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. 2016 is another rebuild and let’s hope they finally got it right. It is time to look at the Cleveland Browns 2016 fantasy football preview.
Cleveland Browns 2016 Fantasy Football Preview
The Browns have had 23 different starting quarterbacks over the last decade and there will most likely be a different quarterback under center this season. In the off-season, the Browns signed former Redskins 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 bounce back this season. Griffin has some value and is worth a late round pick in drafts this season if he wins the job.
The Browns go with a running back by committee approach consisting of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. Last season, Crowell was the lead back with 900 total yards and five total touchdowns. His main problem is that he is more of a first and second down running back. With the Browns trailing in most games, he lost significant playing time to Johnson. Johnson is more of a change of pace/receiving back. Johnson had 900 total yards and two receiving touchdowns for his rookie campaign. Crowell and Johnson will most likely share the backfield again this season and both will be worth a late round flier in your drafts. Both could be decent flex options throughout the season.
The Browns finally realized that a team needs 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 to late round pick in next year’s fantasy draft. There is always a lot of talk that Terrelle Pryor is coming into his own at wide receiver. Pryor has a lot of talent, size, and speed. If coach Jackson can help him put it all together, he could put up big numbers this season. He is a deep sleeper and could be drafted in the late rounds of your draft next season.
Gary Barnidge had a career high 1,043 receiving yards and nine touchdowns last season. He was the leading receiver and led the Browns in touchdowns. 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.
The Browns kicker Travis Coons was solid last season, making 28 out of 32 field goals and 22 extra points. The good thing about the Browns struggles is that Coons will have many opportunities at field goals. He is worth a late round pick but there are better kickers out there.
The Browns defense has had its struggles and has been very inconsistent. With the departure of their return specialist Travis Benjamin, their special teams will most likely struggle. With the Browns being in such a strong division and their struggles you should look elsewhere for your defense.
While the Browns seem to keep disappointing their fan base over the years, every Browns fan knows there is always next season. Now that Cleveland has finally won a championship, maybe the tide is turning. Hopefully they finally turn the ship around with new head coach Hue Jackson leading the team. With the additions via free agency and the draft, the Browns have a chance to be competitive this season. If the Browns are competitive, it would bode well for your fantasy teams.