Deshaun Watson has been a fantasy dilemma since the news dropped about his off-field issues. With the rumors circling yet again of a potential trade, it raises the question again- what should you do with him for fantasy? NOTE: The allegations if true are awful. Sexual assault is a serious issue that affects many people. This article doesn’t look at anything related to the allegations, with the exception of the potential for a ban/ suspension.
Issue 1- Does Watson get a ban?
Per Mike Garafolo’s tweet below it seems that he would be able to play while his legal situation plays out. Given where we are in the season, it’s, therefore, unlikely that there will be any ban that comes into place now for the season.
That makes Watson an interesting person to trade for, as he is unquestionably a top-tier QB when out on the field.
Issue 2- Can he really move the needle in Fantasy?
Outside of where he ends up, it’s fair to ask- can Watson really give you the performances you need for fantasy? Ultimately, we can’t know until we see him out on the field. What we do know is that historically Watson has been a fantasy force.
He has performed extremely well on the field for Houston, normally with below-par talent, and still finishing towards the top of QB scoring each season. He has the ability to run, which gives him a safe floor in any given week while possessing the accuracy and arm to get the ball downfield and find receivers in tight spaces.
Issue 3- Destination
Potentially the biggest thing is where does Watson end up? Watson has a public no-trade clause, meaning that he can refuse to be traded to any team. He has previously said that he would waive that to join Miami, but there are other teams that are in the mix. The teams that are currently in the mix (per reports) are:
- Carolina Panthers
- Denver Broncos
- Miami Dolphins
- Philadelphia Eagles
Of those, I think that the Dolphins and Eagles are ones that are least likely (at least logically). The Dolphins aren’t a QB away, Tua has shown his ability to keep the team moving. The defense isn’t the same strength that it was last season, and the offensive line still has some way to go. Given the amount of draft capital it would need to give up, it makes no sense.
Same with the Eagles, they have Jalen Hurts in place who isn’t stopping the team from pushing on. The Eagles have holes throughout the roster, giving up draft capital to bring in a QB (despite the upgrade) doesn’t make sense.
Then we move on to the two that I think are more realistic. Carolina and Denver are both in a position where they are on the verge of making a playoff push. Carolina is more likely, as the Sam Darnold experiment doesn’t seem like it’s working out, with his recent performances. Given the strengths that Carolina has elsewhere, they could be a real contender for Watson.
So what to do?
In a redraft league, I don’t think I’d be looking to pick him up unless I have a really deep bench, where I can afford to roster a guy for a few weeks. I would pick him up regardless of who I have at QB, because either you achieve the goal of streaming- finding a QB that you can have in your lineup each week. Or, you have a piece that you can trade to someone else.
In a dynasty league, it comes down to one thing- price. His value at the moment is on the rise, with the expectation of him being traded to a new team. At this point, if you are a contender you could (and possibly should) move him now for new pieces that can help you now. Yes, if he signs with a team his value will increase, but his value at the moment is climbing- cash in and let someone else get the (potential) increase in value.
If you are in a rebuild and you have him, I’d continue to hold him and look to trade him to a contender once he has signed. Equally, if you are in a rebuild and don’t have him, try and pick him up from a contender for a piece they can use now. Being able to cash what was essentially an empty space into something that could help them now could push them over the top.
Image Credit: Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports