J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt
31-Year-Old Defensive EndDE
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2020 Fantasy Outlook
He's not done yet, but it's still difficult to pinpoint fair expectations for Watt in his age-31 season. It's easy to dream on his 61-tackle, 16-sack season from 2018, but Watt's 2019 numbers hinted at regression even before he suffered a torn pectoral muscle. For the 482 snaps he played, Watt's 24 tackles and four sacks were well below his historical production standards. Still, the last time anyone counted out Watt, he made the resurgence to the previously mentioned 2018 output. Until Watt says he's done, it's simply not easy to argue against someone selecting him as their DL1 in IDP leagues. As much as very few linemen can match Watt's theoretical ceiling, however, there are definitely a handful of options who offer a higher floor at least. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#169
ADP
#Subscriber-Only
IDP
$Released by the Texans in February of 2021.
Released by Houston
DEFree Agent
February 12, 2021
Watt was released by the Texans on Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
The 31-year-old was under contract for $17.5 million in 2021, but with no remaining guarantees, his release doesn't result in any dead money against the cap. Watt, who just completed his 10th season in Houston, recorded 52 tackles (36 solo), five sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception in 16 games during the 2020 campaign. He figures to have plenty of suitors as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Watt announced via his personal Twitter account he requested his release, which was granted by the team.
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NFL Stats
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2020
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2020 NFL Game Log
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2019 NFL Game Log
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2020 J.J. Watt Split Stats
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Measurables Review
How do J.J. Watt's measurables compare to other defensive ends?
This section compares his draft workout metrics with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average.
Height
6' 5"
 
