When you lose DeAndre Hopkins and replace him with Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb (who join a group of holdovers headlined by Will Fuller and Kenny Stills), it's probably going to take more than adding a pass-catching back (David Johnson, who comes to town after two less-than-stellar campaigns in Arizona) to keep Deshaun Watson inside the top 5 at this position. Even before Hopkins' departure, there was already reason for concern. As ESPN's Matthew Berry noted, Watson had seven games last season with zero or one passing touchdown. So is he too high in our rankings? Well, CBSSports.com recently pointed out that "even with an inferior roster and questionable head coaching around him," Watson ranked second at the position in points per game (21.3) and produced the most fantasy points per rushing attempt (0.99) among quarterbacks with at least 80 carries.
Per NFL.com, Watson finished as a Top-5 fantasy quarterback in five different weeks last season as well. But he scored fewer than 17 fantasy points six times. Also worth noting, OC Tim Kelly will take over play calling from HC Bill O'Brien, who had done that job since early in the 2016 season.
2020 Bottom Line
Regardless of the coaching change (and Kelly's strong relationship with Watson is reportedly one reason for the change) and a weaker supporting cast, Watson's athleticism, running ability and past production will keep him firmly locked in as a fantasy QB1 this season and beyond.