Browns Fantasy News

Browns name QB Brian Hoyer starter for Week 1

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:36am - [Full Article]

Despite poor performances by both quarterbacks Monday night in Washington, Brian Hoyer has been named the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback over Johnny Manziel for the opener in Pittsburgh.

Coach Mike Pettine made the decision in a lengthy meeting with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains Tuesday night and announced it Wednesday morning.

Pettine admitted Tuesday night that Manziel's obscene gesture to the Redskins' bench Monday night and all of the other things he's done since the spring would factor into the decision. Clearly, Manziel didn't show the leadership ability needed to be the starting quarterback yet.

"(Hoyer) was the clear leader from the beginning," Pettine said in a release by the team. "We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room."

Fantasy Impact:
While the writing is still on the wall in Cleveland, this puts a dent in Johnny Manziel's draft stock. He may get an opportunity to play sooner rather than later, but he now has to wait for Hoyer to falter due to poor play or injury. Hoyer's upside is minimal. He could be serviceable in a QBBC strategy on a weekly basis, but he's a difficult player to trust given the shaky ground on which he's standing.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 8:56pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

The Cleveland Browns did not like what they saw in wide receiver Josh Gordon on Monday night in the 24-23 loss to Washington.

Coach Mike Pettine said there were a couple plays when the team did not see the proper effort from Gordon.

"There were a couple plays where I think ... that we would have definitely wanted better effort," Browns coach Mike Pettine said of Josh Gordon.
"There were a couple plays where I think -- we just came out of the personnel meeting and talked about it -- that we would have definitely wanted better effort," Pettine said.

Gordon loafed on a couple of throws, dropping one from Brian Hoyer at about Washington's 10-yard-line, and he failed to reach behind him to make a catch he has made countless times in games and practices.

Fantasy Impact:
Pettine couldn't say if the looming decision on Gordon's appeal of his one-year ban for a positive drug test is affecting him, but he expects better. He said the coaches had spoken to Gordon about finishing plays stronger.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 9:21am

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

On Monday, Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson went to New York for an appeal hearing on his latest suspension. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, it’s a potential three-game ban.

The punishment arises from a November 2013 arrest for DUI and refusal to submit to a chemical test. Simpson later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and failure to submit to a chemical test, but the outcome triggers scrutiny under the portion of the substance-abuse policy that relates to alcohol-related offenses.

Simpson’s three-game suspension arising from felony drug charges in 2012 made him susceptible to a suspension for his latest offense under the substance-abuse policy. Which doesn’t bode well for Browns receiver Josh Gordon and his own pending DUI charge, given his history of violations of the substance-abuse policy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 9:19am

CSN Washington - [Full Article]

Somewhat of a forgotten man amongst the Redskins running backs, Evan Royster had a big night when he needed it most.

Royster isn't a roster lock like Alfred Morris or Roy Helu. However, of all the backs on Monday night, he played the best.

First, he flashed on a 24-yard catch and run, which he immediately followed with a two-yard touchdown run. Royster makes plays when he's given the opportunity, however limited they may be, and if he doesn't stick around in D.C, he could catch on fairly quickly with someone else. After his strong showing against the Browns, though, his chances of making the cut had to have improved at least somewhat.

Fantasy Impact:
Neither Morris nor Helu had great nights on Monday but CSN Washington feels that won't affect their stock and will make the club, with Helu the third down back. Royster is no lock, but at the very least may have helped himself find a spot on another team if it comes to that.

RGIII ends up with bruised thigh

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 8:58am

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

One worrisome point was Redskins RB Robert Griffin III's inability to stay healthy during his first two seasons and we got a reminder of why that’s been an issue on Monday night. Griffin took several hard hits at the end of scrambles against the Browns and ended the evening with a bruised thigh. Griffin says that it isn’t a serious injury and admitted that he has to do a better job of avoiding those collisions, calling his attempts to better protect himself a “work in progress.”

Griffin promised that he’d get better at it, something coach Jay Gruden said has to happen.

“It’s something we have to continue to talk to him about — how important he is to this team and this franchise. When he gets out of the pocket, he needs to protect himself,” Gruden said, via the Associated Press. “He’s had a habit in his career of being able to get himself out of those predicaments with his speed and his athleticism. But here it’s a 16-game season, with the great talent across the league in the NFL, [and] he’s got to pick his shots and learn how to get down a little bit better.”

Fantasy Impact:
At some point one has to wonder if Griffin can change something so fundamental to the way he plays the game without hurting his productivity, the story continued. It would benefit him and the team if he could, although he certainly wouldn’t be the first player unable to shake such a habit. Michael Vick still hasn't been able to avoid taking hits when scrambling and often ended up missing time even recently during his days with the Eagles. It's something to consider if you're targeting RGIII in drafts - it's a good idea to have a capable backup.

