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Cleveland Browns Fantasy Preview

2018 Projections

Note: all points are calculated with PPR scoring
Team Reception Breakdown

Tyrod Taylor: 295.04 total, 18.5 ppg (335/525 passing, 3885 yards, 21 TD, 8 INT; 580 yards rushing, 3 TD, 2 fumbles lost)
In case it wasn’t clear after the Browns put Tyrod back on the field in a preseason game after dislocating his left pinky, Tyrod is the starting QB. Assuming he’s able to extend his stellar preseason play into the regular season, he’ll stay the starting QB for a while. In other words, don’t draft Baker Mayfield unless you have a bench spot to burn for a while. With that out of the way, this offense is loaded with talent at all positions and has an actual NFL-caliber offensive coordinator. It’d be a disappointment if Tyrod didn’t set career highs across the board. There are a number of reasons why I don’t expect huge passing volume out of Tyrod (solid defense, good running game, Tyrod’s own scrambling ability), but he should be highly efficient. He should be a solid QB1 for as long as he remains the starter. If you’re worried about Mayfield taking over, you can draft both as both are going pretty late.

Duke Johnson: 160.0 total, 10.0 ppg (75 carries, 330 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble lost; 60 Rec, 510 yards, 2 TD)
Carlos Hyde: 103.4 total, 6.5 ppg (150 carries, 615 yards, 6 TD, 1 fumble lost; 5 Rec, 29 yards, 0 TD)
Nick Chubb: 89.8 total, 5.6 ppg (125 carries, 525 yards, 5 TD, 1 fumble lost; 5 Rec, 43 yards, 0 TD)
The competition between Hyde and Chubb is great for real life and terrible for fantasy. Hyde will get first crack as the veteran, but there will undoubtedly be a “hot hand” approach between them. This will make both high risk-high reward players on a weekly basis. For what it’s worth though, after watching some preseason games I’m starting to wonder if I low-balled their yardage. It’s only preseason, but both backs have looked spectacular. I wouldn’t invest heavily in either one due to the timeshare, but they are definitely worth late round flyers as RB5’s with upside. Duke is a little more straightforward. As the lone scatback of the group, he’s locked into solid receiving volume from checkdown-happy Taylor. He won’t garner quite as many catches as last year since there are other targets on the offense worth mentioning, but he should have enough to be a low-end RB3.

Josh Gordon: 218.4 total, 13.7 ppg (70 Rec, 1064 yards, 7 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
Jarvis Landry: 174.5 total, 10.9 ppg (75 Rec, 795 yards, 4 TD, 2 fumbles lost)
Talk about your 1A/1B situation. This might very well be the best receiving duo in the league. The problem is figuring out how to get them both the ball enough. As stated above, I don’t anticipate Tyrod to exactly be slinging the ball all over the field, and these two aren’t the only ones who deserve to be fed. I suspect Landry will get slightly higher volume, but Flash should be more efficient with the catches he gets. I personally think Gordon will wind up as a WR2 while Landry finishes as a borderline WR3/4, but both receivers are capable of being borderline WR1/2s depending on how their roles actually shake out. The only other wide receivers to keep an eye on are Rashard Higgins and Antonio Callaway. It sounds like Higgins will be the third receiver at the start of the season, but Callaway could work his way in. Both could have a big week here and there, but realistically neither will be particularly worthwhile in fantasy unless Flash or Landry miss time.

David Njoku: 124.4 total, 7.8 ppg (45 Rec, 554 yards, 4 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
The fourth key receiving piece on this offense, Njoku is widely expected to take a significant step forward this year. However, just as with the wide receivers there are only so many targets to go around. If Njoku has the breakout everyone seems to want him to have, who do you take catches away from? Duke Johnson? Josh Gordon? Jarvis Landry? Also not helping Njoku’s situation is last year’s surprise sleeper Seth DeValve. No, DeValve won’t start over Njoku, but he’s a terrific athlete and showed solid playmaking ability. He’s going to get at least a few catches as well. Njoku has TE1 upside, but there’s also risk that he won’t get the volume required to reach that level. If you draft him, make sure to handcuff him with a more reliable tight end.

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