Fantasy impact of Deshaun Watson tearing ACL

Houston Texans rookie sensation Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice on Thursday. The quarterback will reportedly undergo season-ending surgery, and Tom Savage will start this week for Houston against the Colts.

Watson had quickly become a fantasy stud, including 402 yards passing, four touchdowns and 67 yards on the ground in Week 8 against the Seahawks. On the season, Watson had 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions to go with 1,699 passing yards, 269 rushing yards and two more rushing scores.

So if you had Watson, what do you do? Here are some quarterback suggestions from Scott Pianowski:

If you’re in an extremely shallow league, perhaps you could look at Tyrod Taylor (72 percent owned), Andy Dalton (59 percent) or Jared Goff (62 percent). In those types of formats, you’ll find something playable. It’s those that play in the deeper formats who are particularly in a tough spot right now. 

Josh McCown continues to trade at 31 percent and is approved for all audiences. Hurry, he has a Thursday game against Buffalo. He leads the NFL in completion percentage, he has multiple scores in four straight games, and he’s working with an underrated set of receivers. 

Jacoby Brissett (17 percent) hasn’t been an embarrassment with Indianapolis, and it’s probably his gig all year now that Andrew Luck is (shocker of shocker) ruled out for the year. Brissett hasn’t always been on the same page with T.Y. Hilton, but he has a nice thing going with TE Jack Doyle, and he’ll run here and there. 

Jimmy Garoppolo (14 percent) figures to be the Niners starter at some point, it just won’t be in Week 9 (and Week 12, after the bye, seems like the best bet). The San Francisco skill pieces aren’t much fun, but Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds around. 

If all you care about is a starter, talent be damned, you could consider Jay Cutler (12 percent), Brett Hundley (9 percent) or Mitchell Trubisky (5 percent). And perhaps Tom Savage will be adequate in his second time around in Houston. He has just 105 NFL passes, after all, and his terrible Week 1 debut was largely due to the nasty Jacksonville defense. Watson didn’t play well that day, either. Maybe DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller can drag Savage (or someone else) to a reasonable standard of play down the stretch. 

None of this works for you? Well, you can always try a trade. Someone in your league has multiple good QBs and only one slot to use them. 

As for the impact on the rest of the Houston offense, Brad Evans breaks things down:

The ripple effects of Watson missing the rest of the season are a devastating blow to all related fantasy assets. Will Fuller, who had flourished under the young QB morphing into a TD wrecking ball, goes from a top-12 wide receiver to a fringy WR3. DeAndre Hopkins, too, suffers a significant value loss. No longer a sure-fire WR1 he falls back into the WR2 class.

Additionally, Lamar Miller is sure to see an increase in stacked boxes. Why? If Watson were a luxury sports car, Savage would be a roached out golf cart. His career 6.2 yards per attempt, in seven games, leaves much to be desired. He simply doesn’t possess the skill set or electric aura of Watson.

Gone are the consistent aerial assaults. Gone is the scoring consistency. Gone is the fun. Thursday’s news is yet another reminder of how quickly the fantasy landscape can change.