Deshaun Watson
  • Deshaun Watson

  • QB
  • , Cleveland Browns
  • 29
  • 215 lbs
  • 6' 2"
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Scouting report

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.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - Week 13 Fantasy Football Outlook

Week 13 at Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson is set to make his 2022 debut after serving an 11-game suspension after being accused by over 20 women of sexual misconduct while in massage sessions. As evidenced by his press conference this week -- his first since August -- Watson is trying to focus on football and his first game as Browns quarterback. It's almost fitting that his first game is against his former team, the Houston Texans. As far as on the field, Watson gives the Browns offense more upside than Jacoby Brissett and has Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones building more confidence in the offense. Watson has QB1 upside. But you have every right not to start him for personal reasons.

by Bill Riccette

CLE QB Deshaun Watson - 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook

2022 Fantasy Upside
Now that the NFL has decided to appeal the six-game suspension given to Deshaun Watson, who knows what the status of Watson will be. But if we currently base this on his six-game suspension, 11 games of Watson still provides plenty of upside. We've seen how effective the Browns' offense was even with Baker Mayfield at quarterback. Watson expands on that potential. Not to mention, he has Amari Cooper to throw to and Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt out of the backfield. The Browns also like rookie David Bell and just extended TE David Njoku. There's excitement on the field if Watson plays.

2022 Fantasy Downside
Obviously, that is a huge "if". The NFL is appealing the suspension and there are still so many questions. Will the suspension stick at six games? Will it be extended? Will Watson even play at all? And since the league will now have control over the suspension, there is a very good chance the suspension at least, say, doubles to 12 games, if not the entire season.

2022 Bottom Line
You had to figure the NFL would appeal the suspension. They pushed for a season-long suspension. How quickly the appeals process takes will play a factor. If the appeal lingers into the regular season, Watson would be able to play. But the NFL is expected to expedite the process, so we should get an answer before the season starts. And there's no doubt many of you will not draft Watson out of personal beliefs, which is absolutely understandable. At this point, we probably shouldn't expect to see Watson in a game for at least a few months, if not more.

Deshaun Watson news