Deshaun Watson
  • Deshaun Watson

  • QB
  • , Cleveland Browns
  • 28
  • 215 lbs
  • 6' 2"
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Scouting report

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - Week 2 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 2 at Pittsburgh Steelers

The run game and the defense were all the Browns needed to stifle Joe Burrow and the Bengals in Week 1. That run game did include Deshaun Watson, who picked up where he left off last season in that department with five rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown. Now we'll see if Cleveland can pick up the passing game. Watson only had 154 passing yards. But with that rushing ability, Watson gets pushed up boards. He's a high-end QB2 with QB1 upside this week against the Steelers who are now without Cam Heyward for at least eight weeks.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - Week 1 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Deshaun Watson has now had a full offseason with the Browns and is set to play a full season for the first time since 2020. Cleveland is looking to throw the football more this season now that Watson isn't as rusty and he can still use his legs to get yards as well (at least 20 rushing yards in all six games he played in 2022). One of those games was against the Bengals, where Watson threw for 276 yards and a touchdown in Week 14. Watson isn't quite in the QB1 tier yet but has the upside to get there as Cleveland hopes to expand their offense.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - 2023 Fantasy Football Outlook

Fantasy Upside
One piece of upside with Deshaun Watson is obvious. He's around for a full season following a 2022 season where he was suspended 11 games following sexual assault allegations and sitting out the entire 2021 season due to his frustrations with the Texans. After coming back and playing in the final six games, Watson was a mid-QB2 at best. 2023 will be Watson's first full season since 2020. He should be a little less rusty and there's potential Cleveland could throw the ball more in 2023 with Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones still around plus the acquisition of Elijah Moore from the Jets.

Fantasy Downside
The downside is that Cleveland doesn't throw the ball more in 2023 and just feeds Nick Chubb and the other running backs. The other downside is that Watson simply doesn't regain his old form that made him so fantasy-effective in Houston. Fantasy managers seem to think he can with an ADP near the top 70.

2023 Bottom Line
Can Watson regain his 2018-2020 form? Hard to say, but he should be a little better than he was in 2022. Perhaps that was just rust, but temper expectations regardless for a team that loves to run the football with one of the best backs in the league in Nick Chubb. But Cleveland has a talented enough passing offense that should keep Watson fantasy-viable.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - Week 17 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 17 at Washington Commanders

The numbers through the air certainly haven't been what the Browns were hoping for thus far from Deshaun Watson through four games. He has three games with under 200 passing yards and two with under 150. He also only has two passing touchdowns and added his first rushing touchdown last week. He faces a very tough Washington defense that is fighting to make the playoffs while the Browns are officially out of the running. Watson is a low-end QB2 for the fantasy finals and a tough sell at that.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - Week 16 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 16 vs. New Orleans Saints

There may still be rust, but Deshaun Watson hasn't been as explosive as some may have thought he would be when he returned to action in Week 13. He has under 200 passing yards in two of his three games, but does at least add some rushing value. He has at least 20 rushing yards in all three games. With all that said, Watson's numbers show he's not yet back to being a full-fledged fantasy starter, even in a decent matchup against the Saints. He's a low-end QB2.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - Week 15 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 15 vs. Baltimore Ravens

Deshaun Watson shook off some of the rust as he doubled his yardage from his Week 13 return, throwing for 276 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. Early on, as expected, Watson has shown he can work in the pocket and get you rushing yards as well, averaging 27 rushing yards in his first two games as a Brown. This week, Watson faces the Ravens, a top-ten passing defense in DVOA. Watson is getting better as he starts getting the rust off, but he should still be considered a QB2 for the time-being, but one with upside.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - Week 14 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 14 at Cincinnati Bengals

The rust clearly showed for Deshaun Watson after playing in his first NFL game in over 700 days. He went 12/22 for just 131 yards but did rush 7 times for 21 yards. We'll see how much of the rust he was able to shake off after the game, as this week brings a major step up from the Houston Texans. Watson gets the Cincinnati Bengals, who just beat Patrick Mahomes yet again. Until we see more rust shaken off, Watson is a QB2 at best, but has upside thanks to his rushing ability.

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