As we close in toward the new season, the ever-changing NFL landscape has player fantasy values constantly on the move, with key events like free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft still to come. Whether you’re used to the dynasty platform or are still learning the rules, let’s dive into the latest dynasty fantasy football value of QB Deshaun Watson.
Deshaun Watson’s Dynasty Outlook and Value
Watson was by far the most polarizing player coming into the 2022 season, and for a good reason, following a laundry list of off-field issues that dominated the headlines.
Having not played since 2020, Watson’s original six-game suspension ultimately settled at 11 games, and he didn’t make his Cleveland Browns debut until Week 13. Of course, it would be against the Houston Texans.
The rust was apparent. Watson threw for 131 yards and also tossed an interception in his first game with the Browns. In addition to completing 12 of 22 passes, he ran seven times for 21 yards. This was a pattern we saw repeated over the season.
Watson completed 90 of his 170 passing attempts for 1,102 yards and seven touchdowns against five interceptions in his six games, adding an additional 175 yards and a score on 36 rushing attempts. Watson was 19th in xFPTs at -1.12, and, between Weeks 13 through 18, was the QB16 overall and 20th in points per game at 14.2 PPR.
Watson did string together back-to-back top-eight performances to close the season out, but he was 20th or worse in three of his first four games. Additionally, Watson was 33rd of 40 qualified QBs in CPOE+EPA, behind the likes of Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson.
But that is not the type of player we know Watson could be or has been in the past. Before 2022, Watson never averaged fewer than 21.3 points per game in a season, and his “lowest” finish was as the QB5 overall. From a talent perspective, Watson is a top-five QB, and I cannot get my head around the possibility he simply forgot how to play football.
Deshaun Watson’s Fantasy Ranking
Regardless of what you think of the person, Watson is absolutely a buy-low candidate for dynasty. He’s currently being valued in the QB11 to QB13 range, which is about two tiers lower than his actual value. It also runs in line with the current updated rankings, which have Watson as the QB10 just ahead of Kyler Murray.
They are both a coinflip at this spot in the rankings, but the 2023 season is in Watson’s favor as Murray works back from injury, plus the concern of the offense and lack of weapons if/when DeAndre Hopkins leaves. When it comes to Superflex drafts, where QBs have substantially more value compared to 1QB formats, Watson is the No. 24 overall ranked player.
Watson needs a full offseason of training and practices that he has not had in the last few years. If Cleveland can bring in one or two more weapons for him, it only raises his floor for dynasty.
Ideally, the Browns would be a high-tempo, passing-forward team, but that has not been the case in quite some time, especially under Kevin Stefanski. Last season alone, Cleveland was 25th in passing percentage (52.33%) and 17th in pace at 27.4 seconds per snap. But I do expect to see Watson back closer to his old self in 2023.
If Cleveland adds another weapon to give him a third high-end option alongside Amari Cooper and David Njoku, Watson is going to be a steal, and at 27 years old, he can be a long-term solution for your QB spot.
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