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Opposing QB Stat Tracker: Week 7 - Deshaun Watson

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Weekly dashboard of QB stats. Thanks to the nflscrapR project and the NFL Next Gen Stats who are the timely sources of this data. Shout-out to Arrowhead Pride’s Ethan Douglas whose weekly advanced analytics articles inspired some of these reports (OK, I stole them).

Let’s take a look at the numbers for the Colts next opponent QB, Deshaun Watson. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything.

(click charts for larger view)


Of the 4 QB passing metrics that I care about (charts below), Watson is in the top 10 in all of them with an average rank of 6th. Additionally, ESPN ranks him 4th in Total QBR, while Football Outsiders has him 5th in DYAR and 4th in DVOA. So, we all think he’s pretty good.


While DeAndre Hopkins is Watson’s primary target, Will Fuller has more yards on the season. That is very different from 2018, when it was basically Nuk or nothing as Fuller missed half of the season with a torn ACL.

The HOU receivers are all fairly good at getting yards after the catch (9th avg YAC) but the Indy defense has actually given up the 9th shortest avg YAC on the year.

On average, Fuller’s targets are much deeper than Hopkins’ and provide more value but both are clearly a deep threat.


Watson throws farther downfield than most QBs with a 5th ranked avg depth of target (9.6 yds). His avg completed air yards (6.3) is a bit closer to the league baseline with Houston ranking 14th on the year.


Watson completes passes at a much higher rate than expected, given the air yard distance of his throws. This is basically a continuation of 2018 where he had over 68% completions on a healthy 13th longest aDOT (8.5 yds).


Watson is known for holding the ball a long time (4th longest in 2018). His high time to throw in the first 4 weeks is likely a contributing driver to his 8.2% sack rate which is currently the 6th highest in the league.

If the Colts can get pressure on those long developing plays, Watson can be a sack machine, but perhaps he has turned a corner. In the past 2 weeks he was well below average in release time and took no sacks. Additionally ESPN ranks the Texans O-line 9th by Pass Block Win Rate (the stat that uses GPS chips to measure how long a block is held).