Name: DeShaun Watson
Age: 22 years old (turns 23 in September)
Team: Houston Texans
2017 Stats: 7 games, 1699 yards passing, 19 TD, 8 INT. 36 rushes for 269 yds, 2 TD.
2018 Projections: 16 games, 3,692 yards passing, 26 TD, 16 INT. 77 rushes for 456 yds, 3 TD.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Rank (FantasyPros): QB2
Injury: DeShaun Watson was setting the NFL on fire starting on October 1 against the Titans, where he threw for 283 yards and was responsible for 5 TDs (4 pass, 1 rush), and mind-you he was replaced by Tom Savage in the 4Q in a blowout win. The following week he accounted for another 5 TDs against the Chiefs. He was becoming a star right in front of our eyes. Then, on November 2nd, Watson was added to the injury report with a ‘sore knee,’ hours later reports surfaced that Watson tore his ACL in practice. And just like that, Watson’s season was over. Done. What a tease. Everyone was in disbelief, but that’s the nature of the vicious NFL game we all love.
At Clemson, Watson tore his left ACL. This time he tore his right ACL. I mentioned when discussing Allen Robinson that there is a 94% success rate after ACL reconstruction surgery, meaning there is a 6% re-tear rate. That a study from 2014 shows there is a 6x increased risk of a 2nd ACL injury when compared to healthy subjects. 30% of athletes suffered a 2ndACL injury within 24 months of return to sport, within those 21% had a contralateral ACL tear, and 9% had a graft re-tear. Watson did just that; he tore his contralateral ACL. Watson had his ACL reconstruction surgery on November 7, 2017, so fast forward 9 months, that is early August. Realistically I think Watson can return for the entire 2018 NFL season without rushing his rehab. He’s young, so at least has that going for him. Young people heal faster than not-so-young people.
So what does the data say about QBs who suffered ACL tears? There’s a good article from the USA Today in 2016 that discusses the injuries to Donovan Mcnabb, Tom Brady, RGIII, and Sam Bradford (who suffered 2 ACL tears) among others. The data is pretty consistent; there is an expected drop in performance after an ACL tear, especially in players who are mobile – like Watson is. Watson’s most impressive attribute is his ability to extend the pocket due to his mobility.
Is Watson at increased risk to tear his ACL again (a 3rd time)? Yes, especially since he’s a mobile QB unlike Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford, both of which tore their ACLs twice.
2018 Health Outlook: After tearing his ACL in November, Watson should be good to go for the start of the 2018 season. My primary concern is that he has stated he won’t change his style of play, and while you like to hear this from a player of his caliber, he needs to play smarter. Another ACL tear could be career-ending. If Watson uses his legs to get separation from would-be sackers and then uses his arm to make the plays, then Watson has a very good chance of completing the season healthy. However, if he continues to run a great deal, like Russell Wilson does, Watson may end up cutting his career short.
Risk of Re-Injury: ~ 50% risk of having another ACL tear within 2 years.
Recommendations: Reports out of Texans camp have been all positive when it comes to Watson returning and that is great news. I love Watson’s potential. He could have easily finished as the #1 QB last season if he continued his torrid pace and didn’t get injured. He didn’t lose any weapons, as he still has DeAndreHopkins, Will Fuller, Lamar Miller and a couple healthy tight ends. I love Watson’s upside, as I think he has the highest ceiling of any QB this upcoming season. Draft him with confidence, as I think he will likely finish as a top 5 QB, but make sure you draft a backup QB just in case.
NFL Draft Day is Here!!
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Waiver Wire: NFL Week 14
Fantasy football teams are starting to take shape. Hitting the waiver wire is a critical task in filling the holes or adding significant depth, especially as we enter bye-weeks and an increasing list of injuries. My goal is to find you the best player available for the lowest owned percentage. Therefore, you will see some of the more prominent names under others to consider.
Philip Rivers–IND (ESPN-16.5%) (Yahoo-40%)
Rivers has averaged at least 292 passing yards and two touchdowns in his last six games, and he just feels short of theaverage against Houston with 285 yards and two scores. In the next two weeks, the Colts will face Las Vegas, who allows over 20 Fantasy Points Per Game to quarterbacks, and Houston. Getting Rivers will bring you a top streaming signal-caller for two-straight weeks.
