Fantasy football 2013 draft preview: Cleveland Browns team report
Fantasy football draft season is fast approaching. Prep to win your league with SI.com's ongoing preview, including team-by-team breakdowns that examine each club's key fantasy storyline and much more.
Norv Turner isn't the greatest as a head coach, but he can be a game-changer as an offensive coordinator. Turner was the offensive architect of Dallas' Big Three in the 1990s, and he historically helps his top players, especially running backs and tight ends, reach their statistical ceilings. Therefore, fantasy owners should jump on players under his command, including Trent Richardson and Jordan Cameron.
But on draft day, be wary of Richardson; he was banged up all of last season and struggled with a mere 3.6 yards per carry. He is the only running back who will be picked in Round 1 that posted a sub-4.0 average. That makes him a risk at his draft position, which is just after the middle of the first round on average thus far.
This is a big year for Richardson, but not necessarily because he will be great. Owners will find out if he's a broken-down disappointment like the Saints' Mark Ingram, or a burgeoning fantasy star. He looked too much like the former through one year.
|Cleveland Browns' 2013 schedule|
|Including a look at how the Browns' upcoming foes fared defensively in fantasy last season.|
Stats via FFToday.com
The Browns have the misfortune of having to face all of the AFC North's rugged defenses; at least the other three teams get a break with the Browns' defense twice a year. The schedule is particularly tough after the Week 10 bye. If you score some Browns sleepers in drafts -- say, Josh Gordon or Greg Little -- consider dealing them after the bye. That's when the Browns schedule stiffens and the yards and touchdowns will be tougher to get.
QB: Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell
RB: Trent Richardson, Montario Hardesty, Brandon Jackson, Dion Lewis (broken leg)
WR: Josh Gordon (two-game suspension), Greg Little, Davone Bess, Travis Benjamin, David Nelson, Jordan Norwood
TE: Cameron Jordan, Kellen Davis
K: Shayne Graham
|Cleveland Browns' 2012 defensive rankings|
The Browns' defense was easily the worst in the AFC North. Joe Haden is an elite corner and D'Qwell Jackson is a monster at linebacker, but this will still be a subpar fantasy defensive unit -- avoid them in all leages. Paul Kruger adds some juice to the linebacker corps, coming over from Baltimore in free agency, and might even be an elite option in those formats that use individual defenders. Because there will be a lot of teams working long drives against them, Jackson, Kruger and DE Ahtyba Rubin should post IDP-worthy numbers.