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Well, now comes the point in our AFC North fantasy outlooks where, unfortunately, we have to talk about the Browns. The Browns are usually a fantasy football wasteland and this season is most likely no exception. But hey, you have to assume, out of sure luck, that the Browns are bound to have a good season sometime. The intrigue is there, with fantasy options such as the return of that former-degenerate Josh Gordon, as well as the Cinderella story of Gary Barnidge and the potential resurrection of RGIII. However, all these players come with a very high level of risk and do not entail a pick inside of the top 10.
Robert Griffin III is a former pro-bowler, that has shown at times he has the potential to become one of the most talented QBs in the league. A change of scenery could bode well for the 26-year old (I’m sure he’s stoked to leave Kirk Cousins behind and get out of Washington), although one of the only teams willing to give him a chance was the Browns, a team that hasn’t produced in fantasy-relevant quarterback since fantasy became a thing over a decade ago. But, the potential is there, and if all goes according to plan for RGIII, he could be worthy of a pick-up by midseason.
WR Josh Gordon is the ultimate wildcard, as i pointed out in my preview of the top 10 fantasy WRS, as there is no certainty as to whether or not he will actually play. Of Gordon is actually able to stay clean and is reinstated after sitting out 4 more games this season, he will immediately fill the void of WR1 in Cleveland. But, that is a big if. Gordon has only played in 5 games over the past 1 seasons, all due to suspension, but before that he was possibly the most electric receiver in the league. Gordon’s potential makes him worth a late-round pick in case he does in fact return to the gridiron this season.
Until Gordon’s potential return, expect rookie Corey Coleman to be RB1 in Cleveland. The product out of Baylor University was a first round pick, and it’s safe to assume he can, at the least, replace the departed Travis Benjamin’s 966 yards from a season ago. Coleman should prove to be worthy of a draft pick.
Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell are expected to both split time at RB for the Browns this upcoming season, and offer some (I’ll be it limited) value. Crowell comes in as the team’s early-down back, while Johnson is expected to be more of a power/pass-catcher out of the backfield. Johnson seemingly offers more upside, as he remains one of the better receiving-backs in the league.
TE Gary Barnidge has been chosen by many as a prime regression candidate, following a cinderella season in which the 30-year old went off for 1,043 yards and 9 TDs. While these numbers are very likely to go down, Barndige still has some value. In RGIII he will have a more reliable arm throwing him the ball, which should allow him to remain fantasy relevant. Barnidge is likely to slip down a lot of draft boards, and could be a great steal in the late rounds.
Lets get serious here, you didn’t come to a Cleveland Browns fantasy outlook looking for a K or D/ST, and if you did, you may want to reconsider your fantasy strategy. Carry on.
QB Robert Griffin III; RB Duke Johnson; RB Isiah Crowell; WR Josh Gordon; WR Corey Coleman; TE Gary Barnidge