It’s been a while since we’ve seen the version of Deshaun Watson who was a reliable fantasy football performer. You have to go all the way back to his days with the Houston Texans for that. Now, entering his second season as the Cleveland Browns’ franchise quarterback, with a massive contract to go with it, all eyes are on the three-time Pro Bowler to see if he can produce at a level consistent with expectations.
2023 Fantasy Football: Deshaun Watson Profile
Recap of 2022 season
Watson got back on the field in Week 13 after his suspension, playing six games with his new team with underwhelming results. He threw for 1,107 yards and just seven touchdowns to go with five picks. He completed slightly more than 58 percent of his passes, a career low. On the ground, he picked up 175 yards and one score.
Updated Cleveland Browns outlook
Despite being hamstrung by Watson’s contract and a lack of draft picks thanks to the trade to acquire him, the Browns weren’t exactly idle in the offseason. They made moves to shore up the defense and swung a deal with the New York Jets to bring in wideout Elijah Moore, giving the offense someone who can be a very good slot receiver.
Still, it’s hard to see the Browns doing anything more than hovering around the .500 mark in 2023. Their schedule is tough by default, thanks to playing in the AFC North where the Cincinnati Bengals are light years ahead of them and the Baltimore Ravens in front of them too.
Watson will only be 28 years old in September, so he’s hardly washed up. It’s not hard to think that last year’s numbers were more about shaking off the rust from being off the field since 2020. The best-case scenario here is that Watson can bounce back to the kind of numbers he more consistently produced with 4,000+ passing yards and something around 30 touchdown passes, along with five or so on the ground.
We got a glimpse of the worst-case scenario last season. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that we see something more akin to that version of Watson. He could continue to struggle to get on the same page with receivers. Plus, the Browns could ride the run game featuring Nick Chubb, one of the premier backs in the NFL.
That’s a lot of contract to live up to, so if he’s not in the MVP conversation, it could be a disappointment to the Browns. However, Watson should be able to play better than he did last year, making him at least a reliable starter in fantasy football lineups for 2023.