Fantasy Football Team Previews
#15 – Cleveland Browns
What was once a dumpster fire of a team has skyrocketed into fantasy relevance. The Browns have a ton of pieces that carry fantasy value, and there’s potential for an explosion in Cleveland we haven’t seen since Peyton Hillis. The buzz is palpable, and we’re all hoping that what could be comes to fruition in 2018.
QBs: Tyrod Taylor (QB17), Baker Mayfield (NR)
The Browns seem to have finally gotten on the right track when it comes to their QB play. After featuring Deshone Kizer (puke) for majority of the season, the Browns went out and traded for starter Tyrod Taylor who led the Bills back to the playoffs for the first time in what seemed like forever. Tylor is an accurate thrower who can extend plays with his legs and rack up extra fantasy points. Now especially with more serious weapons around him, Tyrod could have an even higher ceiling after putting in some sneaky good fantasy seasons.
We haven’t even touched on first overall pick Baker Mayfield, who is going to have to wait until it’s his time to take the reins. I think it’s going to be a little longer than expected with Tyrod likely to succeed, but he has some value to keep in the back of your mind for when his time comes.
RBs: Carlos Hyde (RB27), Duke Johnson (RB37), Nick Chubb (RB48)
This three headed monster is going to be very confusing to figure out. Before preseason kicked off, it seemed like the hierarchy would be Johnson-Chubb-Hyde. Now the case seems to be Hyde-Johnson-Chubb. Ex-49er Carlos Hyde was brough in off free agency and has done wonderful work in his time thus far. He’s run very well behind Cleveland’s line and has a solid YPC total that should make him the lead back for early down work. Thanks to his size and prior experience as well, he should be penciled in for goal line work. Hyde has jumped up Wolf’s draft board into a respectable higher end bench stash.
Georgia rookie Nick Chubb was the sexiest of the group and seems to carry the most upside with him. I’d imagine he comes along slowly before establishing himself more with the team, but he’s struggled in action so far with a low YPC average. It can take rookies some time to get used to everything which seems to be the current case for Chubb. With all the competition he has around him, he’s nothing more than a late round stash to hold onto in case he explodes.
Don’t forget about Duke Johnson who was actually a solid RB2 last year for owners. He should possess the same third down and receiving role he had prior, but now it looks like Hyde and some Chubb should eat into his carries this season. He’s really only worth drafting in PPR but he serves currently as a bye week replacement.
WRs: Jarvis Landry (WR14), Josh Gordon (WR19)
The Browns receiving core added some serious beef with a big signing and return of a potential superstar. Jarvis Landry departed from Miami and is now going to be the apple to Tyrod Taylor’s eye. He was already averaging well over 100 targets a year and he’s likely to continue racking up triple digits for a long time. His presence and dominance in HBO’s Hard Knocks series is only going to raise his ADP going forward.
What would really set this offense up for success is the presence of Josh Gordon. The man is an absolute freak when it comes to skill and athleticism. He just needs to keep his mind right and focused on football, and Cleveland could have possibly one of the best receiver duos in the entire league. His stock has been dipping because of his off-field issues, allowing Landry to rise, but he’s such a boom/bust guy it’s almost impossible not to take a chance on him. Gordon has recently returned to the team from his hiatus and is ready to begin football work again. Assuming he can hop right back into the fold, he’ll be such a weapon for Taylor and Cleveland as a whole.
TEs: David Njoku (TE11)
Like the night he was drafted, Njoku was listed as a project with a high ceiling when he finally rounds out to form. The same goes for his fantasy football appeal, where we see the potential he could have but he’s still so ripe. A two touchdown performance against the Giants in the preseason had Wolf bumping Njoku up his board. He figures to be a red zone monster and is slowly carving himself into an important figure for the Browns offense.
The Browns find themselves with an average offensive line clocking in at #14 per PFF. Guards Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zietler anchor this line which unfortunately will be without the services of Joe Thomas anymore. It’s a good enough offensive line to open some holes the abundance of RBs the team has and groom Nick Chubb into their future stud.