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The first week of the 2015 NFL regular season leaves plenty of questionable decisions for fantasy football owners to make, and whether or not to play Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins sits near the top of the list. Watkins will be in the discussion as a WR2 for most owners this week, with some key factors working in his favor.
Watkins returned to practice over a week ago, and looks to be fully recovered from the glute injury he suffered during training camp. While Watkins is close to 100 percent, some receivers that have universally been ranked higher than the Bills star are questionable heading into the first week. Alshon Jeffery has a lingering calf injury, and the team has prohibited him from speaking to the media leading up to this week's match-up against Green Bay. Their own star receiver, Randall Cobb, has lingering questions about a shoulder injury. Owners can also add Mike Evans to the list of question marks, as Tampa Bay's coaches held him out of practice earlier this week.
In addition to those ranked above Watkins, many who may be in consideration for WR2 slots also find themselves injured this week. Roddy White just returned from elbow surgery that had kept him out of the lineup since August 23. Michael Floyd is recovering from a dislocated finger, and his status for Sunday's opener against New Orleans is in doubt. A healthy Watkins could serve as a better bet than one of these questionable options heading into the regular season.
Watkins could also get a bump against a potentially depleted Indianapolis secondary this week. As ESPN's Mike Wells reported on Twitter, Chuck Pagano says that starting cornerback Greg Toler is currently week to week, with rookie D'Joun Smith likely to start on Sunday. That could leave the rookie with the unenviable task of defending Watkins in his first NFL game. Should the Colts be without their starting cornerback on Sunday, look for Watkins to see a bump in the weekly rankings to start the regular season, even if owners fear a shadow from Vontae Davis.
With a new quarterback and offensive coordinator this season, it is hard to predict how often Watkins will be targeted on Sunday. But as Rex Ryan said during his introductory press conference back in January: "Are we going to throw it? Yeah, we got Sammy Watkins outside. Why wouldn't we throw it?" For the sake of Watkins' fantasy owners, lets hope this holds true against Indianapolis.