Does Gary Barnidge have another big season in him? The Browns sure think so - they inked him to a nice extension last December. His new head coach probably thinks so -- tight ends with good receiving skills have flourished under Hue Jackson's playcalling. And his 2015 stats -- over 1,000 yards, nine touchdowns, eight-plus Fantasy points in 10 games and a 64.2 percent catch rate -- certainly suggest a lot of ability. Quarterback issues and defenses being better prepared for him should nudge his numbers down a little but he is still a candidate to comfortably finish as a Top 10 tight end. Expect him to get taken near 80th overall in standard and 70th overall in PPR leagues.
Barnidge (abdomen) plans to be ready before training camp. Barnidge underwent surgery less than a week ago on a sports hernia but plans to come into training camp ready to go. The leader in receptions last season for the Browns said he specifically planned the timing surgery. "It was just an opportunity to get it all done and I won't miss any time. That was the purpose of it, so we would get all of this done and then I would be ready to go for training camp and it wouldn't pop in season", Barnidge said Wednesday before Browns' practice.
Barnidge underwent sports hernia surgery Thursday morning, but is expected to be ready for training camp, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Barnidge had a breakout year in 2015, collecting 1,043 receiving yards on 79 receptions, with a fantasy-friendly nine touchdown catches. The performance was admirable enough for the Louisville product to earn a three-year contract extension in December. Offseason surgery is rarely a good thing for prospective fantasy owners, but it sounds like the Browns are optimistic their starting tight end won't miss any valuable practice time when training camp begins, though he likely won't be available for mandatory veteran minicamp next week. These reps are quite valuable with yet another quarterback carousel set to take place in Cleveland in 2016, but considering Barnidge was able to succeed regardless of who was under center last season, there likely isn't an immediate need for him to plummet in the 2016 tight end rankings.
Barnidge, who caught 8-of-13 targets for 66 yards Sunday against Pittsburgh, finished the season with a total of 79 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns. Barnidge was one of the few bright spots in Cleveland in 2015, as his size relative to the other pass-catching options earned him plenty of targets in the offense (125). He made the most of those targets, shattering career-best marks in nearly every offensive category en route to earning a three-year contract extension in December. Regardless of the direction the new front office regime in Cleveland takes the franchise, Barnidge will once again be dealing with a young quarterback commanding the offense. That didn't prevent him from producing solid fantasy numbers in his age-31 season, however, and Barnidge will still presumably enter 2016 as a top-10 tight end option.
Barnidge caught three of eight targets for 47 yards during Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. Quarterback Johnny Manziel really struggled with his accuracy Sunday, as he completed just 13 of his 32 pass attempts, which left little for his receivers to produce. Barnidge co-led the team in receptions, while leading them in targets and yards, so while that's certainly a plus, Manziel will have to complete more passes for Barnidge's fantasy value to increase. Next up is a Week 17 matchup against the Steelers, who need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive after losing to the Ravens on Sunday.
Barnidge caught three of four targets for 29 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 30-13 loss at Seattle. Barnidge has proven to be consistent and matchup proof all season, and despite the low yardage total, Sunday was no different against a solid Seahawks defense. With at least 50 yards or a touchdown in 11 of the last 12 games, there's no reason not to trust him next week at Kansas City.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/09||New England Patriots||6||6.00|
|8||10/30||New York Jets||2||4.75|
|12||11/27||New York Giants||32||11.38|
|16||12/24||San Diego Chargers||22||8.00|
|3 Year Avg||56||35||442||4||22||12.63||68|