Browns Fantasy News

Browns Beat: RGIII 'clearly' the frontrunner

Friday, July 29, 2016, 8:49pm - [Full Article]

Robert Griffin III took all the first-team reps on the first day of Browns training camp Friday, and is clearly the frontrunner for the job.

In fact, it doesn't look like much of a competition, and it won't be long before Hue Jackson names him the starter. At the latest, he'll wait until just before the first preseason game Aug. 12 in Green Bay.

Fantasy Impact:

Cabot went on to say if Friday's practice is any indication, there will be no need to wait even that long. Griffin worked exclusively with the ones, and his main challenger, Josh McCown, worked with the twos. Rookie Cody Kessler and Austin Davis stepped in after that. We heard RGIII would get 4-of-5 snaps with the first team but it seems like he got more than that, and it seems it's just a matter of time before he's officially named.

Friday, July 29, 2016, 3:19pm - [Full Article]

How Gary Barnidge and other tight ends are used during full team sessions is one of the more anticipated aspects of Hue Jackson's offense, which has always valued the tight end in the passing game.

"Every tight end is going to have to an opportunity to do everything. It's not going to be this guy does this and that guy does that," Barnidge said Friday prior to the team's first training camp practice. "Everybody will be moving around and that makes it tough for the defense."

Fantasy Impact:

Barnidge made things tough for defenses by himself last season. He caught 79 passes for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl invite. He had sports hernia surgery in June to deal with what he called wear and tear, but doesn't feel like he fell behind.

Browns expected to name QB starter early in camp

Thursday, July 28, 2016, 12:34pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

The Browns haven’t named their starting quarterback for the 2016 season, but it doesn’t sound like coach Hue Jackson plans to extend the competition too deep into August.

During a press conference on Thursday, Jackson said that “whoever earns the job is going to earn it on the field” and suggested that they’ll do it pretty soon.

“It’s going to show itself really quickly and it would definitely be before we play our first preseason game,” Jackson said.

Fantasy Impact:

Every indication is it will be Robert Griffin III who starts, and those on the Browns beat feel the same. We had a recent news story that Griffin will take 4-of-5 snaps with the first team in practice. The addition of Josh Gordon will help RGIII, but Gordon will miss a few weeks with an injury as well as the first four games of the season.

Isaiah Crowell taking necessary steps

Thursday, July 28, 2016, 12:28pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

The public message from Browns coach Hue Jackson and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown was that RB Isaiah Crowell is taking necessary steps to make up for his Twitter mistake.

“It starts with grave disappointment in the action in the first place,” Brown said. “But to his credit, [after it happened] he called both Hue and I on his own to be accountable. Obviously, it was a huge mistake but he has taken steps at least at the outset that he should.”

Fantasy Impact:

Crowell quickly issued a formal apology, and attended the funeral of one of the police officers killed in Dallas earlier this month and pledged his first game check to the Dallas fallen officers’ fund, the story said. He'll likely feel some backlash, but still looks poised for a Jeremy Hill-like role in what could be a run-heavy Browns offense.

Josh Gordon (quad) to miss a couple of weeks

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 5:16pm

Nate Ulrich on Twitter - [Full Article]

Browns put WR Josh Gordon (quad) on active/NFI. Expected to be at least couple weeks before he can practice.

Fantasy Impact:

The tweet said Gordon was injured working out on his own this summer. This puts a little damper on the news of his return and he'll miss some valuable time trying to build a connection with Robert Griffin III. Gordon is ranked 42nd on our WR list, which puts him in WR4 range. Based on name alone, he may go well before that in fantasy drafts. It's looking like his full-time return to the field could end up being a slow one when it does begin in Week 5.

RGIII to get 4 of every 5 first team reps

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 8:34am

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Robert Griffin III hasn’t been promised the starting quarterback job in Cleveland, but heading into training camp, it’s his job to lose.

Longtime Browns reporter Tony Grossi said this morning on PFT Live that Griffin will get four out of every five reps with the first-string offense at Browns camp. That strongly suggests that coach Hue Jackson is heading into camp with the idea that Griffin is his starter, and will only change his mind if something surprising happens.

Fantasy Impact:

At the moment, the Browns’ depth chart appears to have Griffin on top, Josh McCown second, rookie third-round draft pick Cody Kessler third and Austin Davis fourth, the story said. As the story also indicated, this is Griffin's job to lose and his chances of keeping it got a little better with what looks like the return of WR Josh Gordon. Griffin is ranked just 30th on our list but has potential to climb a bit if things continue to trend in his favor.

Gary Barnidge reports to camp

Monday, July 25, 2016, 2:42pm - [Full Article]

Browns TE Gary Barnidge, recovering from offseason surgery, arrived to camp early as expected.

"(Barnidge) had the best doctor and he will be back and ready to go at training camp,'' head coach Hue Jackson said at the team's golf outing last month after announcing that his tight end underwent sports hernia surgery. "I'm glad that we're dealing with this now, so that we can get it behind us and get him back to where he needs to be. And me knowing him, he'll be champing at the bit way before time, but we'll slow him down and make sure he's ready to go.''

