Deshaun Watson is one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the game of football. Blessed with a rocket arm, fantastic mobility, and great playmaking skills, he’s one of the best quarterbacks for your fantasy football team. Conventional wisdom suggests waiting to grab a quarterback in the late rounds, but it Watson a worthy exception to the rule?
Note: This article assumes standard scoring, one-quarterback league
2020 Fantasy Football Outlook: Deshaun Watson
During his third season in the league, Deshaun Watson continued to prove that he’s one of the best young passers in all of football. Starting in 15 games, Watson threw for 3,852 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. These numbers are fine on their own, and he added another 413 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. All of this came together to make him the overall QB5 and the QB2 on a per-game basis.
Perhaps what’s most impressive about Watson’s season is his consistency. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time, and that’s true for Watson as well. However, he only had three or four games (depending on your scoring format/league setup) where he actively hurt your lineup. Considering the difficulty and weekly variance at the position, Watson brought the stability fantasy owners crave.
The biggest worry with Watson came down to his splits with and without Will Fuller. Throughout the course of his entire career, Deshaun Watson is a notably better quarterback when he has his speedy weapon on the field. 2019 only further cemented this narrative, as Fuller only played in 11 of the 16 possible games. Watson’s fantasy output dipped well below his average in these contests and is something to monitor moving forward.
Few players had a worse offseason than Deshaun Watson. Head coach and de-facto general manager Bill O’Brien made some of the most baffling moves imaginable, making his team notably worse in the process. O’Brien shipped out superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and replaced him with Brandin Cooks and an aging Randall Cobb.
Deshaun Watson is a great quarterback, but he might not be capable of producing at an elite level with a poor supporting cast. This isn’t a shot against Watson, as there are very few quarterbacks capable of putting up great numbers with bad weapons. As previously mentioned, Watson is not the same guy without Will Fuller. DeAndre Hopkins is a considerably better receiver than Fuller, so it’s safe to assume that this trend will continue with Hopkins in Arizona. Hopkins has largely stayed healthy during Watson’s time in Houston, so there’s no way to definitely know how Hopkins’ absence will affect Watson. However, it’s safe to assume this won’t be a positive change.
In a best-case scenario, Watson will spend the year throwing it deep to the speedy duo of Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller. This is a solid 1-2 punch at receiver, but these two both carry a large injury risk. Fuller’s missed 20 games in the past three seasons, and he’s a safe bet to miss some more time in 2020. Additionally, Cooks is coming off a series of concussions and didn’t look like the same guy when he was on the field last year.
Deshaun Watson can’t do it alone, and his supporting cast will probably be one of the worst in the league. However, the good news is that he can still scramble. Rushing is incredibly valuable in fantasy, and Watson is one of the better rushing quarterbacks in the league. With the lack of weapons in the passing game, one could assume that Watson will be running now more than ever.
Deshaun Watson Average Draft Position
As of this posting, Fantasy Football Calculator has Deshaun Watson going off the board with the 70th overall pick. This puts him right in the middle of the sixth round and puts him in the same tier as quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson.
Ultimately, this is a little too early to take Watson. While he certainly has top-five upside, he carries too much risk to justify a mid-round pick. Today’s NFL featured a plethora of quarterbacks capable of putting up a QB1 performance on a weekly basis. You’re better off using that mid-round pick to build up depth and select someone like Matt Ryan in the late rounds.
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