We are almost through week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, and this football year has been a big one. There have been quite a few twists and turns, ups and downs, lefts and rights, many tough injuries, and spectacular breakouts. As I have done monthly with Dynasty League Football, I will be giving you dynasty advice on two fantasy football players, and how to look at their rest of season and long-term value. This article will be about Deshaun Watson and Christian Watson.
Deshaun Watson, QB, CLE
Deshaun Watson has only played one game of football since January 3rd, 2021. He looked unsurprisingly rusty in his return against the Texans, but what should we expect going forward? At one point he was looked at as the future of the QB position. He was the Joe Burrow or Josh Allen of today. Everyone believed he would be the Texans’ starter for a long time, especially after signing a massive four-year contract with the Texans for 160 million dollars in 2020. However, as we all know now, things went south.
Bill O’Brien made a horrific trade involving DeAndre Hopkins, sending him and a fourth-round pick for a washed RB David Johnson and a second-round pick. JJ Watt was also sent to the Arizona Cardinals later. The Texans also hired a new coaching staff without Watson’s consent. He then demanded a trade and those demands did not get met before the 2021 season. Between all of that and the messy legal situation with all of the accusations against him for sexual misconduct, he did not play a snap for the Texans in 2022, who limped their way to a four-win season.
This past off-season, the Cleveland Browns traded multiple first-round picks and more for Deshaun Watson and then signed him to a five-year contract worth a fully guaranteed 230 million dollars. He was suspended by the NFL for eleven games and returned to play football last weekend against his former team.
As much as I want to dislike him as a human being for what he has allegedly done, we’ll instead focus on looking at the fantasy football outlook on this new Browns offense. He has pieces around him ready for success. With Donavan Peoples-Jones and Amari Cooper at wide receiver, Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb in the backfield, and that offensive line, Watson has a very good core to work with.
With everything that has transpired between no football for nearly two years and the messy legal situation, I would caution against believing Watson will reach the full potential that he showed in his Houston days this season, and possibly even in years to come as well. Sure, it is possible he warms up quickly and is back to being that elite quarterback. However, if I had to bet money I would bet against him reaching that elite level ever again. I cannot prove this take with statistics or analytics, it is more of a gut call for me. Watching how he has handled everything over the past two years, he has shown a lack of maturity. The Cleveland Browns organization has also not shown they can be trustworthy over the last handful of seasons.
So in dynasty fantasy football, if you do have Watson, I would find a manager that still believes that he is at that elite level and sell him for that elite price range. You may need to wait for a big game or two, but if you’re able to sell him at those values you are removing risk from your roster. If you want to pursue him in a trade, you may be able to get him at a lower price if others have these same concerns. You must be cautious, and understand that there are risks with him and that you should not be paying top dollar.
Christian Watson, WR, GB
As a rookie, Christian Watson has had a roller coaster ride of a season. He started off his NFL career pretty poorly. He dropped an easy 75-yard touchdown in week one, struggled with more drops through the year, and also dealt with a couple of injuries. He did not make much of an impact on the Green Bay offense through the first nine weeks. However, he has since turned it around. He has been an electric playmaker for the Packers over the past few weeks. The second-round pick out of North Dakota State has put up fifteen catches for 333 yards and seven receiving touchdowns over the course of weeks 10-13.
Let us address the elephant in the room. Christian Watson will not catch touchdowns on 50% of his catches. He will not be able to keep up this unrealistic touchdown rate going forward. However, there are many reasons to be very excited about his future.
Allen Lazard will be a free agent this coming off-season. If he in fact moves to a different team, and the Packers do not add any significant competition, Watson will have a very easy time getting to be the number one wide receiver on the Green Bay Packers. Even if Lazard does sign a long-term contract, it seems like Watson has already taken the number one job. Stepping into his second season, it should not be too difficult for him to keep it in 2023.
Some may believe Watson is not up for that challenge. I believe this to be false. He is built to be a number one wide receiver. He stands at six feet, five inches, and weighs just under 210 pounds. He has got size, and speed, running a 4.36 forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He showed us that breakaway speed multiple times this year, especially against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. He took a pass over the middle from Jordan Love, took it to the left sideline, and went all the way to the house from around 50 yards out. Watson can separate, can block well, and he is almost everything you want out of a wide receiver.
With the level of production we have seen from him over the past few weeks, he has shown us that he can produce in the big leagues. This was the only major concern with him as a prospect because he had little college production at a small school.
In dynasty fantasy football, buy or hold Christian Watson. Obviously, this is not a buy low situation, you are going to have to pay up. However, there is still immense upside to be had at his current late 2023 first area of cost in a super flex format. There are a lot of things in his future that show upside, and people only after four weeks of real production are still questioning his abilities. I am personally all in, and I suggest you be too.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Come back next month for more “What Should You Do”.
- 2022 Rookie Wide Receiver Reactions: Part One - March 16, 2023
- 2022 Rookie Running Back Reactions: Part Two - March 6, 2023
- 2022 Rookie Running Back Reactions: Part One - February 20, 2023