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Deshaun Watson - Sell Now, Buy Later


In dynasty formats, securing a top quarterback can help you build your dynasty team and truly dominate your league for several years. If you are stuck with a lower-tier quarterback, it can be difficult to balance out the weekly advantage that your opponents will have at the position.

However, that is not to say that once you find a good quarterback you must hold on to them. In fact, capitalizing on the performances of top signal-callers and leveraging them in trades with the rest of your league is a good strategy if you want to build a well-rounded lineup or stash several draft picks at a time.

Deshaun Watson had an incredible seven-game stretch as the Texans quarterback last year and has seen his dynasty value skyrocket, despite his small sample size. Although I do believe that we have yet to see the best of Watson, now might be a good time to sell him in dynasty leagues and look to re-buy after 2018.

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Watson's Instant Domination

Coming out of Clemson, quarterback Deshaun Watson was considered a borderline first/second round prospect in NFL Draft circles. Even after being drafted by the Texans at 12th overall, Watson was considered a mid-round dynasty selection and a player with a relatively unimpressive floor and ceiling for fantasy prospects. However, that changed following some impressive performances in 2017.

2017 Season

After starting the season as a backup to Tom Savage, Watson came in and was largely unimpressive in his first few games in charge. However, after being handed the starting job in Week 3, Watson became a completely different player. In his next games as a starter, Watson would go 3-3 but through for a ridiculous 16 touchdowns and only five interceptions (his season totals through his seven games played where 19 touchdowns and eight picks). Additionally, on the season, Watson rushed for 269 yards and two touchdowns, displaying his dual-threat ability as a thrower and a runner. However, Watson's season was dramatically cut short after suffering a torn ACL in practice before the team's Week 9 game, derailing his (and the Texans') season.

Despite ending the season injured, Watson made a huge impact in the games that he played, and was the top scoring fantasy quarterback during that stretch. However, it should be noted that a surprising amount of his touchdowns were scored in garbage time (specifically in the 34-42 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, where Watson scored five touchdowns). Nevertheless, the numbers don't lie, and Watson's 103.0 quarterback rating and 7.5 yards per carry is a testament to that. Now returning fully healthy with an above-average skill position core (wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller and running backs Lamar Miller and D'Onta Foreman), Watson is expected to continue with his performances from 2017 and play up to the standards he set for himself in his rookie campaign.

2018 Season

Watson has the potential to match his performances from last year and become a top quarterback in the NFL and fantasy circles. We know that he is capable of playing at a high level, but it will be difficult to translate his 2017 performances to 2018, now that coaches know what to look for and can key in on Watson to stop the Texans offense. Despite the fact that Watson may have reached his statistical ceiling in 2017, fantasyfootballcalculator.com dynasty rankings have him as the number one quarterback being taken in startup drafts this offseason. Going 33rd overall, Watson is being selected in the top three rounds in 12-man leagues.

Although there is the distinct possibility that Watson plays as good or better than he did in 2017, now might be his peak trading value for dynasty owners. You have the potential to package him for a top draft pick in rookie drafts or elite skill position players at the running back and wide receiver positions. If Watson does not perform as expected, you could end up losing valuable trade capital. Additionally, because the quarterback position is so deep this year, it makes sense to trade for a mid-range commodity at the position when you have the opportunity to grab elite skill position players for a relatively unproven quarterback who is going much higher than he should be based on his 2017 garbage time performances.

Then again, there is a world where Watson becomes a leading NFL quarterback and continues to set the fantasy world alight on a weekly basis. However, even if Watson is able to do this, you still recouped an elite player or high draft pick for him in a trade, so you won't lose too much upside. In the more likely chance that Watson plays well but fails to live up to his fantasy hype, you will have negotiated a successful trade for yourself and capitalized on his offseason value.

Outlook

One thing to remember, however, is that Watson is very young and therefore has immense potential in the long-term. Therefore, it makes sense to trade him now to someone who buys into his current draft cost and then look to potentially trade for him after this season if he fails to live up to his billing. If you do not own Watson in dynasty leagues, you should still consider trading for him after this season as his long-term potential is more than enough to justify acquiring his services for your roster. However, right now, his value is far too high to justify such a trade; wait for it to depreciate and then go get Watson, your team's fantasy savior in 2019 and beyond.

 

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