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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Team Talk: Cleveland Browns

By Adam Filadelfo (@Frostt24)

Staying in the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns are up next. The Browns haven't been relevant in the NFL in quite some time but they did contribute some key fantasy players in 2013. Let's take a look at what the Browns are providing fantasy owners in 2014.

Johnny Manziel- Taken by the Browns in this years draft at number 22, Manziel is expected to be the Browns starting quarterback heading into the 2014 season. While obviously Manziel has yet to prove himself to fantasy owners, he could be an early draft choice on draft day based on his ability and what he did in college. In two seasons at Texas A&M, Manziel totaled 7,820 passing yards and passed for 63 touchdowns while adding 2,169 rushing yards and another 30 touchdowns on the ground. Given his duel threat, Manziel could provide fantasy value immediately for owners willing to draft him. This is all based on whether or not Manziel gets the starting job in 2014.

Brian Hoyer
- Hoyer didn't have much time to make much of a fantasy impact in 2013 seeing how he went down with an ACL tear after only starting two games. In those two games though, Hoyer did pass for 590 yards and five touchdowns. With Johnny Manziel being drafted by the Browns, it remains unclear who the starting quarterback will be in Cleveland for 2014 but if that happens to be Brian Hoyer, fantasy owners can feel comfortable that when he did play last season, he was better than the last handful of signal callers the Browns have been throwing out there.

Jordan Cameron- Cameron started his 2013 on fire and seemed to have cooled off towards the end of 2013. Defenses keyed in on Cameron and after posting double digits fantasy points  early and often, Cameron had quite a few single digit fantasy points games as the season wore on. Take into account that the Browns top playmaker Josh Gordon could be suspended for half or maybe even the entire 2014 season, it may be difficult for Jordan Cameron to post his gaudy numbers from early in 2013 again in 2014. There is also a chance that Jordan Cameron could finish 2014 as a top fantasy tight end seeing how the talent is obviously there and the Browns may have finally found themselves their quarterback of the future in Johnny Manziel that could boost the fantasy value of everyone around him including Jordan Cameron. In any event, Jordan Cameron ended last season with 133 fantasy points and will probably be one of the first fantasy tight ends off of the board in 2014.

Josh Gordon
- Gordon finished 2013 as a top fantasy receiver even after he missed the first two games due to suspension. 2014 could be much different being Gordon is facing a season long suspension. His suspension obviously will determine where fantasy owners will draft him but knowing that even after missing two games, Josh Gordon still finished 2013 with 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. For fantasy owners, Gordon posted 227 fantasy points and had multiple straight weeks of double digit fantasy points.

D/ST- I believe the DST in Cleveland will be something special this year...  Pettine's defenses are always in the Top 10 in the league plus he added possibly the best #2 corner in the league (rookie Justin Gilbert) with the 8th pick of the draft, plus Dansby and Whitner in free agency.

Ben Tate- No one denies his talent and despite his tendency to get injured, backing up Arian Foster for just about all of his career has left a lot of tread on those tires.  Tate is likely a good bargain in drafts this year. Let's not forget that he stays in the Kyle Shanahan zone blocking system that has been so effective in Houston and Washington.  He will compete with rookies Terrance West (3rd round) and Isaiah Crowell (UDFA) for carries, but for now Tate is the man.

Terrance West- Early reports on West are that he is a huge running back with explosive burst.  Even though he played at the FCS level at Towson, he was a man among boys racking up 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns.  And, no, those are not career numbers... That's just what he did in 2013.  At the very least West is a high-upside handcuff to the injury-prone Tate, but he could just take over the job at some point this year.