Philadelphia Eagles: Looking for a fantasy sleeper? Draft Quez Watkins

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With the end of the 2021 NFL preseason right around the corner, that means one thing and one thing only: The start of fantasy football season is almost upon us.

Okay, technically, that isn’t true. There are literally thousands of others things the end of the NFL preseason signifies both on and off the field, but for fans who like to get their hands dirty and play something a little more tangible than Madden, fantasy football season is almost upon us.

If you’re like me, a Philadelphia Eagles fan through and through, you surely know all of the big names to watch heading into the regular season – Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert, and DeVonta Smith – but if you want to secure a sleeper capable of paying massive dividends down the line, you may have to dig a little deeper to secure the perfect hometown hero capable of turning your season around.

According to our friend Bo Wulf over at The Athletic, the ideal breakout player you should target in your forthcoming draft should be none other than Philly’s not-so-secret weapon Quez Watkins, who could go from a non-factor in 2020 to the Philadelphia Eagles’ WR2 in 2021.

Quez Watkins could have D-Jax fantasy upside for the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Did you ever have DeSean Jackson on your fantasy football team during either of his two tenures with the Philadelphia Eagles or in the interim years in between?

If so, you probably know all too well just how volatile his offense production could be.

Because of the nature of being an NFL deep threat, Jackson’s game logs are littered with scores of 100-plus yards performances with multiple touchdowns to boot, but it also features games with two catches for 30 yards or even zero catches on four targets.

You look at your weekly points totals, you look at the L you suffered the week before, and think, “Hmm, maybe I should bench DeSean and swap him out for a player who will at least catch a half dozen passes,” but ultimately don’t do so because what if that next week was the one where Jackson hauls in two 50-plus yard touchdowns and leads the entire league in receiving yards?

If Quez Watkins’ preseason performances so far this season are of any indication, he might just present that very same big playability that has kept Jackon among the best fantasy football options around for well over a decade.

Routinely lined up as the flanker opposite X receivers like DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor, Watkins wasn’t targeted an exorbitant number of times – he was instead often used as a field-stretching decoy to open up the middle of the field – but when the ball came his way, the pride of Southern Miss made his presence known, recording the team’s lone passing touchdown of the summer on a run of the mill screen pass from Joe Flacco.

And the best part? Nick Sirianni hasn’t even started to scheme up plays to optimize Watkins’ offensive talents.

Come Week 1, when the scores actually matter, and the backups don’t start to cycle into the game after a few drives, Sirianni will surely be scheming open shots to get Watkins down the field unencumbered, where his unique combination of size, speed, and YAC-ability could swiftly transform him into a fantasy football darling worthy of a near-universal start regardless of matchup or situation.

Who knows, maybe by this time next year, Watkins will be consistently drafted ahead of Jackson, a thought borderline unimaginable when you look at his rookie stat line.

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So, as your fantasy football draft rapidly approaches, keep a keen eye on where Quez Watkins is being selected on average and try to swoop in and secure his services a round or two earlier. While he may not be a PPR darling, or his floor isn’t as high as his partner in crime, DeVonta Smith, Watkins’ upside is high enough to deserve a spot on your team, even if you have to slightly overpay to get the deal done. I mean hey, think about it this way: You’re already going to be watching the Philadelphia Eagles play each week; why not have a little extra skin in the game and root a little harder for number 16?