Sneaky pickups entering Week 8 

October, 25, 2013
It’s tough to remember now, but once upon a time, current New Orleans Saints backup tight end Benjamin Watson was a real-life first-round pick by the New England Patriots. He generally underachieved statistically with Tom Brady up until the great 2010 draft that produced both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for the Pats, with Watson moving on. He was actually pretty decent for the 2010 Cleveland Browns, catching 68 passes for 763 yards and three touchdowns. And this Sunday afternoon, Watson has a legitimate chance to matter for forlorn owners dealing with bye-week issues, as stud starter Jimmy Graham might not be able to play through a foot injury. We know Antonio Gates, Coby Fleener and Martellus Bennett aren’t suiting up, since they’re on bye.

[+] EnlargeBenjamin Watson
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesBenjamin Watson could be a useful fantasy asset for as long as Jimmy Graham is out.
Watson caught three passes for 61 yards against the Patriots in Week 6, the game in which Graham was hurt, and while I originally believed the Week 7 bye week would surely heal Graham’s wounds, word from those that cover the Saints regularly certainly seems to indicate that he’s anything but healed. Watson is appealing as a sneaky pickup for this weekend because, let’s face it, Drew Brees is the quarterback, and while the Saints have cruised to a 5-1 record, they’re a mere 15th in total yards. It’s not like Brees would simply or easily look elsewhere for targets. In fact, Brees has targeted wide receivers on a league-low 36 percent of his passes. Watson isn’t Graham, by any means, but he’s capable.

Ask fantasy owners about individual Saints after Brees and Graham, and they’ll have stories for you. Darren Sproles has put up only one good game for standard league owners, though he’s still a PPR asset. Marques Colston doesn’t have any big games, and he’s scored one fantasy point in each of his past two games. The running game, with Pierre Thomas coming off a season-high 51 rushing yards against the Patriots, hasn’t impressed. The Saints host the Buffalo Bills, a team that has actually done quality work against opposing tight ends, but looking closer at who the Bills have played you won’t see many top tight ends. Plus, let’s not be na´ve: Graham could miss more than one game. Watson is experienced and in a good situation if opportunity presents itself.