Weight
288 lbs
 
40-Yard Dash
4.81 sec
 
Shuttle Time
4.21 sec
 
Cone Drill
6.88 sec
 
Vertical Jump
37.0 in
 
Broad Jump
120 in
 
Bench Press
34 reps
 
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
Two injury-plagued seasons preceded last year's return to form for Watt, and at age 30 it's difficult to completely shut out the durability fears. But he can anchor an IDP rotation when healthy, and last year's 61-tackle, 16-sack showing is probably Watt's baseline per-snap production. If he plays another 960 snaps in 2019, or the 1,000-plus snaps he used to, it's plausible Watt's box score would look more like the 80-tackle, 20-sack seasons he showed at his peak. He brings risk, but if the price is appropriate then the upside is compelling.
If Watt is the same player he was before and stays perfectly healthy, the ceiling is an 80-tackle, 20-sack season. Reliable sack and tackle data only go back so far, but it appears no other lineman has been capable of such heights. Unfortunately, injuries proved Watt mortal over the last two years, with a back injury ruining 2016 before a tibial fracture doomed his 2017. Even before the leg broke, Watt failed to post in a sack in five games last year, raising fair concern over whether he was ever fully recovered from the prior back injury. Watt just turned 29 in March, so a bounce back is totally plausible, but he suddenly has a lot to prove.
We've known for a long time that injury was the only thing that could stop Watt, but prior to last year it was reasonable to wonder if even injury couldn't stop him. After all, he played through the 2012 season with a dislocated elbow and played through back injuries and a broken hand in 2015. Unfortunately, that same back injury required surgery from which Watt never fully recovered in time for last season, and he needed another, season-ending back surgery after just three games. With almost a year to recover this time around, Watt should be back to normal. If he is, he's likely the best.
No one needs Watt's IDP appeal explained to them at this point, as he's been the top IDP regardless of position going on the fifth year straight now. You'd have to go back to 2011 to find the last time he fell short of 76 tackles in a season, and he hit the 17.5-sack mark in three of the last four years, tallying 10.5 in the one "down" year. He's likely locked into the Hall of Fame and he just turned 27 years old. He's the first IDP off the board in any conceivable IDP format.
Watt has easily been the league's best defensive lineman the last three years, averaging 80 tackles while totaling 51.5 sacks, including his second 20.5-sack season last year. Watt took his IDP value to even greater heights last season by catching three touchdown passes as a goal-line tight end to go with his two defensive scores. At 6-5, 289, Watt is unstoppable even with double- and triple-teams as he totaled 60 quarterback knockdowns last year, 30.5 more than the second-ranked D-Lineman. He has not missed a game in his four seasons and still dominates when playing injured. Still just 26, Watt is the favorite for an unprecedented third NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in four years.
Watt is likely the top IDP at any position. It's difficult to recall the last time a defender was as uniquely dominant as Watt, a 6-5, 289-pound beast that looks like a defensive tackle but moves like a player 50 pounds lighter. Only 25 years old, Watt accumulated 161 tackles and 31 sacks over the last two years. He might be the best pass-rushing threat in the league, yet he provides linebacker-like tackle totals at the same time. He's yet to miss a game in his three-year career, showing good durability, as well as the ability to produce at a high level even when hurt, like when he played through a dislocated elbow in his 20.5-sack 2012 season. Although he'll likely always be the target of double- and triple-teams, Watt could improve on his 2013 sack total of 10.5 this year thanks to the arrival of Jadeveon Clowney, who the Texans drafted No. 1 overall this year. Clowney should be a menace on the opposite side of Watt, leaving quarterbacks with fewer escape routes once Watt closes in for the sack. Even if he suffers a down-year, Watt's floor seems to be in the 75-tackle, 10-sack range, which would still probably make him the top IDP among defensive linemen.
Watt was nothing less than incredible in 2012, finishing with 20.5 sacks and a linebacker-like 81 tackles despite playing in a 3-4 alignment. Both figures are unprecedented. It's only reasonable to expect some regression, though, because the 2012 season could easily turn out to be Watt's career year. Plus, Watt's outrageous 2012 season sent the rest of the AFC South into a panic, resulting in the Jaguars (second overall pick Luke Joeckel), Titans (free agent Andy Levitre, 10th overall pick Chance Warmack) and Colts (free agent Gosder Cherilus, third-round pick Hugh Thornton) making huge investments in their offensive lines. Between the inherent probability of a regression to the mean, increased attention in game plans and the increased talent of his opponents, it would be best to expect something like 70 tackles and 15 sacks rather than another 80-tackle, 20-sack bonanza.
Watt did more than well enough during the regular season of his rookie year, serving as one of the top contributors in one of the league's best defenses while totaling 56 tackles (48 solo) and 5.5 sacks as a 16-game starter. He really came alive in the playoffs, though, posting 14 tackles (11 solo) and 3.5 sacks while returning an interception for a touchdown in two games. That sort of outburst indicates Watt might have the potential to be the exceedingly rare 3-4 end who can push for double-digit sacks.
Taken with the 11th overall pick in April's NFL Draft, Watt likely will start from Day 1 for Houston this season. He had 20.5 tackles for loss last year for Wisconsin and ranked third on the team in tackles with 61 in 13 games. Watt also has ridiculous jumping ability for a player his size, so expect him to knock down passes in the NFL after batting down seven last year.
More Fantasy News
Future with Texans unclear
DEHouston Texans
January 30, 2021
Watt is expected to meet with Texans' representatives in the near future to discuss his future with the organization, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
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Considers future in Houston
DEHouston Texans
January 6, 2021
Watt finished 2020 with 52 tackles, five sacks, seven passes defensed, one interception, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one touchdown over 16 games.
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Active in loss
DEHouston Texans
December 8, 2020
Watt recorded six tackles, four for a loss and a sack in Sunday's 26-20 loss to Indianapolis.
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Scores on Thanksginving
DEHouston Texans
November 27, 2020
Watt had four tackles, a quarterback hit and an interception return for a touchdown in Thursday's 41-25 win over the Lions.
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Deflects four passes
DEHouston Texans
November 23, 2020
Watt recorded two tackles, including one for a loss, and four passes defensed in Sunday's 27-20 win over the Patriots.
ANALYSIS
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