Browns may still decide QB starter Tuesday

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 8:50am

National Football Post - [Full Article]

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel flipped off the Washington Redskins' bench after trading barbs with his opponent. He and veteran Brian Hoyer both struggled on the field in the Browns' ongoing quarterback competition, which has no resolution after this 24-23 loss.

"I felt like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night, and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up," Manziel said. "I mean, I didn't think it was positive,"

Manziel could be fined $11,025 for taunting or unsportsmanlike conduct.

The obscene gesture angered Browns coach Mike Pettine.

"It did not sit well," Pettine said. "I was informed of it after the game and it's disappointing. Because what we talk about is being poised and being focused -- that you have to be able to maintain your poise. That's a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback, that we have to keep our composure. So that's something that we'll obviously address with him."

Fantasy Impact:
Hoyer completed 2 of 6 passes for 16 yards and said his performance probably couldn't get any worse. Pettine now may wait to pick a quarterback. He was originally scheduled to pick a starter on Tuesday but with both QBs not playing well he won't have much to go on. Manziel finished 7 of 16 for 65 yards, one touchdown and a 76.3 rating. Pettine added that, ideally, they'd still like to decide Tuesday.

Kyle Rudolph shining in Norv Turner's offense

Sunday, August 17, 2014, 10:24am

ESPN - [Full Article]

The corner route Kyle Rudolph ran in the second quarter Saturday night, lining up between the hash marks at the Minnesota Vikings' 49 and roaming to his left just inside the numbers at the Arizona Cardinals' 30-yard line, is exactly the kind for which Rudolph lost 15 pounds this offseason. It's an effort to become the latest Norv Turner tight end to feast in the middle of a defense.

Rudolph spent his offseason watching film of tight ends in Turner's offenses, from the Cleveland Browns' Jordan Cameron all the way back to the Dallas Cowboys' Jay Novacek, and slimmed down in an effort to speed up. He knew what kind of a role could be waiting for him with Turner as the Vikings' offensive coordinator, and he wanted to put himself into position to seize it.

Fantasy Impact:
So far, Rudolph has done exactly that. He caught one pass for 22 yards in the Vikings' preseason opener and followed it up with four catches for 89 yards, including his 51-yard touchdown from Matt Cassel on the aforementioned corner route, in the Vikings' win Saturday night over the Arizona Cardinals. The tight end, who got a five-year contract extension earlier this month, seems set to earn his money the same way Turner's tight ends have done it for years, the story said. We've been hearing good things about Rudolph even before camp started and he's shaping up to be one of several TEs who should fall somewhere in rounds 7-9 that could prove to be a great value.

Browns expected to name QB starter Tuesday

Saturday, August 16, 2014, 11:37am - [Full Article]

Finally, at long last, the Browns have a date to name their quarterback. Decision day is Tuesday for Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel.

That's when Browns coach Mike Pettine aims to announce his starter for Cleveland's Sept. 7 opener at Pittsburgh. His choice could be influenced by how the quarterbacks play in Monday night's nationally televised exhibition at Washington.

"Something unforeseen could come up, but we're hopeful because I do want to see if I can cut the quarterback questions down by about 90 percent after next week," said Pettine, a first-year coach.

Fantasy Impact:
The team plays Monday night, in a matchup that's likely to draw a lot of viewers for a preseason game. When it comes down to it, neither Hoyer nor Manziel have really stood out so the pressure could be on Monday night against Washington. We'll, of course, break down how the Brown's call affects your fantasy team right after it happens.

Dwayne Bowe's suspension could lead to his release

Friday, August 15, 2014, 7:33pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

The one-game suspension of Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe could, in hindsight, become the domino that ultimately gives the Browns a replacement for Josh Gordon.

The suspension most likely voids the remaining fully guaranteed money in Bowe’s contract: $8.75 million in 2014 and $1.5 million in 2015. It creates a window for the Chiefs to dump Bowe, avoiding more than $10 million and creating an immediate $8.75 million in 2014 cap space. (The extra cap space now would almost entirely offset the $9 million cap charge they’d take in 2015, due to the post-June 1 move.)

Unless Bowe’s contract specifically was negotiated to remove now-standard language voiding future guarantees in the event of a suspension, the Chiefs could make a move at any point after Bowe’s one-week exile begins, but before the moment that his salary becomes guaranteed as “termination pay,” a benefit for all players with four or more years of service who are on a team’s Week One roster.

If Bowe is cut, he’d become a free agent. And if Browns receiver Josh Gordon is suspended for a full year, Cleveland would have a clear need at receiver.

