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Fantasy Football: Time to Focus on the Browns

After talking about various topics such as draft position and the best players at each position for fantasy football, it's time to talk about a topic that hits closer to home: the value of players on the Cleveland Browns as they pertain to fantasy football.

You might say that Joe Thomas and Joshua Cribbs are the two most valuable players on the Browns, but drafting them isn't going to do you much good versus your opponents.

The biggest question mark involves the running back situation, so I'll dedicate the entire first part to that position. After that, I'll go position-by-position to see whether a specific player is worth drafting.

The Running Back Problem

Having three running backs who can contribute might be a gift for the Browns,  but it's a nightmare for fantasy football players who are trying to determine who they should draft.

  • If you're hell-bent on taking a Browns running back and all three are available, I'd say your best bet is Jerome Harrison. It was originally thought that he'd face stiff competition from Montario Hardesty, but the rookie running back had missed all of training camp up until two days ago. Harrison did very well behind the Browns' offensive line and Lawrence Vickers last year, and with Cleveland set to face Tampa Bay and Kansas City over the first two weeks, it might be worth drafting him higher than you normally would.
  • Hardesty will probably get his fair share of reps, but I expect Harrison to receive more carries still. With Hardesty possibly having less reps, there's less of a chance that he'll be on the field during touchdown drives. If you grab Harrison, it might be worth stashing Hardesty on your bench in the final round if he is still available.
  • Although Peyton Hillis has been a monster in the preseason, I'd wait before I picked him up. He might be the team's most important player on offense if he can do a great job on third downs as a rusher, receiver, and blocker, but that means he's probably not going to be getting chunks of yardage at a time. If you draft him, you have to believe that he'll be the team's goal line back, which I don't see happening.

And now, the other positions in rapid fire...

  • QB Jake Delhomme - Unless you have other die-hard Browns fans in your league, I don't think Delhomme is going to be drafted. As good as the veteran has looked in camp, we don't know how often the Browns will be able to score touchdowns during the regular season.
  • QB Seneca Wallace - If you draft him, you're kind of crazy.
  • WR Mohamed Massaquoi - Of all the Browns' receivers, Massaquoi is the most likely to be drafted since he's the team's top receiver. He looked good in his first preseason game, but he shouldn't be treated anywhere near a "top tier receiver" with how often it seems Delhomme will be targeting his tight ends and running backs.
  • WR Brian Robiskie - He is in line to start this year and has looked much better in camp, but it's hard to imagine Robiskie being valued very high -- you're better off taking the No. 3 receivers on teams like the Packers, Patriots, Colts, and Saints.
  • WR Chansi Stuckey - Productive slot receiver, but not enough time on the field to catch touchdowns.
  • WR Joshua Cribbs - He has the added benefit of possibly getting you return points, but there will probably be some games where he doesn't have any production depending on the tempo of the game. His fantasy stats will be too up-and-down to make him worthwhile.
  • TE Ben Watson - He could be in line for a very good year, as he should be utilized more than the Patriots have been using him. It wouldn't surprise me if Watson ends up leading the team in receptions and touchdowns by the end of the season. There are several tight ends to draft ahead of him in the NFL, but if you don't like taking a tight end early, he's a very good pick late.
  • TE Evan Moore - As much as I like him, whether or not that translates to fantasy points is another question. I don't think there's any way you can spend a draft pick on Moore.
  • K Phil Dawson - Most people don't care about the kickers. I think the Browns should move the ball a bit better this year to give the reliable Dawson more opportunities, so he's a perfectly fine kicker to select.
  • DEF Cleveland - The biggest mistake Cleveland fans can do is select the Browns defense just because they don't research other defenses. Historically our defense is inconsistent and gives up a lot of points. They do have a favorable Week 1 matchup though, so it might be worth drafting them in the last round only to drop them soon after.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the Browns players regarding fantasy football. If you didn't guess, in the above list, the color red means I would not consider drafting them, while the color green means I would consider drafting them. My projections are meant for a 12-man league or less.



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