Draft Day Decision: Is Deshaun Watson Worth A Fourth Round Selection? Don’t Be So Quick To Reach…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

No one is going to argue against what the Texans’ Watson did when he was on the field as a rookie, completing 61.8% of his passes (126-204) while throwing for 1,699 yards, 19 TD and 8 INT.  The question is, what should that cost us on draft day?  Fantasy owners seem willing to buy, despite only playing seven games last season after suffering a torn ACL:

  • Current ADP – QB2 (ADP – 39.7)
  • Current Rotoprofessor Ranking – QB6

He should have a strong supporting cast around him, especially with one of the elite wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins giving him a weapon that can consistently make plays (along with Will Fuller starting on the other side).  The combination of Lamar Miller and D’Onta Freeman should help to keep defenses honest, as they have to honor the running game…

That’s part of the problem.  Not the running game itself, per se, but one of Watson’s biggest values was in his ability to use his legs both to run the football (269 yards and 2 TD) and keep plays alive while under pressure.  As Walter Football noted prior to the draft:

“Watson has some strengths for the NFL that cause many to compare him to Dak Prescott. Like Prescott, Watson has great intangibles as a hard worker with good character off the field and leadership in the locker room. They both bring toughness and mobility to the table. When plays break down, they can use his athleticism to pick up yards on the ground and also can avoid sacks.”

Given the torn ACL, which is his second over the past four years, can we expect the same type of explosiveness and elusiveness?  He was able to recover from the first while in college, which is promising, but that only compounds things.  There were questions about his accuracy coming out of college, and if he isn’t going to be able to make the same types of plays with his legs the upside and value could be limited.

We’ve seen this type of quarterback struggle after getting injured before (i.e. Robert Griffin III), and while we aren’t going to make any direct comparisons it’s a warning tale that can’t go ignored.  It’s not to say that Watson is a bad selection, and obviously we still like him enough to keep him ranked just outside the Top 5 quarterbacks in the league.  However there’s a lot of risk and reaching for him in the third or fourth round brings far too much risk to justify the potential reward.

Sources – ESPN, Walter Football, Fantasy Pros

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings:

Position
Date Updated
Quarterback07/02/18
Running Back08/13/18
Wide Receiver 07/16/18
Tight End07/19/18
Kicker--
Defense08/09/18
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