As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to get you prepared for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense while providing players we’re targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
Browns Fantasy Football Preview
Head Coach: Kevin Stefanski (fourth season)
Offensive Coordinator: Alex Van Pelt (fourth season)
Key Offensive Additions
- WR Elijah Moore
Key Offensive Departures
Key Offensive Rookies
- WR Cedric Tillman – third-round pick
Points Per Game: 21.2 (18th)
Passing Yards: 202.6 (22nd)
Rushing Yards: 146.5 (sixth)
Vacated Targets: 68 (28th)
Pass: 57 percent Run: 43 percent
OL Rank: First
Deshaun Watson is one of the most important puzzles to solve in fantasy football this year. Watson has played six NFL games in two years, breaching 200 yards passing in just two of them. If Watson’s six games last season are his new reality as a player, he will be little more than a volatile streaming option in fantasy.
However, the upside case is that Watson returns to form as a dual-threat quarterback who threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2020. In a best-case scenario, Watson has top-five upside at the position. In a worst-case scenario, what we saw from Watson at the end of last season is what we’re going to get going forward.
We’re willing to lean into Watson’s upside case at current costs, but that decision ultimately boils down to your risk tolerance.
Arguably the most efficient rusher of all time, Nick Chubb has averaged more than five yards per carry every season of his career, with at least eight rushing touchdowns in all five seasons. He’s averaged more than 15 carries per game each of the past four seasons, with Kareem Hunt as the thorn in his side preventing him from a significant receiving role.
Prior to Hunt’s arrival midway through 2019, Chubb averaged 3.1 receptions (17-game pace of 53) through Week 9 of that season. With Hunt a free agent, it’s reasonable to assume Chubb’s receiving usage experiences an uptick, potentially returning to early 2019 levels.
He’s a high-end fantasy RB1 for 2023, and you can view his exact ranking for FREE here.
Behind Chubb are a series of question marks. Jerome Ford was taken in Round 5 last year and played on special teams as a rookie, with 30 kick returns and just eight carries. He’s a big back who showcased he has an all-purpose skill set at the University of Cincinnati, though his senior season was the only year of college he started. He’s the current backup in name only, and almost any veteran addition would push Ford down the depth chart.
None of the other backs currently on the roster are worth diving into, although a guy like Leonard Fournette would fit well on this roster. Ultimately, the lack of backfield depth points to a heavy emphasis on Deshaun Watson and the passing game.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
The Browns acquired Elijah Moore via trade and drafted Cedric Tillman to support Watson better. Amari Cooper is expected to lead Cleveland’s receiving corps after his best season as a pro, where he consistently saw a massive target share. With a full offseason to work with Watson, Cooper is in a spot for another great year, potentially surpassing 140 targets for the first time in his career.
Donovan Peoples-Jones and Moore are vying for the WR2 spot. Peoples-Jones is the deep threat, while Moore excels in the middle and underneath routes. Both are valuable bench additions at their ADPs, with big-play potential and consistent contributions.
David Njoku will be the primary tight end, with red zone capabilities for double-digit touchdowns. Though you’re cautious about his overall volume, don’t overlook his scoring potential.
Roster Peoples-Jones and Moore, and consider Njoku as a viable tight end option.
Ian Miller: Buy Watson (QB11)
There’s a four-year sample that points to Watson being one of the premier fantasy producers. There’s also a six-game sample after being away from football for nearly two years that says otherwise. It’s your choice to follow the four-year or six-game sample, but Ian Miller has already made his decision.
Browns We’re Targeting or Avoiding in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: Target Watson, Avoid Njoku
Ryan Reynolds: Target Watson, Moore
Jordan Vanek: Target Cooper, Moore
Other Fantasy Previews
Follow our Team on Twitter
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM