Browns Fantasy News

Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 9:17pm - [Full Article]

Thaddeus Lewis doesn’t see Saturday’s preseason game against Tampa Bay any differently than the previous two.

In the veteran quarterback’s eyes, his job remains the same. The only difference is he’s one step closer to the top of the depth chart.

Lewis likely will serve as the Browns’ second and final quarterback against the Buccaneers. Johnny Manziel is expected to be sidelined because of a sore elbow, and Connor Shaw remains out indefinitely with an injured thumb, leaving Lewis and starter Josh McCown as the two healthy options behind center for Cleveland’s most important game before the regular season.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Lewis said. “You have to go out there and show that you’re capable of stepping in and the offense not losing a beat as if Josh or Johnny was in there. Josh is the starter and you put another guy in, can he continue to do the job that a starter would do, and that’s the opportunity I would have Saturday, and that’s what I look forward to doing.”

Browns Beat: Brian Hartline best player at camp

Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 10:05am

ESPN - [Full Article]

The Cleveland Browns officially break training camp today. Preparation for the regular season moves to the next phase. This time provides a good chance to look back at the highlights and lowlights of training camp.

Best player: WR Brian Hartline. Practiced hard, practiced well and was there every day. Availability is part of dependability, after all. Hartline is a clear pro and a solid addition.

Fantasy Impact:

The story added a close second WR Travis Benjamin. It never really made sense that some thought Benjamin was on the bubble to make the roster when camp started. After seeing him in camp, it makes less sense. Benjamin is vastly improved as a receiver and his speed is something the offense and punt return units badly need. Brown WRs are buried down our WR list but Hartine always attracted targets in Miami. The QB situation is an unstable one but Hartline, who isn't getting a lot of draft attention, could be a waiver wire claim at some point if he continues to play well.

Mike Evans will be held out rest of preseason

Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 4:38pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

The Buccaneers have a short turnaround from Monday night’s game against the Bengals to Saturday’s matchup with the Browns and they aren’t going to risk further injury to wide receiver Mike Evans’s hamstring by playing him in that contest.

After that comes the fourth preseason game, which is usually conducted by players vying for spots on the lower rungs of the depth chart and/or the practice squad. Evans is in neither of those groups and, as a result, coach Lovie Smith announced Tuesday, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, that Evans will not play again until the regular season.

Fantasy Impact:

As for whether Evans will be ready to play when the regular season gets started, Smith said that the team will “take every precaution” during Evans’s recovery and not rush him back into the lineup before he’s healed, the story said. It's a situation to watch as hopefully the team is just being cautious with Evans and it won't affect the start of the real season. As the story pointed out, it's valuable live action he's missing with QB Jameis Winston, at least for the third preseason game.

Monday, August 24, 2015, 6:45pm - [Full Article]

Since arriving in late January, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has examined second-year running backs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West like a detective. “Flip” watched all of their combined 319 carries from 2014 and he’s looked at hundreds of hours of practice film. On Monday, the month long training camp concluded and further information was acquired.

In this refurbished offense, West and Crowell will be asked to evolve from inside- the-tackle-box runners to do-it-all weapons. Mastering one running style in this league is an accomplishment; conquering others are how players go from solid to spectacular.

Fantasy Impact:

The Browns are expected to use more passes to RBs in this offense which would favor West, but also rookie Duke Johnson, who wasn't mentioned much in the story. However, Johnson has just returned from injury and could make a push for the starting role, something no Cleveland back has seemed to do so far in camp.

Monday, August 24, 2015, 5:02pm - [Full Article]

On paper, it’s hard to find much separation between Browns kickers Carey Spear and Travis Coons in their ongoing competition.

On the paper Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor fills with the finer details of the two-man battle, it’s even closer.

“It’s still neck and neck,” Tabor said before Monday’s practice. “Statistically, more important, how they’re hitting the ball because obviously there is more to it than just stats, ball flight, timing all those things, but they’re both doing a really good job and this will be another week to see who comes ahead.”

Coons and Spear, neither of whom have kicked in an NFL regular season game, have been solid on the practice field and even better in the higher-pressure situations of scrimmages and preseason games.

Duke Johnson looks 'explosive' in full pads

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 4:59pm - [Full Article]

Rookie running back Duke Johnson practiced in pads Saturday for the first time since Aug. 1, and hardly looked like he'd been nursing a sore hamstring for the past three weeks.

Johnson churned out some yards in a 9-on-9 inside running drill and then had a pass from Josh McCown glance off his hands in 7-on-7s. He later caught a post route from Johnny Manziel in 7-on-7s and then a right screen from McCown, which he turned upfield for a long gain.

"His legs looked fresh,'' said Pettine. "I am not sure who he beat on the inside post – He looks explosive."

