Could the Browns finally be close to extinguishing that dumpster fire?
2016 Review: The Cleveland Browns are often the butt of many a joke: Believeland, the Factory of Sadness, The Turd Colored Team (okay I made that one up), but the list of terrible nicknames goes on for almost as long as that unfortunate jersey’s list of QBs. After the Johnny/Billy Football debacle flamed out last offseason, the Browns went with a variety of QB options in 2016 and none of which really showed much promise. By the end of the season, they did have a few solid contributors in fantasy with the emergence of Terrelle Pryor and Isaiah Crowell as solid weekly fantasy players in their respected positions, but this was still a bad team. Although the Browns are still rebuilding, there is the smallest of glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel.
2017 Changes: In typical Browns fashion, Terrelle Pryor was allowed to walk on over to Washington and sign a one year deal in favor of Kenny Britt signing a monster 5 year $40 million dollar contract from Los Angeles. The decision was a bit questionable, but not as questionable as adding Brock Osweiler’s contract to essentially move up 40 or 50 picks in the draft in what was considered a Moneyball move. The Osweiler deal actually doesn’t bother me too much although they’ve humorlessly claimed Osweiler is pretty much here until he isn’t. Not exactly the biggest endorsement for the starting QB of your first preseason game, but the former Texan could be there still by Week 1…and under center. Hey I like bold moves. At least it was bolder than their recent color transformation.
2017 Outlook: The Browns are a work in progress, but they do have a nice mix of young talent and players nearing or in their prime. Crowell was excellent last season and should be relied upon heavily in 2017 and both Britt and Corey Coleman makeup a solid and perhaps emerging WR corps moving forward. The biggest issue is the QB position considering Osweiler was terrible last season even with DeAndre Hopkins and company. Rookie Deshaun Kizer should at least closeout the season as the team’s QB and Cody Kessler is also in the starter mix heading into training camp. The Browns are still a year or two away from being a competent team, but they may have made a step forward (after 20 back).
Fantasy Star You Can Trust: I don’t like being predictable, but Isiah Crowell was pretty impressive last season averaging 10.3 fantasy points per game and finishing the season as a high end RB2. It does scare me to draft a good player on a bad team, but if you’re going to go down that road Crowell seems worthy of 3rd round pick consideration. With the 20th most touches in 2016, his coaching staff has already acknowledged he should see even more work. So you can expect to see their feature back produce a solid weekly line. He’s among the least appreciated backs in the top 20.
Biggest Potential Bust: I’ll give the Browns a little love and say that there isn’t anybody I consider a fantasy draft bust largely because besides Crowell they don’t have many high end options. Perhaps Corey Coleman slipping on a football and having to deal with Kenny Britt isn’t ideal, but certainly not so bad you shouldn’t consider him at #54 at WR on Yahoo. Duke Johnson was disappointing last year, but similarly he shouldn’t be coveted by many people anymore either and his a handcuff for Crowell owners and that’s about it.
Best Sleeper: Kenny Britt’s contract seems a bit silly, but considering what he did in Los Angeles last season with the worst QB in the league I think he’s a great value at #55 on Yahoo at WR and the average 122nd pick in drafts. Sure he’ll likely need to adapt to several different signal callers this season which is never ideal, but he was a top 30 WR by the end of last season on an inferior passing team so he’s certainly worthy of a late flyer pick.
Most Overrated Sleeper: See Biggest Potential Bust options.
One Fascinating Fantasy Stat: The Browns didn’t have a single QB throw for more than 6 TDs last season.
Most Intriguing Storyline: It has to be the QB position where the Browns drafted a project they got at a great value, have one left over from last year, and acquired a once promising backup that had a bad contract which they acquired primarily to move up in the draft in a few rounds. By season’s end will one of these guys become the established guy or will the Browns be adding more names to that jersey next year?
One Thing I Was Right About (Last Season): Honestly nothing other than not to draft Gary Barnridge as a top 5 or 6 TE. Oh, and not to draft Josh Gordon “high” too.
One Thing I Was Wrong About: I thought Duke Johnson was going to be what Crowell was. I also thought Crowell was garbage and I never saw them having a 1,000 yard WR either.
Best Porn Name: I rarely see a name that is undisputed, but backup offensive tackle Roderick Johnson is the easy winner. I mean his surname is a slong and his parents named him after one. That’s two wieners for the price of one. Is that double penetration?
One final thing: Can we replace all Browns jokes with Jet jokes temporarily? Thanks. Oh, and we’ll miss RG3’s new squeeze.