Deshaun Watson Suspended 6 Games By NFL

for Personal Conduct Violations

We finally have some movement in the Deshaun Watson situation. This Monday morning on the 1st of August, former U.S. Dristrict Judge Sue L . Robinson came down with her recommendation that Deshaun Watson should be suspended by the NFL for six games. Now, technically that isn’t set in stone as the NFL has the final say. Roger Goodell now has three days to finalize the penalty and he could technically move it up or down. Early reports were that the NFL and Watson’s camp engaging in talks about a settlement prior to the ruling where the league wanted 12 games and a heavy fine. But for now, all we have is the ruling so all we can do is operate under the assumption that the six games will stick. Let’s take a look at how that’s going to affect the Browns schedule and our fantasy football rankings as we finish up mock draft/best ball season and head into the most important month for fantasy football drafts.


Cleveland Browns 2022 NFL Schedule 

If this ruling stands, the Browns really are making out like bandits here. Per JJ Zachariason, the Browns just so happen to have the easiest schedule in the NFL based on projected win totals (based on FanDuel Sportsbook over/unders).

Jacoby Brissett and the Browns will be facing the Panthers, Jets, Steelers, Falcons, Chargers, and Patriots. The Panthers, Steelers, and Falcons might not even be rolling out quarterbacks that are better than Brissett himself and two of the other teams have second-year QBs.  And only the Steelers are in the Browns division. Watson would then return to face division foes in the Ravens and Bengals before the bye week in Week 9.

Fantasy Football Impact

Deshaun WatsonSay what you will about his off-the-field character but, on the field, Watson has been a tremendous player. He’s been virtually a top-five quarterback in fantasy football any time he was on the field. The last time he played a full season the Texans only won four games yet Watson himself still threw for almost 5,000 yards with 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. No question he is a great player and a massive upgrade over Baker Mayfield/Jacoby Brissett.

Jacoby BrissettOnce viewed as a potentially viable option in superflex or best ball leagues, he becomes noticeably less valuable - especially since bye weeks don’t start until Week 6, the last game of the suspension. You have a very short window to utilize a player who doesn’t have a particularly high upside.

Amari CooperObviously this is a huge boost for Amari Cooper. Cooper is a prototypical split end who pushes the field vertically on the outside. In seven seasons now, he’s only had one season, in his second year, where his average depth of target (aDot) was less than 10 yards. Jacoby Brissett has an average yards per attempt of 6.4 yards and, the last time he started games for Miami, that number was 5.7 yards. Deshaun Watson has a career Y/A of 8.3 yards and the last time he started, in 2020, that was 8.9. Watson is better equipt to get the ball to Amari.

David NjokuIn our article on What Makes An Elite Tight End, we talked about how the number one key to success is being a top two target on your team. David Njoku already had the path to that possibility and an upgrade at quarterback can only improve things.

Nick ChubbNick Chubb is more on the run-heavy side of things but that doesn’t mean Watson doesn’t impact him. Running the football is often the luxury of the winning team and Watson puts them in a better position to succeed. With the ability we mentioned earlier to push the ball downfield, his presence will also make it difficult to stack the box. 

Kareem HuntIt’s an interesting situation for Hunt because it could go either way here. Your immediate reaction might be that a better offense creates more opportunities for everyone and a better distributor of the football could mean better opportunities for Hunt. On the flip side, Jacoby Brissett is the one who historically is more likely to dump the ball down. Also, Andrew Erickson mathematical proved that mobile QBs tend to dump the ball down to the RB less so either Brissett or Watson could be a downgrade for Hunt compared to Baker. I’m not necessarily moving Hunt from where I had him previously ranked. 

Donovan Peoples-JonesAs the likely field stretching flanker opposite Amari Cooper, he clearly gets a bump from Watson and his ability to find guys downfield. Watson had no trouble finding guys like Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller deep for huge chunk plays. DPJ just needs to make sure he can fend off the speeding Anthony Schwartz for those snaps. 

David BellThe rookie slot receiver finds himself in a similar position to Kareem Hunt. On one hand, Watson is a clear upgrade and that upgrade might just benefit everyone as a “rising tide lits all boats”. On the flip side, he’s likely to be in a low aDot role and Watson does like to spread the ball around and throw it deep. Low aDot players need a lot of targets to be viable.


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