Browns Fantasy News
Browns to decide QB competition by Aug. 23
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:24pm
According to coach Mike Pettine, we’ll have a winner of the Browns’ QB derby in about a month.
In a Q&A published Monday, Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal the club will pick a starting quarterback by Cleveland’s August 23 preseason game vs. St. Louis.
“I don’t know if I’ll set a date and kind of paint ourselves into a date, but it will be sooner than the third preseason game,” Pettine told Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal.
If Manziel wins the starting job this summer, he'll be an intriguing QB2 who should be available in the 9th-11th rounds given all the depth at quarterback. He has a good situation brewing with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron in his receiving corps, and the newly-signed Ben Tate as a threat in the running game. (Gordon’s looming suspension is an obvious concern.) Manziel’s durability is a question mark given his propensity for taking chances by leaving the pocket.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:03pm
Head coach Mike Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal the club doesn’t intend to release Gordon, who was arrested on a DWI charge in early July. The 23-year-old Pro Bowl wide receiver, under contract for two more seasons, was already facing a potential suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“Josh is a Cleveland Brown. We want to do what’s best for him,” Pettine told the Beacon Journal‘s Nate Ulrich in a story published Monday. “We have a player that potentially needs help. Whether it’s him or whether it’s anybody else that wears the uniform, if we can help, we’ll help. We want to make our decisions always, what’s best for the player, and you try to marry it with what’s best for the team.
“So that’s why I don’t think that cutting him, while it may have worked for some other people, I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best option here. It might be the worst option for both — for us and for him. We’re going to wait and see what happens and then act accordingly.”
Kyle Rudolph shed 15 lbs for larger role in passing game
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 11:03am
Changes continue at Winter Park and that includes Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, who has yet to have a 100-yard receiving game in the NFL. Though he's been voted to a Pro Bowl, Rudolph has mostly been known for his effective run blocking. That should change under Turner, who has championed some of the NFL's best pass-catching tight ends in his stops across the league. Coming off a broken foot and in a contract year, Rudolph shed 15 pounds to prepare for this season as he figures to run more routes and become a focal point of the Vikings' pass attack.
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.
Browns TE Jordan Cameron 'No. 1 read in the passing game'
Monday, July 21, 2014, 11:49am
There are three reasons for TE Jordan Cameron to be the most popular Browns player in fantasy leagues. One, his breakout 2013 season signaled his maturity as an NFL playmaker. Two, the team’s sorry situation at wideout makes Cameron a No. 1 read in the passing game. Three, he’s playing to secure his future financially in his contract year. The key to Cameron’s 2013 season was keeping himself on the field and out of the trainer’s room. If he can do it again, he will lead the team in receptions, yards and touchdown catches.
Cameron was the #2 TE through Week 8, but ranked #23 from Week 9 through Week 17. Some of this had to do with the QB issues in Cleveland, though his targets remained relatively even (8.4 T/G through Week 8 vs. 7.3 T/G thereafter). Despite the departure of a TE-friendly coaching staff that included HC Rob Chudzinski and OC Norv Turner, there is still a lot to like about Cameron. He should enjoy a QB upgrade and new OC Kyle Shanahan is pretty TE-friendly in his own right. Under Shanahan, Jordan Reed was targeted a healthy 6.6 times per game (11th-most among TEs) in 2013. While the new regime is not an upgrade for Cameron, it’s not a huge downgrade, either. The probable loss of Josh Gordon means lots of targets (and lots of defensive attention) for Cameron. It's a double-edged sword.
Previewing the Browns' QB competition
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 12:13pm
Browns beat writer Nate Ulrich...
I’m picking Brian Hoyer to win job, even though 11-of-16 quarterbacks taken in the first round since 2008 have started right away.
How long he’d keep it would depend on wins and losses, but I don’t think the leash would be long. For example, if the Browns start the season 0-3 after visiting the Steelers and hosting the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens, it would be convenient for Mike Pettine to promote Johnny Manziel during the Week 4 bye and have him ready to face the Tennessee Titans on the road Oct. 5.
But even if Hoyer becomes the starter and wins like he did last season, it wouldn’t necessarily preclude Manziel from playing as a rookie. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of OC Kyle Shanahan featuring Manziel in certain packages.
And remember, the backup always seems to find himself in the lineup in Cleveland. No Browns quarterback has started all 16 regular-season games since Tim Couch in 2001.
If Manziel wins the starting job this summer, he'll be an intriguing QB2 who should be available in the 10th-12th rounds given all the depth at quarterback. His rushing yards will drive his fantasy value, especially since the team is likely to be without Josh Gordon for most (if not all) of the season.
Ben Tate 'at least a slight favorite' to win RB1 job
Friday, July 18, 2014, 7:35pm
As one of the Browns’ priority free-agent signings and with four years of NFL experience as a solid backup with the Houston Texans, Ben Tate enters camp as at least a slight favorite to win the starting job. When he was first signed, Tate had every reason to assume he was a shoo-in to become the Browns’ No. 1 back because at the time there was no one approaching his talent level on the team. That dramatically changed when the Browns made Terrance West their third-round draft pick and added Isaiah Crowell as an undrafted free agent. West quickly emerged as a formidable challenger for the starting role.