On one play, fellow back Isaiah Crowell blocked for him.

Fantasy Impact:

Johnson is ranked 36th on our RB list but may start to climb if he continues to look good. The Brows backfield is a bit crowded but is searching for that lead back that has escaped them for a while now. Johnson has also created some buzz in the passing game and may have more PPR value.

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 12:56pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Johnny Manziel’s push for continued improvement and, eventually, a shot to start for the Browns has been derailed again by a sore arm.

Manziel was held out of the remainder of Sunday’s practice after he came off the field holding his right arm after delivering a deep pass to rookie wide receiver Josh Lenz. After practice, Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters he does not think Manziel is dealing with a serious issue but would likely hold him out of Monday’s practice.

The Browns don’t practice Tuesday, so giving Manziel Monday off would give him almost 72 hours rest before he practices again. Pettine called it “elbow soreness” when Manziel was limited for two days in the week before the team’s first preseason game.

The third and generally most important preseason game is Aug. 29 at Tampa Bay. Manziel has not played with the starters in the first two preseason games.

Zimmer: Charles Johnson 'continues to make plays'

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 9:41am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Charles Johnson isn't one of the three Vikings-drafted receivers on the roster, nor is he the prized offseason acquisition.

But since Johnson was plucked off the Cleveland Browns' practice squad nearly a year ago, he's been one of Teddy Bridgewater's favorite targets in a receiver room that has been recently bolstered with developing young talent, like fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs, and a new face in Mike Wallace.

Johnson led the team with 40 receiving yards on four catches, including a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the Vikings' 20-12 preseason win over the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night.

"Charles continues to make plays," coach Mike Zimmer said. "Catches the ball, runs good routes. The touchdown he caught, I thought the guy was grabbing the heck out of him the whole way."

Fantasy Impact:

After the Vikings jettisoned Jerome Simpson last fall, Johnson joined the Vikings after spending the 2013 season rehabbing a torn ACL under then-Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Less than two months later, Johnson became the Vikings' starting split end over 29th-overall pick Cordarrelle Patterson and turned 25 catches into 415 yards as Bridgewater's go-to target in the rookie quarterback's best stretch of play in December, the story added. We see potential for Johnson and think he could at least put up low-end WR3 numbers, like he did from Week 11 on last year when he finished as WR31 in that span. We rank him 39th on our WR list, and he's getting some mid-round draft attention.

Saturday, August 22, 2015, 3:56pm

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

Browns wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and rookie running back Duke Johnson returned to practice after being sidelined by hamstring injuries.

Bowe and Johnson have both missed Cleveland's first two exhibition games and are hoping to be on the field next Saturday when the Browns play at Tampa Bay. A nine-year veteran, Bowe said the time off has helped heal his body.

Johnson has had hamstring issues since high school, but Miami's career rushing leader doesn't think the missed time has been any setback.

Duke Johnson's hamstring issues date back to high school

Saturday, August 22, 2015, 3:50pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Rookie running back Duke Johnson set up a bit of a red alert Saturday when he admitted he’s struggled with hamstring issues since high school.

“I’m not a flexible guy,” Johnson said after taking part in the Cleveland Browns' slow-motion practice two days after the preseason loss to Buffalo, Johnson’s first time on the field since Aug. 1.

Johnson also said the hamstring strain that sidelined him was essentially the same issue that limited his running at the scouting combine. It should be said that even with hamstring issues and a lack of flexibility, Johnson left the University of Miami as the school’s all-time leading rusher.

“’I’ve never let it really stop me from producing and being the player than I am today,” said Johnson, the team’s third-round draft pick.

Fantasy Impact:

The Browns have big hopes for Johnson, to the point that they left minicamp in June thinking he had a chance to be the team’s every-down back. That progress was slowed by missing three weeks of practice. While Johnson has lived through the issue to have success, it may be something to deter fantasy owners if it comes down to Johnson and another RB to draft.

Saturday, August 22, 2015, 1:17pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

As he attempted to transition from quarterback to wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor showed promise in his first few days of Browns training camp. And then a hamstring injury set in.

Now, coach Mike Pettine says, Pryor is going to struggle to make the team if he can’t soon get himself healthy enough to practice.

“That window narrows every day that he’s not out there,” Pettine said today, via Mary Kay Cabot of

Fantasy Impact:

Realistically, Pryor may be running out of NFL chances. He bounced around from the Raiders to the Seahawks to the Chiefs to the Bengals and failed to make it as a quarterback, and now he’s having a hard time proving himself as a wide receiver. If Pryor doesn’t make it on the Browns this year, he may not make it in the NFL at all, the story concluded.

