2022 Browns Fantasy Football Preview: How does Deshaun Watson’s suspension impact their outlook?

The Browns took a giant swing this offseason in buying and selling for Deshaun Watson, who did not play final season and can be suspended for the primary six weeks of the season because of the NFL’s investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. That supplies some readability for an offense that was nearly not possible to evaluate with out it.

2021 Review

Records: 8-9 (19)
PPG: 20.5 (20)27.1 (7)
YPG: 340.6 (18)
Pass YPG: 195.3 (27)
Rush YPG: 145.4 (4)
PAPG: 30.6 (28)
RAPG: 28.5 (9)

2021 Fantasy finishes

QB: Baker Mayfield QB25
RB: Nick Chubb RB13, Kareem Hunt RB50
WR: Jarvis Landry* WR51, Donovan Peoples-Jones WR63
TE: David Njoku TE22, Austin Hooper TE24
*No longer with staff

Number to know: 1

That’s what number of instances Nick Chubb reached double digits in Fantasy scoring final season in video games the place he did not rating a landing. It’s not fairly proper to say he is a “touchdown-or-bust” participant — and it would not actually be a good critique, given how a lot of a focus he’s close to the purpose line and the way typically he scores — however so long as he stays successfully a non-factor within the passing sport, Chubb goes to be extra reliant on discovering the tip zone than simply about any top-tier working again within the sport.

That limits each his ground and ceiling on a weekly and season-long foundation. Could he be a top-five working again in PPR scoring? Yeah, most likely, however the path there’s a slim one — he would wish to remain wholesome for each sport and doubtless be within the high two or three in each dashing yards and touchdowns. And even that may not be sufficient — he was second within the league in dashing yards in simply 14 video games final season and was RB12 in per-game scoring at a comparatively paltry 15.5.

Of course, Chubb is simply RB11 in ADP at NFC proper now, so his worth is greater than truthful for the form of participant he’s. There’s room for him to outperform that ADP, nevertheless it most likely requires him to seek out the tip zone a good quantity greater than he did final season, and that is the place it will get considerably robust for me to justify focusing on him forward of the likes of Aaron Jones, Saquon Barkley or Leonard Fournette. Any a type of gamers may discover their approach to a dozen touchdowns, arguably simply as simply as Chubb — particularly for the video games Jacoby Brissett is at QB — they usually all may triple Chubb’s reception totals.

This issues much less in non-PPR codecs, though you’d nonetheless really feel higher about Chubb’s possibilities of having a giant landing whole should you felt higher concerning the state of the Browns offense for the entire season. All in all, Chubb looks as if a superbly tremendous choose across the finish of the second spherical, however most likely one with little upside to emerge as a big worth.

2021 Offseason

Draft Picks

3. (68) Martin Emerson, CB
3. (78) Alex Wright, DE
3. (99) David Bell, WR
4. (108) Perrion Winfrey, DT
4. (124) Cade York, Ok
5. (156) Jerome Ford, RB
6. (202) Michael Woods, WR
7. (223) Isaiah Thomas, DE
7. (246) Dawson Deaton, OL

Additions

QB Deshaun Watson, WR Amari Cooper, WR Jakeem Grant, OL Chris Hubbard, LB Anthony Walker, QB Jacoby Brissett, DE Chase Winovich

Key losses

WR Jarvis Landry, C JD Tretter, DE Jadeveon Clowney, TE Austin Hooper, DE Takkarist McKinley, DL Malik Jackson, CJ Uzomah

Available Opportunity

0 carries, 0 RB targets, 168 WR targets, 61 TE targets

2022 Preview

Rankings

Chris Towers’ projections

QB Deshaun Watson PA: 350, YD: 2665, TD: 19, INT: 9; RUSH — ATT: 52, YD: 287, TD: 3
QB Jacoby Brissett PA: 180, YD: 1267, TD: 8, INT: 5; RUSH — ATT: 28, YD: 90, TD: 2
RB Nick Chubb CAR: 237, YD: 1187, TD: 12, TAR: 27, REC: 23, YD: 196, TD: 1
RB Kareem Hunt CAR: 142, YD: 641, TD: 7, TAR: 60, REC: 50, YD: 394, TD: 2
WR Amari Cooper TAR: 132, REC: 84, YD: 1022, TD: 7
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones TAR: 88, REC: 51, YD: 765, TD: 4
WR Anthony Schwartz TAR: 51, REC: 33, YD: 452, TD: 2
TE David Njoku TAR: 81, REC: 57, YD: 756, TD: 4

Biggest Question

How will Deshaun Watson’s absence and subsequent return impact issues?

This is a troublesome query to reply, besides to say that I anticipate the Browns to be much more run-heavy with Jacoby Brissett than regular. I’m working underneath the idea that the Browns will attempt to management the clock and restrict Brissett’s publicity, particularly for the primary 4 video games, which characteristic a fairly comfortable schedule. Once Watson is eligible to return, they will begin passing extra, however most likely nonetheless much less typically than your common staff — partially due to Watson’s scrambling capacity and partially as a result of that is simply how this staff appears to wish to function on offense. Still, Watson has been a traditionally environment friendly passer and figures to boost the extent of the offense. Of course, there’s nonetheless the query of a potential NFL attraction of the suspension ruling in addition to the query of how Watson will play after a yr and a half away. There’s not less than just a little little bit of threat there.

One sleeper, one breakout and one bust

Peoples-Jones can be an actual breakout candidate if Watson had been enjoying a complete season, however even with Brissett set to begin the primary third, he is somebody I’m focused on as a late-round flier. Peoples-Jones flashed upside as a big-play receiver final season, averaging a league-best 17.6 yards per catch, and he was displaying indicators of figuring issues out over a stretch in the course of the season the place he averaged 60 yards on 3.3 catches per sport, with three touchdowns in six video games. Peoples-Jones is unlikely to ever be greater than a touchdown-or-bust receiver until this passing sport takes a giant step ahead general, however the 23-year-old could possibly be a high-upside bench piece if he breaks out.

With Austin Hooper and his 61 targets out of the way in which, Njoku figures to step in because the staff’s major tight finish. He’ll share the sector with Harrison Bryant loads, however Njoku ought to be one of many staff’s high choices within the passing sport, and if he can push to one thing like 90 targets, there’s an opportunity he is a viable beginning choice at tight finish this season . He’s at all times had the scale and athleticism to be a distinction maker on the place, and whereas this figures to stay a reasonably low-volume move offense but once more, it isn’t unreasonable to assume Njoku could possibly be the No. 2 receiver right here, with the potential for career-best numbers.

There goes to be somebody who talks themselves into Watson, as a result of there is not any query he has loads of upside when he is ready to play. However, think about this: He returns in Week 7 towards a troublesome Ravens protection having not performed since 2020, so I’m undecided I’ll really feel all that good about beginning him then. Maybe I’ll in Week 8 towards the Bengals, however then he has a bye in Week 9, so … I’d really feel assured about beginning Watson as soon as within the first two months of the season? I typically do not love taking a number of quarterbacks, however you may have to take action with Watson — who will not be IR eligible, in order that’s a lifeless bench spot for crucial waiver-wire weeks of the season. Watson may nonetheless be value all of that if he performs like a top-five QB within the second half, however the juice is probably not definitely worth the squeeze right here.

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