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We finally got to an outcome in the Deshaun Watson suspension saga. 11 games and five million dollars in a settlement, which means there won’t be any appeals. What do we do with this information in fantasy leagues?
Should I draft Deshaun Watson?
First of all, fantasy football is a diversion and is supposed to be fun, so if drafting Watson makes it less fun for you or otherwise the code by which you run your team precludes selecting Watson, don’t draft him. This might not even need to be said. From a cold fantasy analysis standpoint, it isn’t like the potential value of six games of Watson could significantly change your season. He is coming off of a year-plus layoff from football, playing with new teammates in a new offense, and may or may not be affected by the ordeal from an emotional, psychological, and spiritual standpoint, especially with his first game coming in Houston and the rest of his games (Weeks 14-17) in cold weather (at Cincinnati, home vs. Baltimore and New Orleans, then at Washington, which he reportedly wanted to avoid.
However, if your bench size is deep enough that carrying Watson through his suspension won’t incur a large opportunity cost of missed chances to add players on the waiver wire and your strategy is to wait until the late rounds to take your quarterback after the top 12 are gone, leaving you Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Justin Fields, Matt Ryan or even Marcus Mariota as your Week 1 starter, then Watson is worth drafting in the late rounds in the QB20-25 range and holding to see what he’s worth in the last third of the season. Our own Adam Harstad posted the math behind the idea that the fantasy football playoff weeks are much more important than the fantasy regular season weeks. The fantasy playoffs is when you’ll have an up-to-speed Watson.
Make sure your league is the type to leave a few starting quarterbacks on the waiver wire throughout the season. Alternatively, draft a third quarterback since Watson won’t help you cover any byes or injuries until December.
What about Superflex leagues?
Watson in a Superflex/2QB league is a bit different because of the increased value of quarterbacks and ability to punt your QB2 pick(s) until the later rounds and try to stack more RB/WR/TE value while others are taking quarterbacks that we wouldn’t start in a 1QB league as early as the 3rd/4th round. He’s more of an 8th-11th round value in that format. He fits well in a QB2 by committee approach, again assuming that bench size decreases the waiver wire opportunity cost of having a spot tied up through the first two-thirds of the season with no hopes of covering injuries or byes or otherwise contributing to your fantasy team.
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