Fantasy Impact: Cleveland Browns
New Head Coach: Eric Mangini (NYJ
HC: 2006-2008; NE DC: 2005; DB Coach: 2000-2004; NYJ Def Assist:
1997-1999; BAL Assist: 1996; CLE Assist: 1995)
Previous Head Coach: Romeo Crennel
New Offensive Coordinator: Brian
Daboll (NYJ QB Coach: 2007-2008; NE WR Coach: 2002-2006; NE Def.
Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will try and improve the 31st-ranked offense in 2008.
Mangini comes to Cleveland having spent the
last three years as head coach of the New York Jets with mixed
results. In his first season with the franchise he helped guide
the team to a 10-6 record before suffering a first round playoff
loss against nemesis Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
The success of reaching the postseason in his first year as head
coach was short lived however.
With higher expectations placed upon the team the Jets collapsed
and fell to a 4-12 mark in 2007. That dismal performance led to
the pursuit and acquisition of NFL legend Brett Favre during the
offseason. The Jets seemed poised for a return to the playoffs
in ‘08 after posting an 8-4 record through the first 12
games of the year. A 1-3 finish had them looking from the outside
in though once the regular season ended and teams began playing
more meaningful games in January.
Joining Magini’s staff as Cleveland’s offensive coordinator
is Brian Daboll. Daboll spent the last two years working with
Mangini as quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets. The two men
had previously worked side-by-side for six years in New England
from 2000-2005 under Bill Belichick.
Quarterbacks: Brady Quinn; Derek Anderson
The Browns will have Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson battle it
out in the preseason to determine which of the two is named the
starter for Opening Day. Considering Cleveland used a first round
pick on Quinn, were unwilling to trade him during the offseason,
and that he is entering his third year in the league – expect
the Notre Dame alumnus to win that duel. Should Anderson come
out on top however, expect him to have a short leash and get yanked
early in the year if the Browns aren’t winning.
From a fantasy standpoint there is little reason to get excited
about either quarterback. While the two combined could throw for
anywhere from 3200-3400 yards, it’s doubtful they would
put up more than 20 touchdowns. Whomever Cleveland’s starter
is may make for a decent back-up in fantasy leagues, but only
worth a spot start here and there if you’re lacking other
Running Backs: Jamal
Vickers (FB); Noah
Ideally Mangini and Daboll would probably like to control games
with their ground attack, especially if the young and inexperienced
Brady Quinn is under center. Their defensive play may dictate
otherwise though. Nonetheless it appears Jamal Lewis will once
again shoulder a heavy load in the backfield. Back-up Jerome Harrison
will spell him every so often, but not enough to warrant a roster
spot on your fantasy team.
Noah Herron might prove useful should an injury occur to Lewis,
but otherwise it’s unlikely he’ll get many touches.
Rookie James Davis may be worth keeping an eye on during the preseason.
If he impresses the coaching staff he could earn a spot in the
Over the course of a full 16-games Lewis should be able to crank
out another 1000-1100 rushing yards on 270-300 carries this year.
He isn’t much of a receiving threat however and will most
likely finish with 5-7 total touchdowns, making him a borderline
number two running back in fantasy circles.
Wide Receivers: Braylon
Robiskie (R); Joshua
Massaquoi (R); Paul
At receiver the Browns have a real playmaker in Braylon Edwards
– when he manages to catch the ball that is. Dropped passes
have been his most glaring weakness, but when he makes the catch
he has registered an impressive 15.6 yards per reception throughout
his career. That statistic alone makes Edwards an intriguing acquisition
in fantasy leagues annually despite the fact he has only posted
more than 900 receiving yards once in the past four seasons. He’ll
make for a great number three wide out on your roster, but you’ll
likely have to grab him as your number two and hope he plays to
his potential if you make that selection.
With Donte’ Stallworth mired in legal troubles there is
a good chance free agent signing Mike Furrey will start alongside
Edwards this year. If that’s the case he could make for
a decent fourth wide out in fantasy leagues – more so in
leagues that reward points for receptions. David Patten, Joshua
Cribbs, and Syndric Steptoe are all capable of producing in the
slot, but should be available off the waiver wire most of the
Tight Ends: Steve
With the departure of Kellen Winslow this offseason expect veterans
Steve Heiden and Robert Royal to handle the tight end duties for
the Browns. Neither is likely to finish among the top 12 fantasy
players at the position though. Martin Rucker, a fourth round
pick in the ’08 draft, has the most long term potential
but isn’t likely to surpass both Heiden and Royal as the
starting tight end in Cleveland. He is worth keeping an eye on
in the preseason however.