2018 Fantasy Football - Cleveland Browns - Team Moves





By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Each offseason brings change to NFL rosters, and those changes often have fantasy implications. Below, I lay out the changes at the skill positions and how those moves impact the fantasy status of the new roster.


2017
    QB: DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler
    RB: Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Matt Dayes
    WR: Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis
    TE: David Njoku, Seth Devalve


2018
    QB: Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, Drew Stanton
    RB: Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson (WR/KR), Matt Dayes
    WR: Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman, Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley
    TE: David Njoku, Seth Devalve




Pre-Draft Offseason:

When you don't win a football game all season, your team likely needs to make some moves, and the Browns did just that. And when we add in that they have two early draft picks, there is going to be a lot of change on this team.

So far, the three biggest changes have come at quarterback, wide receiver and running back. For any team, the quarterback is the link who keeps a team from going 0-16, and as you know, the Browns had a quarterback who led the league in turnovers in DeShone Kizer. That led the Browns to go after a low-turnover signal-caller in Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is on a 1-year deal and will be usurped at some point by whomever Cleveland takes at No. 1 overall, but Taylor is a good player and should be able to hold the job down for a bit. He could even have some fantasy appeal due to his rushing ability and an upgraded Browns' offense, but we can't bank on him playing 16 games.

Jarvis Landry was the biggest name to head to the city by the lake, and he should be a strong real-life player for a team that needs some consistent offense. The trouble in fantasy will be a decrease in targets. In Miami, he was locked onto by Jay Cutler and company and averaged over 10 targets per game, helping him to 161 total targets, which was third highest in the league. The Browns should have more targets to give out this season on what should be a more sustainable offense, but they also have Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, David Njoku and Duke Johnson, who are all worthy receivers in their own rights.

The Browns let Isaiah Crowell walk to the Jets and ended up replacing him with Carlos Hyde, who is a better player, and teamed up with Duke Johnson, they should be a strong duo in real life. For fantasy, I like Hyde even with Johnson taking away some work. We also have to keep an eye on the 2018 NFL Draft, however, as the Browns could still bring in another back. I don't think they need to at this point, but we will see.



Post-Draft Update

With a bag full of draft picks, the Browns made some strong moves, starting with Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall. Mayfield has the weapons to lead a franchise and was very much worth taking No. 1 overall, especially if this team can adjust its offense to him instead of trying to force him to change too much. Much will depend on training camp and preseason as to if Mayfield can overtake Tyrod Taylor or not. I could see the Browns winning some games with Taylor at the helm, but they may be better off throwing Mayfield into the fire. Both signal-caller will have decent streamability in fantasy if playing in a good matchup.

The Browns didn't have to decide on Saquon Barkley after the Giants grabbed him, which let them grab a defensive player they wanted and then wait to take Nick Chubb with their fourth pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Chubb is right up there with Barkley as a prospect and probably would have gone earlier if he hadn't dealt with injuries during college. Of course now for fantasy, we have to think about whether Chubb can win the lead back job by Week 1 over Carlos Hyde. Just how volatile and young the coaches want this team to be starting out the season is hard to decipher. Chubb is likely the better talent than Hyde at this point, but the ability to pass protect and learning the playbook could slow a rookie down to start the season, especially with a veteran back on the team. I expect Chubb to see work this season and hurt Hyde's fantasy value, but I also see the same happening to Chubb. Duke Johnson, on the other hand, should continue to see passing-down work, althought the acquisition of Jarvis Landry could also cut into those looks a bit.

It truly is amazing that a team that won just one game over the last two seasons could be this stacked across the board, but Hue Jackson has a way of losing games he shouldn't. There is a lot of possibility for this offense, and it will be hard to pick the clear-cut fantasy winners before the pecking order is established. I see two good options at quarterback, five strong options in the receiving game and three in the backfield. We'll need those options to get whittled down some if a true stud for fantasy can rise up.



2018 Fantasy Outlook:

Stud: None

Solid: Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon

Sleeper: Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, David Njoku, Nick Chubb



For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com's Fantasy Football Rankings.




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