Fantasy Football 2020: Deshaun Watson and Bust Candidates to Avoid

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2020

AFC quarterback Deshaun Watson, of the Houston Texans, reacts after scoring a touchdown during the NFL Pro Bowl football game against the NFC, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

The 2020 NFL offseason has been a different animal, and with no preseason here in August, there's a lot more guesswork involved with the world of fantasy. When utilizing statistical analysis, managers have to go all the way back to last season, which can be problematic for a number of reasons—namely that players, situations and schemes change from year to year.

Just take a look at Odell Beckham Jr. and Le'Veon Bell last season. They were previously reliable fantasy stars but struggled after a change of scenery—and a year off in Bell's case. Similar scenarios are going to play out this season, as there was a lot of roster shuffling over the past couple of months.

New Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins could find himself in just such a scenario. Like Beckham last year, he's leaving a solid passing offense to join a second-year quarterback and a reliable possession receiver.

However, Hopkins' former quarterback might see more of a fantasy slide than he does.

Let's take a look at 10 potential busts who should be avoided, not entirely, but at their current average draft positions (ADP).


10 Fantasy Players to Avoid, ADP (from FantasyPros)

1. Melvin Gordon III, RB, Denver Broncos (39)

2. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans (42)

3. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (44)

4. Le'veon Bell, RB, New York Jets (54)

5. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills (57)

6. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (69)

7. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (80)

8. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots (83)

9. Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns (94)

20. Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings (133)


Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

While new Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III is a fairly obvious bust candidate—he's joining a backfield with 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay—things are a little less clear with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

After all, Watson is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, and while the Texans did trade Hopkins, they added Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb.

Well, here's the problem. Not only are Cobb and Cooks both clear downgrades, but Cooks also has a history of concussions, while fellow wideout Will Fuller V is a constant injury risk who has missed 22 games in four seasons.

There could be games where Watson has few of his top weapons available, which further hurts his already inconsistent week-to-week production. Watson only topped 300 passing yards three times in 2019, and he had four games with zero touchdowns.

And while Watson does bring some dual-threat value to the table—he had 413 rushing yards last season—he may not get as many scrambling opportunities with David Johnson in the fold. Johnson may no longer be the 2,000-yard weapons he once was, but the Texans seem to like him an awful lot.

"He's got good vision," head coach Bill O'Brien said, per Deepi Sidhu of the team's official website. "He's got good feet in the hole, especially for a guy his size, a big guy."

With David Johnson and Duke Johnson in the backfield, Houston may rely on more of a traditional run-heavy offense this season.


Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

Like Watson, wide receiver Stefon Diggs was traded this offseason. He leaves the Minnesota Vikings—where he had 1,130 yards and six touchdowns last season—and joins the Buffalo Bills. It would be unwise to expect Diggs to have the same level of production moving forward.

While Minnesota did utilize a run-oriented offense, the Bills could be even more run-focused this season. Quarterback Josh Allen is a dual-threat signal-caller, and Buffalo has a talented young backfield featuring Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.

But the issues for Diggs go beyond scheme. He'll be playing with a quarterback who, while strong-armed, lacks consistency and accuracy. Allen completed just 58.8 percent of his passes last season and posted a rating of 85.3.

While Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins only passed for about 500 more yards than Allen did, he completed 69.1 percent of his passes and posted a rating of 107.4. He attempted 17 fewer passes.

This suggests that Cousins was able to get the ball to Diggs more consistently than Allen will be able to.

Additionally, Diggs could fall victim to a little bit of role redundancy in the Buffalo offense. While Diggs is a player who can take the top off a defense, so is John Brown, who logged 1,060 yards and six scores with the Bills last season.

Brown and Diggs are likely to cut into each other's big-play workload, diminishing the value of both receivers.


Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady reunited with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, and it should lead to plenty of fun and exciting moments in 2020.

"This is an opportunity to go see what it's like somewhere else, to go see what it's like in the NFL on another squad," Gronkowski told WEEI (h/t Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times).

While Brady and Gronkowski may conjure up some feelings of nostalgia, they might not produce the type of fantasy numbers that Gronk owners hope for. Like Bell last season, Gronkowski has spent a year away from the game and may not immediately be the player he once was.

More problematic is the fact that the Buccaneers are loaded with pass catchers. While Gronkowski was usually one of just a couple of top options for the New England Patriots, Tampa also has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.

Both Howard and Brate are starting-caliber tight ends, so there may even be long stretches where Gronkowski isn't in the starting lineup.

Toss in the fact that Brady and Gronkowski are learning a new offense with a new team for the first time in their careers, and it feels like Gronk should be more of a late-round flier than a starting-caliber fantasy tight end.