2013 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns
RB Montario Hardesty, --- - Bust (overvalued)
When healthy (which isn't a given), Montario Hardesty is a solid change-of-pace back and certainly worth an add off the waiver wire should something happen to RB Trent Richardson. The former second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft is not likely to touch the ball often enough to make a dent in the box score. A new offensive system in Cleveland may change his role, but if anything, this offense will take more chances in the deep passing game rather than double-down on the ground.
UPDATE (08/16/2013): Hardesty is expected to miss the first few games of the year after having his knee scoped.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
RB Dion Lewis, CLE - Not Draft Worthy
Due to the emergence of RB Bryce Brown with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dion Lewis became expendable. He has found a new home in Cleveland and will push RB Montario Hardesty to become the No. 2 back. Lewis is only 22 years old and there is little wear on his treads. Hardesty, on the other hand, has battled with injuries throughout his collegiate and pro career. In theory, Lewis should be able to contribute more on passing downs, although he's only caught three passes in his previous two seasons.
UPDATE (08/16/2013): Lewis fratured his fibula during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. He will be out for at least two to three months.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
WR Josh Gordon, CLE - Sleeper (undervalued)
In today's NFL, knucklehead receivers who can't stay out of trouble and injury-prone primadonnas dominate the news. Guys like Josh Gordon, who put together a very promising rookie season, seem to stay under the radar. Gordon saw 96 targets last season and that number should increase in 2013. New head coach Rob Chudzinski is expected to install a more pass-happy offense, which could translate into Gordon making the leap from a flex option to regular WR2. Big upside is limited though since the former Baylor Bears wideout will live and die by his quarterback play and there doesn't appear to be much difference between QBs Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
UPDATE (9/23/2013): The Browns are actively seeking out a trade partner to deal Gordon to the highest bidder. After already having served his two-game suspension, another off-field problem would result in a possible one-year suspension. Coming off an excellent Week 3 where the former Baylor Bears receiver caught 10 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown, Cleveland is ready to deal to shore up their future prospects.
WR Greg Little, CLE - Bye Week Fill-in
After a solid rookie season in 2011, Greg Little took a small step back last season. QB Brandon Weeden seemed to favor WR Josh Gordon, even if only slightly, and Little's production declined. Now entering his third year, Little is still growing as a player, but unfortunately this offense must show some kind of spark in order to validate taking Little with a late-round flier. He is someone that will likely spend most of the season near the top of the waiver wire in most leagues.
UPDATE (08/16/2013): Little has been putting in extra work this offseason. He doesn't have much to show for it yet, only catching three balls for 31 yards through two games.
WR Davone Bess, CLE - Deep-league Only
Davone Bess is a solid pro and has consistently made the most of poor situations while with the Miami Dolphins. Now on a new team, his role is more or less the same. He is a possession receiver that will catch about three or four balls per game for minimal yardage. Bess will work the slot, so his targets could spike this season if Cleveland is able to improve on offense. Bess will likely be rostered in deeper formats and would serve as a low-end backup.
WR Travis Benjamin, CLE - Dynasty Only
The Browns opted not to re-sign WR Josh Cribbs because second-year man Travis Benjamin can be an excellent punt returner. Endowed with sub-4.4 40 yard dash speed, Benjamin can stretch the field and challenge defensive secondaries deep. His production was very sporadic last year, so there's little immediate evidence he will make the jump into fantasy relevance.Injury Status: Injured Reserve