Cleveland Browns Helmet

Fantasy Football Projections: Cleveland Browns

This will be a fun year for the Cleveland Browns offense and should yield plenty of fantasy upside in multiple areas. First things first: quarterback.

Tyrod Taylor is slated to open as the starter and he’s done nothing but re-assure the Browns coaching staff that he deserves the job so far this off-season. Taylor has looked strong in OTA’s and he comes with a strong resume as an accurate QB who can protect the ball while creating with his legs. The knock on Taylor has been that he’s too conservative and checks down far too much, but for fantasy purposes, he’s a fairly high ceiling play thanks to his running ability. He will also have more talent to play with on this Browns offense than he had at any time in Buffalo. Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb, David Njoku, Antonio Callaway, Seth Devalve and Corey Coleman are a veritable treasure trove of weapons. The problem for Taylor is the #1 overall pick lurking in the shadows – Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is likely going to press for playing time early and may even bring that challenge in preseason play. Mayfield actually has a similar tool-set as Taylor with his high marks coming for his accuracy, ball protection and ability to create with his feet when the play breaks down. Both QB’s have fairly sizable fantasy upside with this offense, so it’s going to come down to who wins the job. My projections are based on each QB getting some run this season but I’m likely drafting Taylor if he holds the job as a back-end Top 10 QB.

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Helping both Taylor and Mayfield succeed will fall on a potent running back trio. Carlos Hyde is an undervalued all-purpose back who toiled away on bad 49ers teams before coming over to Cleveland this off-season. Hyde won’t be toting the ball as the work-horse in the offense with Duke Johnson returning to handle all passing down duties and like get his normal 75-80 carries. Also chipping in on early down work will likely be rookie running back Nick Chubb who brings a stellar resume with him from his time at the University of Georgia. Chubb can easily keep up with Hyde as an early down grinder and this situation smells like a full-on timeshare. Hyde’s ability to contribute in both the run and pass games give him FLEX appeal, Johnson checks in for PPR formats as a FLEX and if either Hyde or Chubb gets hurt, the other is a lock-in as a RB2. With a strong passing attack likely in the works, there should be room to run on this offense.

He’s baaaaaaaack!!! Josh Gordon, ladies, and gents is in the building. Gordon clearly hasn’t been much of a fantasy factor the past few seasons for obvious reasons, but his 1646 yards in only 14 games in 2013 still lingers fresh in our memories. Gordon’s talent is on the same level as the best of the best and he has a moderately competent QB throwing to him for the first time in his career. He also has a nice supporting cast of receivers backing him up with arguably the best slot receiver the game has to offer in Jarvis Landry. Landry has averaged 105 catches, 1093 yards, and 6 TD with sub-par QB play over the past 3 seasons and he will form a tough duo for offenses to cover with Gordon. Then we have the wild-cards in rookie Antonio Callaway and the potentially outcast Corey Coleman. Callaway is pure play-maker but his well documented off-field issues will pose a hurdle to his immediate success. Coleman appears to be the odd man out though he will get a look outside early in preseason play with a chance to earn snaps opposite Gordon in three-man sets. Gordon is a WR1, Landry is a WR2 (WR1 in PPR leagues) and Callaway is a sleeper. The shine is off the once-promising Coleman’s fantasy prospects.

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All of that and we still have to talk about tight ends! Njoku is a big-time upside talent who flashed at various points in 2017 ripping off 32 catches for 386 yards and 4 TD in only 5 starts. Njoku’s production was limited by both is lack of experience forcing him to learn on the job and the emergence of second-year man Seth Devalve. Devalve turned into a safety blanket for the struggling band of Browns QB’s last year bringing his own 33 catches for 395 yards. Both tight ends can play but the higher playmaking ceiling falls to Njoku who I like as a late rate flier and breakout candidate.

This sounds ludicrous to say, but the problem with the Browns is that there’s too much talent. I’ve projected what would be pretty high totals for Taylor and Mayfield and that’s not a ton of targets to go around for this team making my estimates fairly conservative. I’m playing it safe, but I think this team could erupt onto the fantasy scene.

2018 Projections

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Tyrod Taylor QB 185 295 2275 16 4 355 4
Baker Mayfield QB 135 225 1625 12 7 165 2

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Carlos Hyde RB 175 735 6 15 115 1 3
Nick Chubb RB 100 425 5 5 35 1
Duke Johnson RB 45 200 1 45 470 2 2

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Josh Gordon WR 70 1145 8
Jarvis Landry WR 80 890 6 2
Corey Coleman WR 15 200 1
Antonio Callaway WR 10 65 25 325 2 1
David Njoku TE 35 400 5
Seth Devalve TE 20 225 2
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker