LeSean McCoy was the first Buffalo Bills player to make NFL Fantasy Live's Top 50 Players of 2016. On Thursday night, Sammy Watkins joined McCoy when he was named the 20th best fantasy football player of 2016.
If you only looked at the first half of Watkins' 2015 season, it'd be hard to believe that Watkins would make any top 50 list. From Week 1 to Week 7, Watkins missed three games due to injury and only recorded 11 receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the four games he played. Things changed right after Buffalo's Week 8 bye.
Over the course of Buffalo's final nine games, Watkins went off. The wide receiver caught 49 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. Finishing the year with 1,047 yards, Watkins did a good amount of his damage via the deep ball. According to Pro Football Focus, 606 of Watkins' yards came on deep passes.
Health was certainly a major factor in Watkins' turnaround, but his chemistry with Tyrod Taylor was the biggest factor in his success. With chemistry came trust and targets. Watkins did not record any games with double-digit targets in his first seven games, but four of his final six games saw him targeted 10 times or more.
Based on his late season production and increase in targets, it's easy to see why Watkins is rated so high as a fantasy football player.