Barnidge said that he hoped to be ready by the start of camp.

Fantasy Impact:

Barnidge had the rare age-30 breakout season, posting 79 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns on 125 targets. There are a lot of changes in Cleveland this year with a new head coach/offense and a new quarterback (Robert Griffin III), and given Barnidge's short fantasy resume, he's not a safe pick. But Tyler Eifert played well under Hue Jackson last year, so it's likely that Barnidge will be an integral part of the passing attack, especially considering the sorry state of the Cleveland receiving corps.

RapSheet: Browns WR Josh Gordon is being reinstated, suspended four games

Monday, July 25, 2016, 2:17pm

Ian Rapoport - [Full Article]

Browns WR Josh Gordon is being reinstated, source said. He’s suspended for the first four games.

Gordon’s reinstatement is conditional, source said. But he can participate in training camp.

Gordon will be playing in preseason games, though he’ll still have to participate in treatment. When he’s suspended, he CAN be in meetings.

Fantasy Impact:

We're not sure what Rapoport means by "reinstatement is conditional," but maybe he explained that in his latest tweet on the subject where he talked about how Gordon can play in the preseason and attend meetings, but that he'll continue to participate in treatment. From a fantasy standpoint, this clearly will have big impact on the Browns' offense. The likely starter at quarterback, Robert Griffin III, is more attractive as a late-round pick, while Corey Coleman takes a hit as he's likely to see WR2-type targets instead of the WR1 targets for which he was already slated. As for Gordon, he was the #2 fantasy receiver in 2013 (in just 14 games), but he wasn't nearly as productive when he played in 2014. With Brian Hoyer at quarterback, Gordon averaged 4.8 catches (on 9.4 targets per game) for 61 yards and failed to find the end zone in five games. Presumably, Gordon will have to convince new HC Hue Jackson that he's truly serious about changing his ways, and if he's convincing, Jackson would be foolish not to try to utilize Gordon's talents in his offense. We'll update our rankings momentarily, but Gordon is shaping up to be a 6th- or 7th-round pick, though owners who are not risk-adverse may want to pull the trigger earlier.

Browns Beat: 'Can see' Duke Johnson catching 70-plus passes

Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 1:30pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Browns beat writer Tony Grossi: Even though Hue Jackson’s offense is built off the running game, I don’t expect Isaiah Crowell or Duke Johnson to topple 1,000 yards rushing individually. I can see them combining for 1,500 yards and Johnson totaling 70 or more receptions.

Fantasy Impact:

Let's put Grossi's prediction into perspective: Since 2010, seven running backs have caught between 60-69 passes. They finished with an average ranking of RB9 (PPR), with the lowest finish at RB24 (which was Duke Johnson last year). Nine running backs finished with 70-79 catches with an average finish of RB8. The lowest finish was RB23 (Darren Sproles, 2013). Five backs caught 80-plus passes in a season since 2010 with an average PPR finish of RB6 and a low of RB18 (Theo Riddick, 2015). Johnson is currently the #19 RB off the board in PPR formats. Considering only two of 21 running backs with 60-plus catches in the last six years finished below that level, he's a good bet to return value. Assuming Grossi's prediction is correct, he has upside from there. Fifteen of the 21 running backs with 60-plus catches finished in the top 12 in PPR formats.

If reinstated, Browns may welcome WR Josh Gordon back

Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 7:38pm - [Full Article]

Mary Kay Cabot: If Josh Gordon is reinstated after he's eligible to apply on Aug. 1, the Browns will sit down with him and assess where he's at. Hue Jackson has said everyone will begin with a clean slate and that includes Gordon. Jackson will look him in the eyes and try to determine if he's as committed as he needs to be. I'm guessing that Jackson will be surprised by Gordon, who's nothing like his public personna. Jackson just has to decide if he thinks Gordon can stay clean and not test positive again, which would result in another indefinite suspension. Jim Brown told that Gordon's been in rehab, which should help his case with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But no one knows yet if it will be enough for reinstatement, or enough for the Browns to trust him.

Fantasy Impact:

Gordon would drastically alter the fantasy landscape in Cleveland, though he last caught a pass in December of 2014. He played five games that season, averaging 4.8 catches for 61 yards. We're not optimistic that he'll be reinstated, though the league has left the door open. He was reportedly living with Johnny Manziel in the spring, but according to former great Jim Brown, Gordon has been in rehab this summer. Gordon is worth a late-round flier, especially in non-best ball leagues where owners can cut him and move on if he isn't reinstated.

Browns aren't planning to cut RB Isaiah Crowell after insensitive Instagram post

Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 11:45pm - [Full Article]

The Browns have no plans to cut Isaiah Crowell, but they made it clear that actions must speak louder than words when it comes to his apology for an Instagram post depicting a police officer being stabbed in the neck by a person in a black hood.

