Over the past decade, the Cleveland Browns not only have struggled in the NFL but have struggled to produce fantasy studs. Over the many years, a player has produced like Duke Johnson last year. Josh Gordon in 2013 who finished as the number one wide receiver overall. So what is different about this iteration of the Browns than past teams? For once in at least a decade the Browns are loaded on offense. In fact, they have players at all four key positions for fantasy that could finish in the top 12 of their respective positions. For this article, I will break down the quarterbacks and tight ends. What is their upside and downside in fantasy for the 2018 season.
Tyrod Taylor as we all know will be the starter of this offense come week one. Tyrod’s best finish in fantasy was back in 2016 when he finished ranked 18th at the QB position. Whats the difference for Cleveland. Taylor has never had the weapons in Buffalo he has in Cleveland at the moment, and on top of that, the offensive line he has in Cleveland is top 12 in the league. Tyrod can sling the ball all over the field he also can get outside the pocket and rush if need be. Those rushing yards for a QB can be the difference in a weekly fantasy matchup.
So where does Tyrod struggle? He tends to hold onto the ball too long. With that comes fumbles and sacks. While Tyrod doesn’t throw many interceptions it has increased over the years especially with him being asked to pass more often. He will be asked to pass more in Todd Haley‘s offense so that will be something to watch out for, though he has looked lights out in the preseason.
If Taylor can limit the turnovers and not be afraid to take some chances, Tyrod could finish in the top 12 of a loaded QB position. If he struggles, he still won’t likely finish outside the top 20.
Baker Mayfield will start the season as the backup to Taylor. Coming into the draft process I had him ranked as my number one quarterback in this class. Mayfield has all the tools to be a top quarterback for years to come. He is accurate. Baker can move around in the pocket to make or extend plays.
Baker’s main weakness, he is a rookie. While he has looked good at times, defenses are going to throw things at him he’s never seen before. Consequently, he will struggle at times, but that’s nothing new for a rookie quarterback.
Baker will likely sit most of if not all of 2018. If he is thrust into the starting role, I think he can thrive. While he likely doesn’t have quite the ceiling Tyrod does this year, if he starts he’ll finish in the top 15-20 at the position.
David Njoku is a physical freak and a huge asset for the Browns, especially in the red zone. We have already seen what he can do down by the goal-line in the preseason. He has caught a touchdown pass from Tyrod and Baker. Njoku has all the upside in the world. In a weak position for fantasy, Njoku has true top five potential. Although he has struggled on Hard Knocks with catching the ball, he has great hands. Njoku can use his size to out position and out catch any defensive back or linebacker on the field.
Where Njoku will struggle is not really a big concern and that’s racking up yards. He is not exactly a burner and so likely won’t blow by anyone, but does have the ability to get some yards after the catch. He will likely be used more in the red zone than anywhere else. His teammate Seth DeValve also hurts his value some as well. Hue Jackson won’t play both on the field at the same time.
For fantasy, Njoku has the upside to finish top five at the tight end position. Tight end is almost a wasteland for fantasy. Njoku’s ADP is currently sitting at 110, that’s an 8th round pick at the moment. For me that’s a little early for a tight end. If your feeling lucky getting a player who could finish top five in the 8th round is a steal.
Check back later this week as we break down the wide receivers and running backs for the Cleveland Browns and their fantasy value for 2018.
As always continue to follow Full Press Coverage for all your Cleveland Browns news. If you have any fantasy questions or Browns questions hit me up on twitter @SportsfanaticMB.