Fantasy Focus: Cleveland Browns
For the purposes of web traffic it might make sense just to type JOHNNY MANZIEL over and over again in this space. The thing is, the rising second-year player simply might not be more than divisive talking point until further notice. Then again, considering the rather blah fantasy options elsewhere on the Cleveland Browns roster other perhaps at running back, maybe discussing Manziel is the way to go. Nah, let's get going with thoughts on Josh McCown, Dwayne Bowe, Isaiah Crowell and others.
To start the new season, the Cleveland Browns will turn to veteran Josh McCown (167). McCown is coming off a woeful season where he played in eight games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throwing 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He was benched for second year starter, Mike Glennon. Despite an eight game in 2013 where he threw 13 touchdowns to just one interception for the Chicago Bears, McCown has never been a reliable quarterback so there’s no reason to expect a change in 2015. If the losses pile up - and if Johnny Manziel grows up - the Browns likely give the young passer a shot at the start gig. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere for a starting quarterback.
The Browns have an interesting running back combination with sophomores Isaiah Crowell (163) and Terrance West. Last season, West finished with the most rushing attempts with 171 while Crowell gathered just 148. However, Crowell finished just 66 total rushing yards behind West at 607 and also doubled West’s touchdown total with eight. Look for Crowell to handle the majority of the carries to start the season but don’t be surprised if the Browns split the load between the two. If you’re looking for just one to pick, Crowell is the guy. His nose for the end zone gives him a considerable advantage over West. Look for Crowell near the 14th round.
With Josh Gordon’s career in the rear view mirror there’s no reason to get particularly excited about the receiving corps in Cleveland. Dwayne Bowe (149) will headline the Browns receivers this coming season. Entering his ninth season, it seems that Bowe’s career bests are behind him. In his last three seasons with the Chiefs, Bowe grabbed just eight touchdowns and failed to exceed 1,000 receiving yards. While Bowe’s numbers have steadily decreased, he could see an increase in targets and receptions seeing as there’s no Jamaal Charles and the Browns could be on the losing end of most contests. Expect Bowe to be selected in the 13th round.
Another receiver to look for is Andrew Hawkins (175). Hawkins is coming off the best season of his career where he made 63 receptions for 824 yards and two touchdowns. Hawkins is a speedy receiver who has shown the ability to make big plays. With Dwayne Bowe in the picture, Hawkins will most likely fall to the No. 2 WR role and see a decrease in targets. Hawkins could be an interesting play in deeper leagues. If you have the will to start Andrew Hawkins, more power to you. Look for him in round 15. Lastly, Brian Hartline is a PPR option if you're feeling brave about the matchup that given week.
With the loss of Jordan Cameron, the Browns tight end spot looks a lot inferior to years prior. The players currently competing for a job are, Gary Barnidge, E.J. Bibbs, Jim Dray, Kevin Haplea, Rob Housler, and Randall Telfer. I’ll keep this brief, stay away until further notice.
Fantasy Updates - Sleepers
- Johnny Manziel – QB
- Considering what Johnny Football has been through this offseason (we've all read about it in sporting news), it’s tough to see him seeing a lot of playing time in 2015, but with the Browns, anything is possible. It very well maybe that Manziel is maturing and his call up is right around the corner. If McCown stumbles and Manziel shows that he’s ready to think about football again, I doubt Coach Mike Pettine will hesitate to give him a chance.
- Duke Johnson – RB
- This may seem like an astonishing stat but Duke Johnson is the all-time leading rusher for the University of Miami. Yes, Duke Johnson. Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery says he plans to use Johnson as a change of pace back but will likely not over work the rookie. Although if Johnson makes all the right plays, there’ll be no excuse to keep him on the sidelines.
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