Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cleveland Browns Fantasy Football Outlook

Zennie Abraham via Flickr
Studs: Jordan Cameron, Josh Gordon (Suspension Pending)

Jordan Cameron was one of fantasy's finest tight ends in 2013. The writing had been on the wall throughout the entire preseason that Cameron was going to breakthrough in a big way, and he performed as suspected. Cameron was fantasy fifth rated tight end in 2013 finishing with 80 catches, 917 yards, and seven touchdowns. While Jordan was a stud, he did have a few duds along the way, and a few games with under five targets.

However, 2014 could seen Cameron ascend to an even higher stardom, and cross the 1000 yard threshold. Last year, Cameron had to catch way too many passes from the likes Jason Campbell, and even worse, Brandon Weeden. This year Cameron could be catching passes from a healthy Brian Hoyer or even more likely Johnny Manziel. Regardless, whoever is throwing him passes, Josh Gordon may not see the field at all in 2014, thus further improving Cameron's shot at 1000 plus yards.

Not much needs be said about Josh Gordon. He might miss the whole season, but even if he plays four games he could be worth a speculative add for fantasy owners. He's great, we all know it, and it's a shame he can't stay clean.

Solid Starters: Ben Tate

If Ben Tate didn't tear his ACL in 2010 Arian Foster may not have ever happened. We should all be thankful for that. The former second round pick is finally out of Foster's shadow, and primed to make the Dawg Pound proud. The problem with Tate is that he seemed to always be injured, however he has proven, at times, that he is able to fight through some of those injuries.

Fortunately for fantasy owners, Kyle Shanahan is the Browns offensive coordinator, and he spent the past two years giving the ball to Alfred Morris 611 times. That is a lot for any running back, so 250 rushes may be a more modest prediction for Tate.

Also, Tate has to contend for carries with the super talented Terrance West, so he may take some value away. Regardless, according to Fantasy Football Calculator, Ben Tate is being drafted as the 26th running back overall. He is being drafted behind Trent Richardson! Right now Tate is great value, and could be a quality RB2.

Backups: Johnny Manziel

Everyone nows about Johnny Manziel by now, and I probably don't have to say much. Manziel is a talented football player, and who cares if he is out partying with Justin Bieber. When the season starts, and it's game day, people should have little doubt that Manziel will be ready to play. It is fair to question his arm strength and accuracy, but I somewhat expect the Browns to use Manziel like the Bills did with EJ Manuel in 2013. If anyone saw any Bills games, it was obvious they were trying to give Manuel as little as possible to do, and make things easy on him, the Browns could do that with Manziel.

However, Manziel will make plays with his arms and legs, and while he may not set the world on fire in his rookie year like RGIII, Andrew Luck or even Cam Newton, he has the ability to put big numbers up.

Sleepers: Miles Austin, Andrew Hawkins, Terrance West

Because of the hole that is going to be left by Josh Gordon, the Browns are going to, sadly, turn to the likes of Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins and maybe even Nate Burleson. It has been obvious for the past three years Miles Austin has been on the decline, and has had trouble staying on the field. Regardless, if he is the number one receiver he deserves some recognition. He probably won't be able to make the plays he used to, but he could at least do something with 60 to 70 catches.

Andrew Hawkins is one of the smallest receivers at 5'7. While he will likely be targeted for the slot, he runs a really fast 4.34 40, and with enough targets he has a shot at turning anything into a big play.

As stated before, Terrance West has a shot to vulture touches from Ben Tate. West is a large 5'9, 225 pounds, and runs a 4.5 40, and can do a lot more as a receiver than Tate. West is at least worthy of an RB3 or RB4, and a vital handcuff for owners that take Ben Tate.

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