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How to handle Sammy Watkins injury in the 2021 NFL Playoffs

The Chiefs will have Patrick Mahomes back in the fold for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, but he might play without one of his top receivers: Sammy Watkins.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins #14 of the Kansas City Chiefs drops a pass in front of cornerback Casey Hayward #26 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the third quarter at SoFi Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Game status: Sammy Watkins is INACTIVE for the AFC title game.

Game day update: Sammy Watkins is a game-time decision once he goes through pre-game warmups, but the Chiefs are not optimistic about his chances of playing, per Adam Schefter.

After much consternation, superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes has cleared the concussion protocol and will play during Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, bringing the Kansas City Chiefs’ most important player back into the fold. However, the Chiefs face considerable injury issues elsewhere on offense. Veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins could miss Sunday’s game due to a calf strain.

Fantasy impact: Sammy Watkins (calf)

Watson didn’t appear in the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over the Cleveland Browns and remains uncertain to play this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The veteran wide receiver practiced all week which bodes well for his availability, but he only did so in a limited capacity. Still, that represents a significant improvement over the previous week when Watkins could not practice at all.

But Watkins avoiding the inactive list won’t necessarily make him a meaningful contributor to the offense, at least not from a statistical perspective. He hasn’t reached the end zone since Oct. 11 and has maxed out at four catches for 60 yards in the games he has played since. The Chiefs’ passing game as a whole could suffer due to quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ toe injury limiting the number of extended plays, an area in which the offense has typically thrived.