It’s a new year for the Cleveland Browns who will enter 2019 season with high hopes and aspirations of achieving the ultimate goal of winning the Superbowl. Their 2018 season ended on a good note and the big reason behind it was their new quarterback Baker Mayfield. So, let’s talk about what this new and improved Cleveland browns team means in terms of fantasy football.
First and foremost, Baker Mayfield, in my opinion, has the potential to be a Quarter Back 1(QB1) all season long and the potential to finish as top 5 QB this year in fantasy football. During his rookie season Mayfield averaged 63.8% completion rate and 27 touchdowns, breaking the rookie touchdown record, previously set by Peyton Manning. Now with the addition of a future hall of fame, wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., will give Mayfield an additional target to stretch the field. Mayfield has a great supporting cast to help him mirror the kind of season that Mahomes had last year. He is currently 8th quarterback off the draft board, in my opinion Mayfield should be 4th if not 3rd. A full season under a new head coach, Freddie Kitchens and the new offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, will make Mayfield one of the top fantasy quarterbacks this year. While with the Bucs, Monken managed to make the team the 3rd best passing offense in the NFL, so we can see a lot of passing yards from the young quarterback.
Now let’s talk about the newest Cleveland brown member, Odell Beckham Jr, who has a standalone value through his career of a WR1 all season whether it’s fantasy or real football. Beckham Jr. won’t have all the pressure solely focused on him because of Jarvis Laundry opposite of him, who is a back end WR2 in his own right. But let’s focus on Beckham Jr, the guy who last year came back from an injury and was a WR1/2. I believe numbers sometimes do lie and I think it’s the case for Beckham Jr, first he missed 4 games of the season and second and most important thing is that he was getting his targets from Eli Manning. I truly believe that Beckham Jr will put up solid numbers this season and will eclipse 1000 yards easily and accompany that with around 12 touchdowns. He should be the 3rd WR off the draft board following Deandre Hopkins and Devante Adams.
Jarvis Laundry was a target machine last year getting 9 or more targets in 10 games and even though he only converted them to 4 touchdowns he reached 980 yards. This year I expect his touch total to go down but having Beckham Jr opposite of him will give him more meaningful targets that he could convert into precious fantasy points. His value should be around 6th round but I wouldn’t be surprised if he manages to outperform his average draft position (ADP), eclipse 1000 yards and improve his touchdown total.
I for one, am sold on the hype of all the Browns’ offensive players including the 2nd year running back Nick Chubb. The guy that blessed us with his presence that wouldn’t be able to shine thru if he still played behind Carlos Hyde. Luckily that’s not the case anymore and he showed us last year to why he is a clear cut RB1 and will have an explosive year come 2019 season. Chubb’s current value is early 2nd round, but I wouldn’t hesitate to take him over guys like Todd Gurley or David Johnson. His numbers for the season are as followed; 8TD on the ground 2TD receiving and 996 total yards. Those numbers are amazing for someone who was buried in the depth chart; however, this is his year and although the addition of Kareem Hunt should be interesting, I still think that Hunts presence will not influence Chubb in the slightest. Its still unclear what kind of shape Hunt will be in when he returns but Chubb should have the majority of work and carry on with his breakout year.
Kareem Hunt is not a random running back that you just sign to fill a roster, he is the someone you bring in to do some damage. The question is when and if he will be ready to jump in a new team after missing 8 weeks and having to learn a new playbook. Just like Kamara/Ingram I believe that the Browns will try and use that same combination with this dynamic RB duo. Kareem Hunt I believe should be drafted late in 9th round, simply because he will be sitting on your bench for 8 weeks holding a roster spot for someone that could’ve been useful right away. I hope whoever drafts him will have a strong team or else by the time the suspension is over they might be out of playoff contention. Keep that in mind, the whole game of fantasy football is a gamble and I for one don’t mind drafting him in the 9th round, he is talented and if anything happens to Chubb you have an instant RB1 on your roster for a great low value. Before his season ended Hunt had 7 receiving and 7TD on the ground.
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By - Gevorg Shakhmelikyan, Contributor