2013 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns (Page 2)
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Football > Preseason > 2013 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns

2013 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns

A fantasy football preview of the Cleveland Browns this season. Profiled players include Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Dion Lewis, and Bobby Rainey.
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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.

Willis McGahee still has something left in the tank. Just don't expect him to have enough for a road trip and keep it under the speed limit. The former Miami Hurricane is in his 11th season. At 31 years of age, he'll be used sparingly and is certainly worth an add in bigger leagues. In his first game, he had eight carries for nine yards. McGahee will probably need a game or two to get his sails full of wind and should be rostered in every competitive league.

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.

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.

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

David Nelson, formerly with the Buffalo Bills, is rehabbing from a torn ACL and should be ready for training camp. In 2011, he had a career year with the Bills, catching 61 passes for 658 yards and five scores. Considered a deep sleeper in 2012, the ACL injury derailed his season. With his 6'5" frame, he is blessed with the physical gifts necessary to be more than just the fourth option for the Browns. The 26-year-old must stay healthy to reach his full potential.

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