Crowell posted the photo on Wednesday after the fatal shooting of two black men by police, one in Minnesota and one in Louisiana. But he took it down after a few minutes and issued an apology Monday through the Browns.

With racial tensions running high in the country in the wake of the fatal shootings of five police officers in Dallas on Thursday many fans and some media, including ESPNCleveland's Bruce Hooley, have called for Crowell's immediate dismissal by the Browns.

They currently have no plans to do that, but stressed in a statement that he must back up his words with action.

Fantasy Impact:

Crowell came into the league with various off-the-field missteps and he showed poor judgment here. It appears that the team is going to stand behind him for now, though the Cleveland PD has threatened to boycott Browns games if Crowell doesn't "make it right."

Sunday, July 10, 2016, 9:27am - [Full Article]

Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot answered a question about the team's RB depth:

I think the Browns are comfortable right now with the likes of Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Terrell Watson, Glenn Winston and Raheem Mostert. They can always add a back at some point in camp if they need one, but I don't think it's a high priority. I think Jackson is excited to see what Watson can do, and Winston appears ready to try to prove he belongs in the league. With improved blocking schemes and a commitment to the run, I think the ground game will be a force this season.

Fantasy Impact:

Cabot said Jackson is especially excited about Watson, who was brought from Cincy's practice squad. Jackson thinks Watson can be an NFL back but right now sits third on the depth chart behind Crowell and Johnson. Seems like if there's an injury, Watson has potential to step right in for significant work but this will all be determined in camp.

Browns Beat: 'all signs pointing' to Corey Coleman as WR1

Sunday, July 10, 2016, 9:21am - [Full Article]

Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot answered a question about Corey Coleman being the Browns No. 1 receiver this season:

All signs are pointing that way. Coleman still has a lot to learn about running a pro style offense, but he's fiercely competitive and working his tail off. In spring practices, he showed tremendous athleticism and good hands. Now, he needs to improve his route-running and his mastery of Hue Jackson's offense. Once he learns the nuances of the position and the complicated pro-style route tree — as opposed to the simple assignments he had at Baylor — he'll play faster and his athleticism will take over.

Fantasy Impact:

This offseason, he vowed to work out with Robert Griffin III to perfect their timing and chemistry. Expect them to look very much on the same page at the start of camp, Cabot went on to say. Coleman gets a pretty respectable ranking on our list at 39. The athletic Coleman is on the small side (5’11”) so the team will need to manufacture touches.

Brown Beat: RG3 made enough good plays

Sunday, July 10, 2016, 9:16am - [Full Article]

Robert Griffin III had his ups and downs in offseason practices as he came up the learning curve, but he made enough good plays for the Browns to be encouraged heading into training camp. He's learning a whole new offense and Hue Jackson and Pep Hamilton are riding him hard after every rep. I saw him make some tremendous throws, including a long touchdown pass to Terrelle Pryor on the last play of minicamp, but he also threw some interceptions and had other passes batted down at the line.

It was the kind of spring you'd expect from a quarterback who sat out all of last season and who's trying to learn a new scheme and new mechanics. He made it abundantly clear that he's willing to slide and throw the ball away — and that he's coachable. He's also working with quarterback expert Tom House in the time off before camp, which should help tremendously. It's too soon to say if his career can be salvaged, but he's certainly working hard at it.

Fantasy Impact:

Jackson and company haven't named RG3 the starter yet, saying the team wants to see the QBs practice in pads, but beat writer Mary Kay Cabot expects that to happen with Josh McCown the likely QB2. Griffin will get some late-round attention in deeper QB leagues but is currently ranked 31st on our list meaning there are much safer options in typical 10- and 12-team leagues.

Hue: Browns RB Duke Johnson is 'very talented'

Thursday, July 7, 2016, 11:44am - [Full Article]

Browns RB Duke Johnson carried the ball just 104 times last season, but caught 61 passes for 534 yards and a score. He had six games of five or more catches.

"Duke Johnson was a draft pick a year ago who kind of burst onto the scene and had a ton of catches and made some unbelievable plays," Jackson said. "So I'm looking forward to working with him. I think he's very talented."

Fantasy Impact:

Isaiah Crowell outscored Johnson in standard formats, but Johnson (61 catches) had the edge in PPR, finishing #24 on the year. We can glean new HC Hue Jackson's playcalling tendencies from his usage of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill last year in Cincinnati. When the Bengals were trailing by a field goal or more, Bernard saw 33 touches to Hill's 32. When the Bengals were trailing by two points or less, tied or leading, Hill saw 206 touches to 170 for Bernard. Since the 2016 Browns are likely to be trailing far more often than the 2015 Bengals, Johnson has a chance at an even larger share of the touches than Bernard, who finished #17 in PPR formats last season. Given Johnson's 6th-round ADP in early PPR drafts, he looks like a nice target for the "wait on RB" crowd.

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