Fantasy Impact:
This is speculation, but interesting nonetheless. The Chiefs fancy themselves a Super Bowl contender, and cutting their WR1 -- no matter how much he's being overpaid -- may be a tough pill to swallow given the current state of the receiving corps. Still, potential Bowe owners should be aware of all of the possibilities. Long term, it might be the best move for the Chiefs to part ways.

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph will be 'key cog' in offense

Friday, August 15, 2014, 12:34pm - [Full Article]

It seemed tight end Kyle Rudolph was poised for a huge 2013 season after he scored nine touchdowns and was Pro Bowl MVP in 2012. But an injury cut short his season last year. That injury has suppressed expectations for Rudolph externally. But internally, Rudolph is looked at as a key cog in the offense. He signed a lucrative contract extension at the beginning of camp and can now put his entire focus into playing within Turner’s offense, which has been very tight end-friendly over the years.

Fantasy Impact:
Rudolph was the #13 TE through Week 9 prior to a season-ending fracture in his foot. He was 15th in targets per game during that span, so there’s some opportunity in the workload department, especially with new OC Norv Turner in town. Turner isn’t necessarily as TE-friendly as his old boss Rob Chudzinski, but he featured Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron heavily while with the Chargers and Browns. Rudolph is just 24 and could make a nice leap if the Vikings can get good play out of the quarterback position. He should continue to be a force in the redzone.

Pats agree, Eagles TE Zach Ertz is primed for a breakout season

Thursday, August 14, 2014, 5:58pm

CSN Philly - [Full Article]

If anyone is qualified to make an expert judgment on tight ends, it’s Patriots linebackers and defensive backs, and both agree Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is primed for a breakout season.

“He’s a good player. He’s a great player,” defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones, a 2012 first-round pick, said. “He’s very athletic. He’s faster than I thought. I feel like he’s more of a skill player than anything. He runs his routes very well. I’ve had the opportunity to cover him for these two days of practice, and he’s been a handful.”

Ertz even shined in a rare joint walkthrough that featured a round of red-zone 7-on-7s in pads. With the second-string offense, Mark Sanchez connected with Ertz on three straight touchdowns, each tightly covered and with Ertz using his size or an elusive move to create separation.

“He’s a good tight end, an athletic guy, stretches the field,” Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty said. “Really, I think, understands how to get open against good defenses. That’s always good work when you can go against good tight ends. They have a bunch of them. At the safety position we got some pretty good work going against them the past two days.”

Fantasy Impact:
Snaps are the only real thing standing in Ertz's way. He is still behind Brent Celek since Celek is a better blocker, but Ertz will make his presence felt in the passing game. He has top 5 potential if he can work his way into starter's snaps.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 6:47pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Browns WR Travis Benjamin had a big day, catching a deep throw from QB Johnny Manziel and making several other catches. Benjamin is coming back from ACL surgery, and his role in the offense seems to be growing -- especially when Josh Gordon is out.

Arian Foster and Andre Johnson return to practice

Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 12:35pm

National Football Post - [Full Article]

Texans WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster are back at practice. Both players were out with hamstring injuries.

Fantasy Impact:
Foster's health is obviously a concern. He has missed 11 games in the last three years, but did play a full season in 2012 and no longer has Ben Tate to worry about. After finishing in the top 2 in fantasy points per game from 2010 to 2012, he was #19 in that category in 2013. At 27, Foster should have plenty of tread left on his tires, though the injuries seem to be piling up. The team wants to get him more involved in the passing game, which is a good sign for his PPR value. He is a risk-reward pick in the 2nd round. As for Johnson, he has missed valuable reps with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in a new offense, but the two should mesh quickly.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 2:44pm

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

Browns coach Mike Pettine says he expects QBs Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel to get equal reps with the first-team offense next Monday night against Washington.

Manziel played with the first-team offense during Tuesday morning's practice, but Pettine said afterward that no decision has been made as to who will start the Browns' second preseason game.

But it won't necessarily matter, as Pettine wants both quarterbacks to get equal reps or close to it with the first-teamers. Whether that's by series, by quarter or by something else remains to be seen. Pettine said ''there's a lot of options on the table'' and the staff would figure it out when it meets during the team's off-day on Thursday. That includes deciding who will actually start the game.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 10:25am

Akron Beaon-Journal - [Full Article]

The Browns found a new third-string quarterback and dumped another on Tuesday, signing Rex Grossman and waiving Tyler Thigpen.

Grossman, 33, gives the Browns a veteran backup who's fluent in the system employed by new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Grossman spent the past five seasons with Shanahan -- one with the Houston Texans and the last four with the Washington Redskins.