• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Replacing Watson

By Joseph Goodwin

Now that we know there is a 6 game suspension for Deshaun Watson (which appears he will accept), how do fantasy managers proceed in drafting Watson?

First of all, be prepared for any draft that is about to happen, that the Watson stock is going to skyrocket.  I anticipate seeing Watson’s value rise to a low end QB 1 in the next few days; QB 10 or higher off the board.

If you are targeting Watson as your long term QB 1, before drafting your short term starter, consider the following:

Risk Aversion Level 1-3 (you want little risk)

You need a viable QB 1.  You cannot throw away half your season waiting for Watson to return.  You will need a legitimate starting quarterback to maintain a 4-2 or 5-1 pace to start the season.  Going 3-3 (or worse) does not bode well for your playoff chances in a 12 game regular season.  Instead, I would target the likes of : Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers. These choices are safe, reliable starting QB 1’s, but may require an investment earlier in drafts to secure than the scenarios below.  

Risk Aversion Level 4-6 (you don’t mind some risk)

You need a viable QB 1, but have a little more room for volatility.  In this scenario, you may be able to wait a tad longer on your QB 1 and target Kirk Cousins or Matthew Stafford.  Each QB will provide stable, fantasy point production through game 6 until Watson returns.  This scenario allows you to spend more of your early round draft capital on RB, WR to maximize your team’s scoring potential.  I excluded Derek Carr from this group due to his week 6 bye. This plan gives you an extra round or two from the 12 game plan to add depth to your other starting positions.

Threat Level Midnight

This option provides the most opportunity to swing for the fences and can include players like: Tua Tagovaiola, Justin Fields, and Trevor Lawrence.  This plan offers the chance to load up on RB, WR, and TE; with a potential start: RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, WR, RB, WR before even thinking about the QB position. This plan can be a huge upside play.  A manager can plan on having Watson for 7 games before the playoffs, with the hopes of Tua, Justin, or Trevor provide adequate early season production to keep the team at 3-3 before Deshaun returns.

In all of these scenarios, Watson returning for game 7 against the Ravens should be the start to high end fantasy production from all of your starting positions.

My favorite among these scenarios is Matthew Stafford.  He provides solid QB play with a small amount of risk. My second favorite is Tua Tagovailoa.  Tua offers a solid 6 week opening and the added bonus of playing the Bears during Watson’s bye week.

In any of these scenarios, your risk tolerance and early round build are crucial to how you approach what QB to pair with Watson.  

Deshaun Watson could very well be a league winner if you find the proper compliment at QB.

Know your settings, schedule, and evaluate your tolerance to volatility in making this decision.

And win that title!