Tate's stock has taken a big hit upon the arrival of West. This is a camp battle to watch. Whoever wins the job will likely have low-end RB2/RB3 value.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:08pm
Despite suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last October after he led the Browns to back-to-back wins, QB Brian Hoyer said he has been cleared to practice without limitations when training camp begins July 26.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:07pm
Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he wasn’t permitted to reveal when the hearing will take place with league officials, but admitted it would occur “in the near future.”
We're expecting a minimum of an eight-game ban, but Gordon's recent DUI arrest isn't encouraging.
Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:02pm
Thursday, July 17, 2014, 11:18am
WR Golden Tate is the best No. 2 the Lions have had in Calvin Johnson’s tenure with the team. No disrespect to Nate Burleson, but he was more of a possession receiver. Tate can catch a five-yard pass and turn it into 80 yards. That’s nice to have in the bag when double coverage rolls Megatron’s way.
Tate is also sure-handed. He’s dropped just seven passes in four years. The Lions have led the league in dropped passes the last two seasons.
Tate had the #29 FP/T (1.21) in 2013, which was right on his three-year average. Tate saw 99 targets last year, which was a career high. He has back-to-back top 35 seasons to his credit, and he did that with just 5.4 T/G. He’s likely to see around 7.0 T/G in a pass-happy offense. (The Lions threw it 51% more than the Seahawks did in 2013.) And he’ll get to play opposite Calvin Johnson, ensuring that he’ll be seeing single coverage on virtually every play. He’s a fantasy WR3 with upside, assuming he and Matthew Stafford develop a good rapport. For more on his potential in the Detroit offense, click here.
Sunday, July 13, 2014, 12:18pm
“Not really. I’m not really focused on my teammates, what they do in their off life so that’s none of my business,” Hoyer said. “They can make those decisions on their own. All that matters is that we come back ready to go for the season.”
Hoyer said his knee is totally healthy after last year’s torn ACL and that he’s been throwing to Browns receivers Andrew Hawkins and Charles Johnson during the time off before training camp in order to be as sharp as possible when his competition with Manziel heats up later this month. He’ll need to be to remain on top of the depth chart and it’s clear that Hoyer isn’t taking that spot for granted.
We have Manziel slightly ahead of Hoyer right now and think he can be an interesting QB2 if he does win the job.
Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:50pm
Per a source with knowledge of the dynamics of the situation, it’s not likely that the Browns would cut Josh Gordon, but it remains possible. The source said that it would not be a surprise if the Browns decide to part ways with Gordon before training camp.
If that happens, Gordon would be exposed to the waivers system, with teams getting a shot at securing the final two years of his rookie deal based on the worst-to-first priority order. The Texans, who may need a No. 1 receiver, would have dibs.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 2:18pm
With Dez Bryant on the other side and Jason Witten expected to line up mostly on his side, Williams will have the chance to make plays. Tony Romo will not be afraid to come after him. Some believe he will be a breakout player on this offense in part because of the attention Bryant and Witten will receive.
He doesn't have great speed, but he still averaged 16.7 yards per catch. When he gets rolling, he is difficult to stop. He has the tools to be a 1,000-yard receiver, but he doesn't need to have 1,000 yards for the offense to be successful.
The WR2 spot looks like it's Williams' to lose. He was impressive last year, especially when Miles Austin was injured, putting up #12 WR numbers from Weeks 4-10 until Austin returned. We rank him 32nd and project him for just under 1,000 yards. His ADP is the 9th round and we think he's at least high-end WR3 material. Rookie Devin Street is the team's only other true outside WR.
Josh Gordon arrested for DUI
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 7:42pm
In addition to the DUI charge, Gordon was issued a speeding citation for going 50 mph in a 35 mph area.
Gordon clearly has a problem staying out of trouble and whatever glimmer of hope there was that he would avoid a year-long suspension for multiple failed drug tests appears to be fading quickly. He has a hearing later this month but we're not optimistic that Gordon will play in 2014. Sources close to the receiver are concerned that he won't be able to make his way back to the NFL if he is suspended for a full season. If that's the case it will be a sad waste of a tremendous talent.
Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson has improved his route-running
Friday, July 4, 2014, 4:52pm
"I just think his route-running and his ability to recognize defense," quarterback Matt Cassel said. "I think that's huge for him, and any receiver, as you move forward. The key component, I think, is understanding defenses and how they're trying to attack you and how you work your different releases."
"The most obvious thing, and you see it when he returns kicks, is he's a natural runner," new offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. "He's got great instincts when he gets the ball in his hand and he makes great run decisions. He's got great vision. I think from Day 1 to now he's improved as a route runner. He's been very serious about working as a route runner."
Patterson posted the 5th-best FP/snap (0.24) among wideouts who played at least 20% of their team’s snaps. Patterson was the #10 WR from Week 10 to Week 17 – as a rookie. He scored seven touchdowns in that span (three rush, four receiving) while racking up 29 catches for 323 yards to go along with 10 carries for 156 rushing yards. With Josh Gordon coming off of a breakout season under new Vikings OC Norv Turner, Patterson should be a fantasy starter sooner rather than later. His TD rate will be difficult to maintain, but he should see a jump in touches in 2014. If he is improving as a route-runner, then the sky the limit.