Carlson is expected to receive more playing time with David Njoku (knee) on injured reserve, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Carlson played just 12 snaps (16 percent) and had one target in the season-opening loss to the Ravens but moved up to third on the depth chart behind Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant. He broadly fits into the category of blocking tight end, but quarterback Baker Mayfield uses tight ends as red-zone scoring options. Carlson caught five of seven targets with one touchdown in 2019.
Carlson was not targeted in Sunday's 33-23 loss to the Bengals in Week 17. Carlson, an undrafted free agent out of Princeton, began the season on the Browns' practice squad before a promotion to the active roster midseason. Cleveland's tight end position was never solidified following David Njoku's wrist injury in Week 2, and all members took turns getting red-zone looks from quarterback Baker Mayfield. Carlson finished with five catches for 51 yards and one touchdown over nine games. With a new head coach coming in 2020, Carlson's status is uncertain. Presumably, a new coach will want to get a good look at Njoku, who missed many weeks due to the injury then ran afoul of former head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Carlson failed to catch his only target and played 41 snaps in Sunday's 27-19 win over the Bengals in Week 14. He was the starting tight end, as Demetrius Harris (shoulder) was made inactive and David Njoku was appearing for the first time since Week 2 after recovering from a wrist injury. Carlson's 41 snaps led the position group, but it was Njoku who drew the most targets (three), including one inside the red zone. As Njoku gets back up to speed, he is expected to start games and receive the most playing time among Cleveland tight ends.
Carlson (ankle) was a full participant in Friday's practice, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports. Carlson does not carry an injury designation for Sunday's contest against the Bengals. The 22-year-old is set for his usual depth role in Cleveland's tight end corps Week 14.
Carlson caught both his targets for 28 yards in Sunday's 20-13 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 13. Carlson remains on the fringe of fantasy relevance for the Browns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield often looks to tight ends in the red zone, so Carlson -- who has one red-zone touchdown this season -- is in the mix. How long that holds true will depend on what the Browns do with David Njoku (wrist), who is designated to return from injured reserve and could be activated for Week 14 against the Bengals.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|8||11/01||Las Vegas Raiders||15||6.40|
|15||12/20||@New York Giants||4||4.67|
|16||12/27||@New York Jets||22||9.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||7||5||51||1||2||10.20||11|