Bills 'cautiously optimistic' that LeSean McCoy (hamstring) will be ready for Week 1

Thursday, August 20, 2015, 10:36pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan told reporters Thursday he is "cautiously optimistic" that running back LeSean McCoy can return in time for the Bills' regular-season opener Sept. 13 against the Indianapolis Colts.

McCoy suffered a hamstring injury in a joint practice Tuesday with the Cleveland Browns. Ryan did not reveal the results of an MRI on McCoy's hamstring, but had said after Tuesday's practice that McCoy's hamstring was intact and that no separation from the bone occurred.

Fantasy Impact:

It’s safe to say that McCoy’s situation hasn’t improved. Sure, he’s going to a run-heavy system, so carries shouldn’t be a problem, but the Buffalo offense isn’t likely to be as efficient as Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia. Throw in an offensive coordinator (Greg Roman) who isn’t known for utilizing his running backs in the passing game and it’s likely that McCoy’s red zone chances and targets will both decrease in 2015. Now he has a hamstring injury that could affect his Week 1 availability. We're steering clear of McCoy in the 2nd round.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 5:57pm - [Full Article]

The Browns may have pulled a Rabbit out of a hat this season.

Receiver Travis Benjamin, a.k.a. The Rabbit, has quietly produced one of the best camps of all the wideouts this season, and is a virtual lock to the make the team after some folks had written him off.

In fact, coach Mike Pettine said Monday that the Browns are 'pretty set' with Benjamin as the lead punt returner, which pretty much secures a spot at the crowded receiver position.

And if Pettine asks for quarterback Josh McCown's input, he'll definitely get two thumbs up.

"Trav, he's a pro,'' McCown said after the first of two joint practices against the Bills here. "He just comes out and works hard, doesn't say a whole lot. He's got a great skillset as far as his speed. What Trav is doing really well right now is – you get a guy with speed like that a lot of time, but when the lights come on, either they play timid or they don't play at the high speed – Trav explodes off the ball every time we snap it, and because of that, he's using his speed to his advantage.

"It's causing space for him to get open, and that's why he's able to get balls. He's really doing a good job. Everybody's working really hard, but he's really helped us set a tone for how we're going to come off the football and work, and it's been cool to watch.''

Fantasy Impact:

Benjamin, entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, helped endear himself to McCown by waving his hand in the back of the end zone and catching a 2-yard touchdown pass against the Redskins. He's ranked way down our WR list, but with always a lot of turnover, and those who come and go at the position, he's another name to keep in mind perhaps later in the season.

Monday, August 17, 2015, 6:12pm - [Full Article]

Bills undrafted rookie WR Andre Davis has put up some head turning plays the last couple of days. The beneficiary of additional reps Monday due to all the receivers pulling out of practice early, Davis had the catch of the day.

Davis pulled in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel. As the ball cleared his outside shoulder on the left sideline, Davis snared the ball with his left hand and pulled it in to his body as he reached the end zone behind the Cleveland cornerback.

“I had a go route. Cassel gave me a chance—great throw out there and I was able to put my hand on it and I grabbed it, brought it in,” said Davis. “It definitely was the best day at camp I’ve had. I got a chance to come out here and compete. We’re down a couple of guys and coach gave me a chance to come out here and compete. With the Browns coming in, I came in here and had a great opportunity and that’s what I did. I competed.”

“He’s doing a great job competing for the ball and he goes up and obviously has ability down the field,” said Cassel. “When he goes up he’s got good ball skills down the field. He’s a guy that has to continue to compete for a job and when he can show up like he did today that’s going to make an impression on the coaching staff.”

Monday, August 17, 2015, 1:57pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin left Monday's joint practice against the Cleveland Browns with heat-related issues.

According to reporters on the practice field where Goodwin and the Bills' offense were participating in an 11-on-11 drill against the Browns' defense, Goodwin collapsed on the sideline.

The third-year receiver was immediately surrounded by athletic trainers, with one trainer sitting up Goodwin on the ground and holding him from behind while another trainer wrapped a towel around his neck.

After several minutes of sitting on the field, Goodwin walked off the field with trainers to the locker room. He is expected to return for Tuesday's joint practices, according to coach Rex Ryan.

Goodwin left last Monday's practice with an illness after Ryan said Goodwin vomited on the field. The Bills' third-round pick in 2013 suffers from both sickle cell trait and asthma, although it's unclear if either played a role in his condition Monday.

Receiver Chris Hogan also left Monday's practice with heat-related issues while fellow receiver Sammy Watkins did not finish because of glute soreness. With receiver Marcus Thigpen working at running back because of several injuries at that position, the Bills were down to four healthy receivers at the end of Monday's practice: Robert Woods, Dez Lewis, Andre Davis and Deonte Thompson.

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