Everything went as planned for the Browns in 2020 -- finally. They did more than just win the offseason, they actually emerged as an on-field force to be reckoned with behind an elite running game and clean, efficient play from Baker Mayfield. Funny thing is, along the way they became a team with very little to get excited about for Fantasy beyond Nick Chubb.
Record: 11 - 5 (7)
PPG: 25.5 (14)
YPG: 369.6 (16)
Pass YPG: 221.2 (24)
Rush YPG: 148.4 (3)
PAPG: 31.3 (28)
RAPG: 30.9 (4)
2020 Fantasy finishes
QB: Baker Mayfield QB17
RB: Nick Chubb RB11, Karee Hunt RB10
WR: Jarvis Landry WR36, Rashard Higgins WR63, Odell Beckham WR91
TE: Austin Hooper TE21, Harrison Bryant TE40, David Njoku TE47
*No longer with team
Number to know: 1.34
That's Odell Beckham's Fantasy points per target since joining the Browns in 2019. The numbers are even more stark if you just look at receiving totals -- his 2020 numbers are inflated by a long touchdown run:
w/ Browns: 10.8 FPT/G, 1.34 FPT/TAR
Final two seasons w/ Giants: 15.9 FPT/G, 1.54 FPT/TAR
Since getting to Cleveland, Beckham has seen both a significantly lower target volume and significantly worse results on those targets -- his catch rate, yards per target, yards per reception and touchdown rate are all down from his time with the Giants. And it's not like he's been in a significantly worse passing offense.
So is this an Odell Beckham problem, a Baker Mayfield problem or a Browns offense problem? It would be one thing if Beckham was just dealing with low volume but was still as efficient as he was in New York; he could still be a No. 2 Fantasy WR in that scenario. Or if he wasn't producing as much per target but was still getting legitimate No. 1 WR targets. But neither has been the case. Oh, and he's coming back from an ACL tear. It's pretty hard to get excited about Beckham at this point.
1. (26) Greg Newsome II, CB
2. (52) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB
3. (91) Anthony Schwartz, WR
4. (110) James Hudson, OT
4. (132) Tommy Togiai, DT
5. (153) Tony Fields II, LB
5. (169) Richard LeCounte, S
6. (211) Demetric Felton, RB
9 carries, 1 RB targets, 71 WR targets, 2 TE targets
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Baker Mayfield||PA: 524, YD: 3873, TD: 26, INT: 14; RUSH -- ATT: 35, YD: 146, TD: 2|
|RB||Nick Chubb||CAR: 305, YD: 1522, TD: 11; TAR: 36, REC: 26, YD: 198, TD: 1|
|RB||Kareem Hunt||CAR: 168, YD: 736, TD: 5; TAR: 52, REC: 42, YD: 373, TD: 3|
|WR||Odell Beckham||TAR: 120, REC: 71, YD: 923, TD: 7|
|WR||Jarvis Landry||TAR: 120, REC: 74, YD: 896, TD: 6|
|WR||Rashard Higgins||TAR: 48, REC: 29, YD: 383, TD: 2|
|TE||Austin Hooper||TAR: 73, REC: 55, YD: 5562, TD: 4|
Can they ever get Odell Beckham going?
The Browns' ideal game plan involves Baker Mayfield throwing 20, maybe 25 passes. That means they've dominated with their running game and defense, and that's the goal each time out. Obviously, that doesn't leave much room for the passing game to shine. Beckham is coming off a torn ACL and has averaged 7.7 yards per target and a 3.9% touchdown since joining the Browns; he was at 8.8 and 7.1% in New York. He might not even be a No. 3 Fantasy WR at this point.
Fantasy Football Today Newsletter
Know What Your Friends Don't
Get tips, advice and news to win your league - all from the FFT podcast team.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
I'll admit, I was pretty disappointed to see Higgins return to Cleveland, because he's the kind of player I would love to see get a chance in a consistently larger role. He'll be the No. 3 WR for the Browns, and there just won't be much room for him to be Fantasy relevant as a result. From Week 7, when Beckham suffered his knee injury, Higgins had 32 catches for 546 yards, a 971-yard pace over a full season with just 82 targets. Higgins has had a lot of trouble earning a consistent role, but he's been productive when given the chance, and if something happens to either Beckham or Landry in 2021, he could emerge as a viable Fantasy option with big-game potential.
There's no good choice for a bust candidate on a team like this. The running game is front and center, but nobody is underrating Chubb -- maybe you could argue for Hunt instead, but he would need an injury to get the chance to break out, so I'm not sure that really qualifies. That leaves me with options from a low-volume passing game, and in this instance, I'll default to the formerly elite player being severely discounted -- for good reason, mind you! As mentioned several times in this piece already, Beckham's move to Cleveland has been pretty awful for his numbers, and now he has to come off a torn ACL, making his chances of returning strong value pretty slim. But they aren't zero. There's still a chance Beckham comes back at full strength and finds a rhythm with Mayfield that allows a return to high-level production. I'm not counting on it, but if there's one guy on this team with the chance to provide a strong return on investment, Beckham's the guy.
I started out a lot lower on Chubb in my rankings process, but even moving him up to RB12 puts me lower than the consensus. It comes down to a pretty simple math problem: Unless the Browns use him in the passing game more, he has to be one of the two or three most productive rushers in the NFL to be an elite Fantasy RB. He's certainly capable of that, but since Hunt's arrival in Cleveland, Chubb is averaging 15.6 PPR points per game, which would have been good for 16th at RB in 2020 and 14th in 2019. If Chubb is only the seventh most productive RB in the NFL, he's probably a mid-range RB2 at best. That's an awful high bar to clear for a first-round pick.
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.