Others to Consider: Jalen Hurts (PHI), Mitchell Trubisky(CHI), Sam Darnold (NYJ), Tua Tagovailoa (MIA), Baker Mayfield (CLE).
Cam Akers-LAR (ESPN-35.8%) (Yahoo-53%)
Akers has seen an increase in snaps over the last few weeks, and he may have full ownership after his 21 carries for 72 yards while catching a pass for another 22 yards and a score. Both Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson will have a role, but Akers should be the bell-cow. The Rams tried him at the goal line on several attempts, but he couldn’t punch it in. Rams face the Patriots and Jets in the next few weeks, and both teams he should exploit for good fantasy performances.
Cordarrelle Patterson-CHI (ESPN-4.8%) (Yahoo-7%)
Patterson has become a running back, and he fits the role well. David Montgomery will be the bell-cow when healthy, but Patterson has gotten extensive looks. Against the Lions, Patterson carried the rock 10 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Patterson has spent his career as a receiver; therefore, catching the ball is no issue. The Bears have Houston this week, and they are horrible against the run.
Ty Johnson-NYJ (ESPN-0.3%) (Yahoo-2%)
The ancient one Frank Gore was the Jets bell-cow until he suffered a concussion. Enter Johnson, who rushed 22 times for 104 yards and a score. Johnson showed promise and someone who deserves more of a look. He will face the Seahawks and Rams next, but he is of good value this late in the season.
Others to Consider: Peyton Barber (WAS), Phillip Lindsay(DEN), Gus Edwards (BAL), Carlos Hyde (SEA), Jeff Wilson(SF), Ito Smith (ATL), Benny Snell (PIT), Adrian Peterson(DET).
T.Y. Hilton-IND (ESPN-47.0%) (Yahoo-45%)
Through 11-weeks, Hilton was sitting on the garbage pile. Then against the Titans, he caught his first touchdown on the season to go along with four receptions for 81 yards. It got even better against the Texans as Hilton brought in 8 balls on 11 targets for 110 yards and a score. He is looking more and more like the stud we drafted him to be. Now the Colts face the Raiders and Texans in back-to-back weeks.
Jalen Guyton-LAC (ESPN-0.3%) (Yahoo-0%)
Guyton was on speed-dial for Justin Herbert. He targeted his receiver seven times, and Guyton brought in two for 38 yards. Fantasy owners may wonder how Guyton can be valuable with Mike Williams, but looking at the numbers and there isn’t much difference. On the season, Guyton has 20-369-3 while Williams stat line 36-572-4 in 11 games. That is just one reception and 18-yards more on average. The Chargers have Atlanta and Las Vegas next, which are prime spots for exploitation.
Rashard Higgins-CLE (ESPN-3.4%) (Yahoo-8%)
Higgins is the one that looks to be the number two receiver, and he lit up the Titans last week for six receptions, 95 yards, and a touchdown. Higgins has deep speed and will make plays downfield. The schedule will be tough next week against Baltimore, but the Giants and Jets could be an easy route for teams in the playoffs and championship.
Others to Consider: Tim Patrick (DEN), Keke Coutee (HOU), Sterling Shepard (NYG), Nelson Agholor (LAS), DenzilMims (NYJ), Breshad Perriman (NYJ), Gabriel Davis (BUF), Allen Lazard (GB).
Logan Thomas-WFT (ESPN-24.9%) (Yahoo-40%)
The Washington Football Team likes to target Thomas, which was prevalent against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Afternoon Football. Thomas brought in nine balls for 98 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Even outside this performance, he is getting at least four targets each game. Thomas has another tough performance next week against San Francisco, but the Seahawks and Panthers are scheduled for Weeks 15 and 16.
Others to Consider: Jordan Reed (SF), Cole Kmet (CHI), Anthony Firsker (TEN), Dalton Schultz (DAL), Kyle Rudolph (MIN), Jacob Hollister (SEA), Jordan Akins(HOU).