It would be easy to start this piece with a joke about the Browns. They've won more than five games once in the past nine years. They've finished in the bottom third of the league in scoring in every single one of those seasons. Why pile on?

While the Browns still don't know who their quarterback is, they do have interesting pieces in other places. Isaiah Crowell made a leap in 2016, and Corey Coleman has a ton of potential. Kenny Britt is coming off a 1,000 yard season. And I'll always believe in Hue Jackson.

Let's try to go into this exercise with a hint of optimism. 

*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.

Cleveland Browns
Player Name Expected FP Position Rank Expected PPR FP Position Rank
176 #13 211 #14
124.5 #37 194.5 #33
120 #39 192 #35
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Duke Johnson CLE RB
91.2 #44 141.2 #36
55.4 #32 89.4 #32


Breaking down the touches

I'm taking Jackson at his word when he says the Browns are going to run the ball more often. Last year's 350 attempts are a clear outlier in Jackson's history, so I'm bumping the team's total up to around 420 in 2017. Crowell should dominate that, but what's more interesting is how targets will be distributed out of the backfield. Duke Johnson out-targeted Crowell 75-53 in 2016, but Crowell had 34 in the second half of the season, compared to 27 for Johnson. If Crowell sees more than half the targets again in 2017 and sees an increase in carries, he's likely a top-10 running back.

As for the wide receivers, I'm a little bit afraid that things will be too balanced between Coleman and Britt for either of them to be a consistent No. 2 wide receiver, but both have upside. They should also have a ton of targets because they don't have much competition outside of the running back duo and a rookie tight end. 

Browns touches
Player RuSHARE RuATT ReSHARE TGT REC TD
Isaiah Crowell 55% 231 9% 46 35 7
Duke Johnson 21% 88 13% 64 50 2
Corey Coleman 0% 0 27% 136 72 5
Kenny Britt 0% 0 25% 127 70 5
David Njoku 0% 0 9% 46 34 3

Of note: 

  • That's a lot of targets for both Britt and Coleman, but the Browns have a lot of targets to hand out. Terrelle Pryor, Gary Barnidge and Andrew Hawkins combined for 276 in 2016, and all three are gone.
  • I'm all for betting against rookie tight ends, but Njoku has a ton of opportunity. I may buy into the buzz if he has a good preseason.

The Leftovers

If you want to bet against the rookie Njoku but still think the Browns will involve a tight end, Seth DeValve is your man. DeValve is a 6'4" tight end out of Princeton who was selected in the 4th round of the 2016 draft. DeValve has apparently had a very good offseason and has Browns coaches talking about him

Ricardo Louis has also been impressive this summer and seems like most likely guy to win the No. 3 job at receiver. Unless Coleman or Britt go down, it's hard to see any other receiver having a Fantasy impact, though.