As the season looks to begin this upcoming Thursday many Fantasy Football team owners will be drafting over the next 3 days. We will do a quick review of the Cleveland Browns fantasy expectations and some notes from the local team. After the player’s name and position will be position rankings from ESPN, NFL and Yahoo Sports to assist with your drafting purposes, so ESPN has Trent Richardson as the 8th best RB for example.
Trent Richardson – RB – ESPN (8), NFL (9), Yahoo (9) – Richardson will be the focal point of the Browns offense. With injuries to Dion Lewis and Montario Hardesty, and the cutting of Brandon Jackson, the Browns do not have a viable backup to #33. Expect him to get the majority of the touches, including in the passing game. Richardson should be a first round pick and with good health could end up a top scorer in 2013.
Josh Gordon – WR – ESPN (42), NFL (36), Yahoo (39) – Gordon was a breakout player last year and should continue this year. Though Gordon is suspended for the first 2 games he should still have a great deal of value for fantasy owners. Because of the suspension he may be available 2 rounds, or more, then should be. In Norv Turner’s offense Gordon should provide similar stats in his 14 games as Vincent Jackson did in San Diego. Gordon, like most of the offense, has a chance to be mid round steal.
Greg Little – WR – ESPN (56), NFL (70), Yahoo (60) – Little struggled with drops last 2 years but has put in extensive work this year and it has shown in the pre-season. With Gordon out for two games Little could become QB Brandon Weeden’s favorite target and should provide solid PPR and yardage as a #2 or 3 WR.
Devone Bess – WR – ESPN (76), NFL (68), Yahoo (79) – Bess the solid route runner acquired from Miami in the off-season is best fit as a #3 receiver. Bess would be a solid pickup in PPR larger leagues. Bess will provide Weeden with underneath routes and 3rd down and red zone conversions. The Browns only kept 4 WRs on their roster so expect many passes to these 3.
Jordan Cameron – TE – ESPN (16), NFL (12), Yahoo (12) – Cameron is ranked as a low level starter at TE. Cameron could have a breakout season in a offense that loves to prioritize tight ends. Cameron, the former basketball player, has all of the physical skills to do so, but has to put it all together on the field.
Brandon Weeden – QB – ESPN (26), NFL (26), Yahoo (23) – Weeden is the linchpin for all of the players above; how he plays all the others will follow suit. A rising tide raises all ships if you will. Weeden, based on the offense he is in and his stats last year, is a decent second quarterback option. If he can limit his turnovers and turn some of the red-zone field goals into passing touchdowns Weeden could be a strong bye week or injury replacement.
Defense – ESPN (17), NFL (22), Yahoo (17) – ESPN and Yahoo are giving the Browns a high ranking for their defense after solid additions in the off-season. An attacking defense like DC Ray Horton wants to deploy should get sacks and turnovers but a weak secondary, behind Joe Haden and TJ Ward, could lead to many scores. Depending on the match-up the Browns could provide quality defensive replacements for byes.