COMMENTARY | The Cleveland Browns may finally be relevant again in fantasy football circles.
For nearly half a decade, kicker Phil Dawson was the only Browns player that could be trusted to produce on a weekly basis for fantasy teams. That looks set to change in 2013, as the Browns have a few players that could be very valuable assets in fantasy football this season. They are:
Jordan Cameron, TE
With Benjamin Watson's signing with the New Orleans Saints on March 18, Cameron ascended to the role of starting tight end for the Browns. A physical freak entering his third season with the Browns, Cameron has 26 catches in limited action thus far in his NFL career, but a huge season could be ahead in 2013 for the former USC Trojan. New head coach Rob Chudzinski has always showcased the tight end in his offenses, with Kellen Winslow Jr. having a career year for the Browns in 2007 in Chudzinski's system. New offensive coordinator Norv Turner never shied away from the tight end in his days coaching the San Diego Chargers, as Antonio Gates has put together a Hall of Fame-caliber career in San Diego. Cameron will get plenty of opportunities to shine this season, and a 70-catch, 850-yard season is not out of the question.
Josh Gordon, WR
While some players will avoid Gordon on draft day due to a two-game suspension to start 2013 for violating the NFL's drug policy, savvy players will look beyond that knowing Gordon could be an absolute steal at the wide receiver position this year. A big play machine, Gordon had 805 receiving yards on just 50 catches in 2012, good enough to finish sixth in the AFC with 16.1 yards per catch. Like Cameron, Gordon will find the new offensive system of Chudzinski and Turner to be tailor-made for him. Both coaches are in love with the deep ball, as Steve Smith of Chudszniski's Carolina Panthers and Danario Alexander of the Chargers both finished in the NFL's top ten in yards per catch in 2012. With a strong-armed quarterback in Brandon Weeden firing bombs his way in 2013, Gordon could be in for a 1,000-plus yard season despite the suspension.
Trent Richardson, RB
The best fantasy player in 2012 for the Browns, Richardson may lose some carries this season due to the new pass-oriented offense in Cleveland. Despite that, he could thrive in 2013 due to opposing defenses focusing on the Browns' aerial attack. No matter what, the fact is that Cleveland's offensive line must do a better job of creating holes for Richardson to run through in 2013. Last year, Richardson gained 20 or more yards on a rush only twice in 267 carries, an astoundingly bad statistic. On the plus side, Richardson had a nose for the end zone last season, finishing fifth in the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns. He also has tons of value in points per reception leagues, with 51 catches in 15 games last fall. Fantasy players hoping for big things from Richardson in 2013 should be rewarded with a 1,200-yard, 60-catch season with 13 total touchdowns.
Other Players Worth Mentioning
-Quarterback Weeden has the potential to be valuable trade bait come November if he cuts down on his interceptions in 2013.
-Running back Montario Hardesty is the obvious handcuff for any Richardson owner. He is an explosive runner, but has zero value in PPR leagues.
-New kicker Shayne Graham has a big leg. Can he handle the elements of Northeast Ohio the way Dawson did?
-Though Greg Little's pass-catching abilities improved over the course of the 2012 season, he probably only has value in flex leagues at this point.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo! Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for 25 years.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Cleveland Browns
- the Browns
- Rob Chudzinski
- Jordan Cameron
- Trent Richardson
- Josh Gordon