The Cleveland Browns have one of the most loyal fan bases in all of professional sports. Since coming back into the league in 1999 the Browns have only had two winning seasons. One was a 10-6 finish in which they did not make the playoffs. The other was a 9-7 finish in which they were eliminated in the wild card round by their biggest rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns have been constantly rebuilding over the past two decades partly because they go through a complete regime change every few seasons. Let’s look at the Cleveland Browns 2015 fantasy football recap.
Cleveland Browns 2015 Fantasy Football Recap
The Browns have had 24 different starting quarterbacks over the last 16 seasons. Last season there most successful quarterback was veteran Josh McCown. McCown threw for 2,100 yards, 12 touchdowns, and four interceptions in the seven games that he played last season. McCown had 132 fantasy points and averaged 16 fantasy points per game last season. McCown dealt with several injuries last season and missed several games because of them. When he was on the field McCown was a decent fantasy option as the Browns were constantly trailing each game, which gave him the opportunity to produce plenty of “garbage time” fantasy points last season. The Browns also had first round bust, Johnny Manziel, and Austin Davis play quarterback multiple times throughout the season. Neither quarterback seemed to produce solid production for the Browns, and as a result, neither of them are currently on the roster. In the off-season, the Browns signed former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin will have to beat out Josh McCown for the starting job next season. With new head coach Hue Jackson leading the team, Griffin could have some value next season and is worth a late round pick in drafts this season if he wins the job.
Last season the Browns went with a running back by committee approach consisting of Isaiah Crowell and rookie Duke Johnson. Crowell lead the team with 900 total yards and five total touchdowns last season. Crowell finished with 119 fantasy points and averaged seven points per game last season. His problem was that he is more of a first and second down running back, and with the Browns trailing in most games he lost significant playing time to Johnson. Johnson was more of a change of pace/receiving back. Johnson had 900 total yards and two receiving touchdowns for his rookie campaign. Johnson finished the season with 103 fantasy points and averaged six points per game last season. Crowell and Johnson will most likely share the backfield again this season and both will be worth a late round flier in your drafts, and could be a decent flex option throughout the season.
The leading wide receiver for the Browns last season was Travis Benjamin with 966 receiving yards and five touchdowns. While Benjamin had a nice season for the Browns he was more of a boom or bust player in terms of fantasy football. There were weeks when Benjamin would go off for a hundred yards and two touchdowns and then have three catches for 40 yards in each of the next few games. Benjamin has sense left the Cleveland Browns via free agency and has signed with the San Diego Chargers, meaning he will be a decent WR3 or flex option this season with quarterback Phillip Rivers now throwing him the ball. The next leading receiver for the Browns was veteran Brian Hartline. Hartline had 523 receiving yards and two touchdowns last season. He was very inconsistent with his production. He was released by the Browns in the off season. The Browns finally realized that you need two capable receivers to compete in this league and drafted five wide receivers in the 2016 NFL Draft. The key receiver that was drafted was Corey Coleman out of the University of Baylor. Coleman is a quick receiver and has drawn comparisons to New Orleans Saints’ wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Coleman will most likely be the Browns number one wide receiver next season and is worth a middle too late round pick in next year’s fantasy draft.
One of the biggest surprises last season was tight end Gary Barnidge. Barnidge had a career high 1,043 receiving yards and nine touchdowns last season. Barnidge finished the season with 149 fantasy points and averaged almost 10 points per game and finished as the third ranked tight end in 2015. He was the leading receiver for the Browns and also had the most touchdowns out of all the skill position players for Cleveland. Barnidge had to have sports hernia surgery in the off season but is scheduled to be back by the start of the preseason in August. He is worth a middle round pick in drafts this season as he will likely have a big role in Hue Jackson’s offense next season.
While the Browns seem to keep disappointing their fan base over the years, every Browns fan knows there is always next season. Hopefully they finally turn the ship around with new head coach Hue Jackson leading the team and with the additions to the team via free agency and the draft the Browns have a good chance to be competitive in the NFL this season. If Hue Jackson can get his offense going like he did in Cincinnati the Browns could be in for a decent season, which would help the Browns and possibly your fantasy teams next season.