Dynasty Market Report: Christian Watson, WR, Packers


Those hoping for a barrage of points from Christian Watson in the fantasy playoffs went to sleep on Monday night with a sour taste in their mouths. An 8.6-point PPR performance in Week 15 vs. the Rams is not terrible by any means, but certainly disappointing.

Regardless, Watson went from injury-ridden butterfingers to fantasy superstar over the course of his rookie campaign. How much has his dynasty value changed? Where should managers be valuing Watson? Let’s dive in.


Background


Watson entered the NFL with a raw skill set. Observers of his college film noted a lack of refined route-running skills and questionable hands as dings against him. Despite his flaws, Watson’s combination of size and speed (4.36-second 40 time at the NFL Combine) made him worthy of a high 2nd-round draft pick. Considering the void left behind on the Packers roster by Davante Adams – now a member of the Raiders – Watson carried some immediate impact potential.

Watson missed the majority of training camp following a knee procedure, in addition to sustaining a leg injury that caused him to miss 2 games this year. Early results did not yield much optimism for the rookie wideout. Through Week 9, Watson mustered a measly 7% target share (14 total targets) with an average of 1.7 receptions and 14.7 yards per game.

Heck, fellow rookie WR Romeo Doubs secured a 15.8% target share (2nd on the team) and 19.7% air yards share in that time span. It’s fair to say Watson disappointed early. But by the time November rolled around, something clicked and Watson exploded.


Recent Trends

Before Monday night, Watson had a streak of 4 consecutive games with at least 1 TD. Despite the quiet performance, Watson is the WR5 overall in PPR scoring since Week 10; 1st in points per game (27.0) over that span.

Moreover, Watson entered Monday night 20th in PFF grade among WRs since Week 10 (min. 10 targets), tallying 15 receptions on 26 targets with 313 yards and 7 TDs. Watson ranks higher than Stefon Diggs, Chris Godwin and Jaylen Waddle (among others) in that window.

The first-year WR caught fire by midseason and is only one momentary lapse of awareness away from being a bonafide league-winner for managers everywhere. It’s hard to argue against a WR with an 83.3% contested catch rate (3rd among WRs since Week 10) and clear rapport with his QB moving forward. Aaron Rodgers carries a passer rating of 139.9 when targeting Watson over the last 5 games, ranking 4th-best in the NFL in that measure over that period.


Looking Ahead

Watson is currently valued as a high-end WR3 on the dynasty market across recent ADP and our dynasty rankings as we outlined above. With recent buzz and red-hot production, the biggest question as we approach the fantasy offseason is what do we do with Christian Watson?

It’s evident Watson is a big riser in ADP with scoring output to back up the reasoning behind the spike. That said, it’s important to remember that he’s still a raw prospect in need of further seasoning and development before we can declare him a surefire stud. There’s also ambiguity surrounding the future of Rodgers at QB. Baked into Watson’s value is a non-zero chance Jordan Love will be sending Watson passes by the time the latter finishes his rookie deal.

Part of what caused Watson to be picked as high as he was in 2022 rookie drafts was a lack of established QB prospects with quality draft capital. In a more typical year – with 2 or 3 decent QBs – it’s worth questioning whether or not Watson would have warranted 1st round rookie draft capital to begin with. It stands to reason his ascension up draft boards had more to do with the class strength than his skill in particular, as evidenced by our WR30 dynasty ranking.

Unless you’re actively rebuilding and can afford to keep Watson around and see where it goes, don’t be afraid to at least listen to offers for the WR. If you can fetch a 2023 first-round pick for Watson in a trade, you could have a chance to re-roll for a more complete prospect. With QBs like Bryce Young of Alabama and C.J. Stroud of Ohio State on the horizon, established talent will be pushed down the draft board more than in 2022 rookie drafts. That possibility sounds rather intriguing

Take a chance and put out feelers for a possible Watson deal in your league(s).