In 2017, the Browns defense was the third worst defense on NFL.com. Progress will be seen to the point where Cleveland should become a second option defense. The question though is even with upgrades on the defensive side of the ball, how consistent will they be to be relied on as a spot starter?
There are two areas of concern that could sway some fantasy owners to look elsewhere for a second defense: Interior defensive line (even with Johnathan Hankins working out per cleveland.com‘s Mary Kay Cabot) and the secondary.
Yes, the Browns did add Denzel Ward along with solid depth at cornerback and the strong safety play is looking good. However, we all saw how the secondary looked in 2017 and how inconsistent the interior pass rush was.
On the bright side, the front seven as a whole is very promising. If Cleveland can resolve those two issues in the coming weeks, the Browns defense could be a late round option for those needing another defense. With what the Browns added on offense, scoring points won’t be an issue, so there is a positive for the defense.
Cleveland’s defense won’t go from the bottom to the top or even become a top 10 option. What it could do is become a middle of the pack, respectable, spot starting defense. Should Cleveland patch up their weaknesses and show that they can do more, then at that time fantasy teams could look to starting them more often.