2022 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Deshaun Watson’s suspension provides some clarity for the Browns offense

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson shall be suspended for the first six video games of the 2022 season for violating the league’s personal-conduct coverage, in line with a number of reviews Tuesday morning. The resolution presents some clarity on Watson’s availability following a sequence of disciplinary hearings stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct by 24 ladies.

That is not essentially the closing phrase, as the NFL might nonetheless select to enchantment the resolution, however as of now, it seems Watson shall be out there for Week 7 towards the Ravens and past.

The provides some clarity on the Fantasy outlook for Watson and the remainder of the Browns, with Jacoby Brissett set to open the season as the beginning quarterback for what seems to be like a comparatively mushy schedule: at the Panthers, vs. the Jets and Steelers, at the Falcons, after which dwelling vs. the Chargers and Patriots. There are a number of powerful matchups in there, clearly, however the Chargers and Patriots are the solely ones of the crew’s first six matchups who ranked in the prime 10 in the league in scoring final yr.

Which means it is unlikely Nick Chubb goes to get game-scripted out of any of those matchups. And, whereas the Browns could choose for a extra pass-heavy method when Watson is cleared to play, they determine to lean very closely on Chubb and Kareem Hunt with Brissett at QB. Chubb has high-end RB2 enchantment with a excessive weekly flooring, whereas Hunt is a flex possibility. I do not anticipate the Browns to place up big offensive numbers in the time Brissett begins, even with a mushy schedule, however the working sport figures to hold them in that point. Chubb stays a powerful RB2 for the season, and the solely cause he is not larger is as a result of he simply would not catch many passes. But you may seemingly by no means be upset that you’ve him in your crew.

Because, whereas Brissett is a tremendous backup, there is a cause he is been a profession backup. He has averaged 6.4 yards per try for his profession, together with simply 5.7 on 225 makes an attempt with the Dolphins final season, when he began 5 video games. All in all, he performed 88% of the snaps or extra in 5 video games for Dolphins, and in these 5 video games, he averaged 220 yards on 40.2 makes an attempt per sport with 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

Which is to say, expectations must be fairly low for the Browns passing sport with Brissett at QB — he is my lowest-ranked QB for the season amongst Week 1 starters. They determine to be very conservative, and we noticed final season how Brissett held Jaylen Waddle again – Waddle had 253 yards in these 5 video games, with no touchdowns.

Amari Cooper is a special type of participant than Waddle, clearly, and it is a completely different offense than Miami’s, however my expectations for Cooper are fairly muted with Brissett as his QB – he’ll be a WR3 for Fantasy in my rankings for these first six weeks

After that, nonetheless, Cooper’s upside is significantly larger. Will Fuller averaged 71 yards with eight touchdowns in 11 video games with Watson in 2020, and that type of manufacturing is properly inside attain for a participant with Cooper’s ability set. Cooper has top-12 upside when Watson is cleared to play.

Donovan Peoples-Jones might be the closest comparability to Fuller by way of play model – his 17.6 yards per catch final season was one in every of the highest marks in the league. He’ll be the clear No. 2 receiver behind Cooper however has some severe sleeper enchantment with a transparent path to starting-caliber Fantasy manufacturing with Watson. I’ll be stashing Peoples-Jones on the finish of my bench with a late-round decide – if I can keep affected person sufficient to attend by way of what’s going to seemingly be six fairly mediocre weeks with Brissett at QB.

As for Watson’s worth in Fantasy, clearly, you are going to take a zero from him for the first six weeks, after which there’s the query of whether or not he’ll be rusty after not taking part in in any respect since the 2020 season – and do not forget that whereas he is collaborating in coaching camp proper now, he additionally did not apply final season with the Texans.

So, some rustiness is not surprising, and he will get a tricky touchdown spot at Baltimore in his first sport again. I’m unsure I’d really feel tremendous nice about the prospects of beginning him in that one with out having seen him play. He will get the Bengals the following week after which a bye in Week 9, so realistically, chances are you’ll not really feel assured beginning him till Week 10, though even a best-case state of affairs means you are leaving him in your bench for seven of the first 9 weeks of the season.

Of course, then you definately may have an effect quarterback for the stretch run, which is one thing you want in Fantasy as of late. Whether you are prepared to cope with what’s successfully a lifeless roster spot for most of the first two months of the season – a time when you have to be churning by way of roster spots trying for difference-makers on the wire – is as much as you. If you may pair Watson with somebody like Derek Carr or Kirk Cousins ​​– a high-floor Fantasy QB with some intriguing upside of his personal – then spending a few picks round a hundredth total could be price contemplating.

I’m slotting Watson in as my QB19 in the rankings, in a tier behind Justin Fields, Jameis Winston, and Tua Tagovailoa, all three of whom have fairly intriguing upside with availability for 17 video games. Watson must be higher than any of these guys when he performs, however the missed time places him behind them for me.

Chances are, somebody will take Watson earlier than then, but it surely will not be me. I’m extra more likely to attempt to snag Cooper (WR20 for me), Peoples-Jones (WR61), or David Njoku (TE14) if I desire a piece of what must be a much-improved Browns offense in the second half. Speaking of Njoku, he has particular late-round tight finish upside coming off a season the place he posted a career-best effectivity, sporting the fifth-largest contract for a good finish, and with Austin Hooper out of the image. And I’ll be trying to buy-low on all three after the first month in the event that they get off to gradual begins, too. That’s the place I believe the greatest worth will come from on this offense in 2022.

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