash mark and setup a 1st and goal from the 6-yard line. The Saints were unable to punch it in and settled for a field goal. It was very encouraging to see Watson getting involved in the offense after not being featured much in the first 2 weeks. There is a lot of competition for targets in New Orleans, but Watson remains the best option from the tight end spot.
2018 Week 2 vs CLE (5 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)
Brees has had a hard time connecting with his tight ends since Jimmy Graham left and that continued today with Watson. The entire offense struggled but these two really did not connect. A prime example is their failed touchdown connection in the first quarter. The Saints lined up in a power running set with an additional lineman reporting as eligible. Watson leaked through the blitzing linebackers into the end zone after they bit on the play action. All Brees had to do was float the ball to Watson but he over threw his tight end on what should have been an easy touch down. There is no visible yelling or discord between the two on the field or sideline, but there is clearly a disconnect between the two. Coby Fleener was run out of town after last season when he could not connect with Brees and Watson does not seem to be too far off that early this season.
2018 Week 1 vs TB (4 / 4 / 44 / 0 rec)
The ball was flying all over the place today, but Watson did not play a major role in that. He was targeted 4 times and hauled in every ball that came his way. He was limited to under 50-yards and almost half of his total came on a single play. Brees launched a pass 19 yards down the sideline and Watson came down with it falling forward for another 2 yards. Watson did not play a major role in the red zone and Thomas and Kamara took most of that work. Brees has historically done well with very athletic tight ends but it may take some more time to build chemistry and get Watson going.
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|15||@ Carolina Panthers|
|16||vs Pittsburgh Steelers|
|17||vs Carolina Panthers|