Will the Cleveland Browns be without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson when they face the division-rival Baltimore Ravens in Week 4? The latest injury updates on Watson haven’t been encouraging — what does his practice participation mean for his injury status on Sunday?
Deshaun Watson Injury Update
Watson took a hard hit to his right shoulder in the Browns’ Week 3 win over the Tennessee Titans. He didn’t throw during Wednesday’s practice in an attempt to rest his shoulder.
On Thursday, Watson did some “light throwing” at practice but still didn’t practice fully. He was listed as a limited participant on both days.
The pattern continued on Friday. Watson threw just two balls during the portion of Cleveland’s practice open to the media before stopping to speak with the Browns’ trainer. He also appeared to be wearing something on his right shoulder, per Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 29, 2023
Cleveland officially listed Watson as questionable for Sunday’s game. The club has remained optimistic about Watson’s status all week, and head coach Kevin Stefanski maintained that tenor on Friday, noting the Browns are “hopeful” Watson will be able to suit up.
For his part, Watson told reporters he expects to face the Ravens on Sunday but didn’t want to elaborate on his health.
Watson played arguably his best game as a Brown in Week 3, completing 27 of 33 attempts for 289 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in Cleveland’s first contest without running back Nick Chubb.
If Watson can’t play against the Ravens on Sunday, rookie fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson — who thrived in the preseason — would take over as the Browns’ QB1. Cleveland would elevate PJ Walker from its practice squad to serve as DTR’s backup.
Fantasy Fallout From Watson’s Injury
If Watson is not able to suit up in Week 4, the Browns would be forced to move to Thompson-Robinson as the next man up. While Watson hasn’t been performing at an elite level this season, he’s certainly an upgrade for the Browns’ receiving weapons compared to a rookie QB.
If DTR is forced to start for Cleveland this week, Amari Cooper will slide down the rankings to a low-end WR2, but he’d still be a fine volume play for fantasy football. However, Elijah Moore would become an incredibly risky start, while David Njoku would remain outside the top 12 TEs on the week. There would likely be better options to go after at the TE position on the waiver wire.
— PFN Fantasy Director Kyle Yates