Coach: Freddie Kitchens
OC: Todd Monken
QBs: Baker Mayfield, Drew Stanton, Garrett Gilbert, David Blough
RBs: Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson, Dontrell Hilliard, Trayone Gray, D’Ernest Johnson, Kareem Hunt
WRs: Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Antonio Callaway, Damion Ratley, Jaelen Strong, Derrick Willies, Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, Blake Jackson, Ishmael Hyman, DJ Montgomery, Dorian Baker
TEs: David Njoku, Seth DeValve, Demetrius Harris, Orson Charles, Pharaoh Brown, Stephen Carslon
2019 Draft (offense only):
Round 6, Pick 189 – OT – Drew Forbes – Southeast Missouri State
2019 Undrafted Free Agents (fantasy offense only):
QB – David Blough – Purdue
RB – Trayone Gray – Miami
WR – DJ Montgomery – Austin Peay
WR – Dorian Baker – Kentucky
TE – Stephen Carlson – Princeton
Key Offseason Additions (fantasy offense):
RB – Kareem Hunt
WR – Odell Beckham Jr
TE – Demetrius Harris
Training Camp Preview: Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/24
Cleveland had the most exciting off-season in the NFL. New head coach Freddie Kitchens was promoted from within, serving as the associate head coach and running backs coach last year. He was also the offensive coordinator after Hue Jackson was fired. The new offensive coordinator will be Todd Monken, who last year coordinated the league’s top passing offense in Tampa Bay. We should be very excited about what these two can do with Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr.
Baker Mayfield finished around QB16 last year playing in 14 games, but he actually scored as QB7 after Hue Jackson was fired. Mayfield should be a lock for top ten numbers this year and will be in the mix for a top five season. He is being drafted around QB5 right now so he’s being drafted near his ceiling. I generally don’t like to draft players at their ceiling, but with the additions of OBJ and Todd Monken, I’m willing to draft Mayfield as my QB1 if he falls to the 6th/7th round range. We’re looking at 4,000+ passing yards and 30+ TDs here. We’ll have to watch and monitor training camp reports to see how Mayfield is adjusting to the new Monken system. The only knock I can think of with Mayfield is that defenses will be ready for him this year. He’s still one of the most exciting young QBs and should only benefit from playing with a talent like Beckham.
Nick Chubb enters his second season clearly atop the depth chart. He finished as RB17 in PPR leagues, racking up 996 yards and 8TDs on 192 carries. He added 20 receptions for 149 yards and 2TDs. He’s currently going in the second round of drafts and is one of my favorite targets in this round. There’s a good chance he finishes in the top five in rushing yards and is likely to score double digit touchdowns again. The big question in this backfield is with Duke Johnson. If Duke gets traded before the season, Chubb will see a rise in targets and receptions. Even if Duke gets traded in season before the trade deadline, we’ll see Chubb’s receiving numbers rise. The Browns did sign Kareem Hunt this off-season, but he’ll be suspended for the first eight weeks of the year. Once he’s back, it might take him a few weeks to get up to speed so I wouldn’t worry about him over-taking Chubb or ruining Chubb’s value right away. Hunt may have some RB2/Flex value for us late in our playoff runs however. Duke Johnson’s value could skyrocket if he gets traded to a team like Tampa Bay that will use his skillset to the fullest. We’ll have to monitor Johnson’s situation the next few weeks before we decide to start drafting him, but I’d assume he’ll get what he wants and land on a new team in 2019. If/when it happens, second year back Dontrell Hilliard will be the name to know. He could step right into Johnson’s role. We’ll see how Hilliard plays in pre-season before we ge too excited. For now, draft Chubb. The rest will sort itself out.
The trade for Odell Beckham Jr. will be one of the most exciting trade’s we’ll ever see. He’s going from Eli Manning to Baker Mayfield, making me think we haven’t seen the best of OBJ yet. Feel free to make Beckham your first round pick in the back end of round one, or roll the dice and see if you can snag him early round 2. Beckham has had a handful of soft-tissue injuries throughout his career so there is some injury concern, but his pairing with Mayfield should be pretty special when he’s healthy. Jarvis Landry will be the WR2 and should slide back into his complimentary slot receiving role. Landry can provide us a steady WR3 this year. After the top two, Rashard Higgins is the favorite for the number 3. Antonio Callaway has a chance to to beat out Higgins, but for now, Callaway is the clear number four. If anything happens to Beckham or Higgins, Callaway will be a a must add. Callaway is a better dynasty stash and best ball pick than a redraft target this year. We shouldn’t worry about anybody besides these top four, just be sure to see who’s name(s) keep popping up in camp.
David Njoku took a step forward in his second year, finishing as TE9. He hauled in 56 receptions for 639 yards and 4TDs on 88 targets. One has to wonder if his production will take a hit with Odell on the team. He’s still an intriguing option because he’s in such a potent offense. It makes sense to pair Njoku with another promising tight end that has TE1 upside just in case his numbers take a step back. Behind Njoku, the Browns added Demetrius Harris from the Chiefs. Seth DeValve is still there but is viewed as more of a blocking tight end. Harris has more upside as a receiver so I’ll be watching this camp battle for the Browns TE2. I believe Njoku is being drafted at his ceiling so I haven’t been drafting too many shares for 2019.
2017-2018 Stats Below: