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Fantasy fallout: Impact of Deshaun Watson suspension for Browns

The Browns offensive skill players should take a fantasy football hit without their starting QB

Nick Chubb #24 of the Cleveland Browns talks with Kareem Hunt #27 during the Cleveland Browns mandatory minicamp at FirstEnergy Stadium on June 16, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The NFL, NFLPA and Deshaun Watson have settled on an 11-game suspension, meaning we won’t see Watson until Week 13 when the Browns take on Watson’s old team the Texans. That will give him six games with the Browns to end the season, but those first 11 games are a huge chunk for

Impact on quarterbacks

Jacoby Brissett was brought in to be Watson’s backup this season and now is in line to start for 11 games. The team could still go after Jimmy Garoppolo and hope they can be in a position to make the playoffs with Watson playing the final six games. But, they easily could stick with Brissett, who hasn’t shown much as a starter. He has shown the ability to be a capable backup and with a good Browns roster, they could still be poised for a late run, but there isn’t much hope for good fantasy numbers.

Impact on running backs

The Browns will again look to get their offense rolling on the ground and that means a lot of Nick Chubb with some Kareem Hunt thrown in. Unfortunately, the offense won’t be close to as efficient as it would be with Watson, so we can’t expect a ton of touchdowns from Chubb, but there’s also no reason to knock him down much in the rankings. He’s put up good numbers with Baker Mayfield and a good run blocking offensive line in the past, and that shouldn’t change this season.

Impact on tight end and receivers

This is where we’ll see the biggest impact, as the Browns will have trouble gettin Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Njoku big target numbers and receptions around the end zone. Cooper should see the bulk of the targets, but they won’t all be on-target with Brissett at the helm. Their average draft position will likely drop with this news, so they could get to a spot worth drafting, but their upside will remain low.