Deshaun Watson has been a frustrating investment for fantasy managers, as he’s been in and out of the lineup with injuries and has struggled to produce solid fantasy points consistently.
However, in Week 10, we saw glimpses of what Watson could be and he seemed to have his fantasy stock rising! All of that came to a screeching halt on Wednesday morning as it was announced that Watson would miss the remainder of the 2023 NFL season with a shoulder injury.
Fantasy Impact of the Deshaun Watson Injury
Jerome Ford, RB
Jerome Ford has been a solid investment for fantasy managers after the devastating Nick Chubb injury early on this season. He’s been producing as a solid RB2. As we sit here going into Week 11, Ford’s the RB21 on the season in half-PPR scoring formats, and he’s averaging a solid 11.3 fantasy points per contest.
While he’s been sharing work with Kareem Hunt recently, Ford’s still been a viable option and has been a big reason why the Browns offense has done as well as it has lately.
With P.J. Walker or Dorian Thompson-Robinson as the QB for the rest of the way for Cleveland, Ford should see his scoring opportunities dry up as this offense is going to struggle to move the ball routinely. However, the volume may increase as the Browns look to keep the ball out of the hands of their less-talented QBs.
Ford should continue to be viewed as a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 in fantasy moving forward due to his projected volume.
Amari Cooper, WR
The biggest faller in the rankings with this news is Cooper, who is going to struggle to provide consistent production with the backup QBs — whoever it may be — in Cleveland. While we saw Cooper dominate the target share earlier this season when Watson was sidelined, the scoring opportunities were non-existent.
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While Cooper was able to see 25 targets in the three games that Watson missed earlier this year, he averaged just 3.66 receptions for 71 yards and no touchdowns in that time frame. He should continue to be featured and relied on in this passing game, but the upside that he offered with Watson trending in the right direction has disappeared.
Cooper moves to a mid-range WR3 with this news and he may move even further down the rankings if Cleveland heads into some tough matchups down the stretch.
Elijah Moore, WR
Elijah Moore has done very little so far this season to warrant consideration in starting fantasy lineups, but a solid Week 10 performance where he found the end zone had him on the radar as a solid waiver wire add this week.
That immediately changes Wednesday with the news that Walker or DTR will be throwing him the ball for the remainder of the year. In the three games that Watson missed earlier this season, Moore failed to record more than 30 receiving yards in any contest. He can now be let go back to your waiver wire.
David Njoku, TE
The one player who actually may not move all that much in the rest-of-season fantasy rankings with this news is David Njoku at the TE position. Over the three games that Watson was watching from the sideline earlier this season, Njoku recorded 19 total targets and had fantasy finishes of the TE17, TE21, and TE5.
At the TE position, volume is king, and Njoku remained heavily involved regardless of who was throwing him the ball. If you’re looking for a player to potentially invest in as people may be panicking, Njoku’s a fine streaming option for the remainder of the year.
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