Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

QB - CLE
Height: 6-2
Weight: 215 lbs
Age: 28
College: Clemson
Cleveland Browns

2023 Season Outlooks

Less popular than he was three years ago, Watson sizes up as a Draft Day bargain. Cleveland's signal-caller was juuust good enough at the end of 2022 -- 24.8 Fantasy points over his final two games -- for us to be mildly optimistic. Offseason additions to the receiving corps and a strong O-line help his cause, as does Watson's modest per-game rush average (29.2) landing close to his career average (31.1). It's not all good news as Watson posted career-worsts in 2022 in attempts per game, completion rate, yards per attempt and TD rate, and in four years, play caller Kevin Stefanski has never dialed up pass plays more than 54% of the time. Watson is a solid bounce-back candidate who might not throw as much as you'd like but does have a good enough supporting cast to land competitive numbers (especially with an easier-than-expected schedule). He's safest as the 10th, 11th or 12th quarterback off the board.

Watson played some of the worst football of his career in 2022 after nearly two years away from the game due to off-field issues.

It’s tough to say whether or not he’ll get back to the borderline-MVP caliber play he once displayed as a member of the Texans. Regardless, fantasy managers should bet on the talent of the ex-superstar in 2023 drafts in hopes of a rebound effort.

What We Learned Last YearWatson entered 2022 serving an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy stemming from numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. He subsequently returned in Week 13 of the season and started the final six games.He finished the year as the QB36 overall, with an average of 14.3 fantasy points per game.Watson registered a pair of top-12 weekly finishes in Weeks 17 and 18 but otherwise finished as a QB2 or worse in his four other games played.He didn’t reach 300 passing yards in any of his six games.It’s worth noting that the former 1st-round NFL draft pick had not played in a game since the end of the 2020 season between his off-field issues and a falling out with the Texans organization that led to a trade request.From 2017-2020, Watson ranked:2nd among QBs in total fantasy points3rd in fantasy points per game (22.04)4th in total rushing yards (1,677)5th in rushing TDs (18)
What to Expect in 2023We’re not in the business of telling fantasy managers how to feel about players from the standpoint of ethics or morality. Purely from a football standpoint, Watson is a very talented QB with plenty of room to improve upon a subpar 2022 return campaign.At his best, the former Clemson product is a dual-threat QB with the upside to finish as a top-5 fantasy contributor at the position.The Browns bolstered the offense around Watson by trading for former Jets WR Elijah Moore and drafting WR Cedric Tillman with the 74th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.Whether or not Watson can regain his pre-controversy form is on his shoulders. The weapons are all there for him at his disposal. Assuming everything clicks, we expect him to be a solid low-end QB1 in fantasy in 2023.

The 2023 season will be Watson's first as Cleveland's full-time starter. The former Texan was suspended for 11 games last season and struggled upon his return, ranking 22nd in fantasy points per game. On the plus side, he finished strong with his only two top-eight weekly finishes and he was his usual productive self with his legs (fourth at QB in rushing yards during six active weeks). Watson, who was a top-five fantasy QB in three straight seasons prior to missing 2021, is a good bet to improve in his second season with the Browns. He'll be working behind a good offensive line and has a solid group of targets led by Amari Cooper and David Njoku. It's safest to view Watson as a fringe QB1, but he has elite upside.

2023 Fantasy Football Rankings

Standard

#99

PPR

#100

Half-PPR

#81

Superflex

#29

2023 Fantasy Football Draft Projections

Pass Yds Pass TD Pass Int Rush Yds Rush TD
3903.1 24.3 12.1 448.9 4.0

2023 Average Draft Position (ADP)

Standard

#86

Pick 8.02

PPR

#87

Pick 8.03

Half-PPR

#83

Pick 7.11

Superflex

#30

Pick 3.06

Injury Risk

Injury Risk:
Low

Depth Chart

Depth Chart Not Available

Strength of Schedule

Average/Tough Season Ahead
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13
14
Fantasy Playoffs
15
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18

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