Cleveland Browns; 2012 Offseason Breakdown

Fantasy Football Fanatics

Cleveland Browns; 2012 Offseason Breakdown

By, Eric Hartvigson


Stadium: Cleveland Browns Stadium (outdoors)

Schedule Strength: 31st

Postseason Weather issues: vs. KC, vs. Was, @ Den

Offensive Line Ranking: 15th


Head Coach – Pat Shurmur;     As a collegiate athlete Shurmur was a four-year letterman at center for the Michigan State Spartans.  Shurmur would go on to coach the tight ends for 7 years at his alma mater.  In 1999 Shurmur was hired by Eagles head coach Andy Reid as the tight ends coach and later promoted to the quarterback coach. A connection to Reid creates a strong affiliation to the West Coast offense. When we further assimilate team president Mike Holmgren as a direct descendent of Bill Walsh we uncover further evidence that the Cleveland Browns will adhere to this classic offensive system. Furthermore, Holmgren himself has stated he hired Shurmur to devise all game plans and call plays during the games.

Offensive Coordinator – Brad Childress;     A football coach since 1978, Childress preceded Shurmur as the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia before being promoted to offensive coordinator of the Eagles.  Childress is most famous for being the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings during their magical 2009 season, quickly followed by the team’s dissension in 2010.  Having examined Childress’ past we further substantiate the Cleveland Browns will be a West Coast system.

QB – Brandon Weeden;     As a 28-year-old rookie quarterback out of Oklahoma State, Weeden should have a leg up on most 1st year signal callers simply based on maturity.  Weeden skill set also fits nicely into the traditional West Coast offense possessing great accuracy and the ability to read through his progressions. However, only one rookie quarterback has ever managed to finish inside the top 10 in fantasy scoring and become an every week starter (just so happens that was cam Newton last year).  Also working against Weeden is the development of young talent at the wide receiver position led by second year player Greg Little and rookie Josh Gordon. This could develop a formidable relationship in the future, but Weeden currently carries a player rating of 7.4

RB – Trent Richardson;    The third overall pick in 2012 NFL draft Richardson appears to be the real deal as an every-down ball carrier. We must further factor that Mike Holmgren is a traditional believer in a “one-back” system.  Richardson has been blessed with one of the leagues better offensive lines led by future Hall of Fame left guard Joe Thomas. On the downside Richardson lacks team talent with a rookie quarterback now under center and very young group of wide receivers downfield.  We should expect many of the Brown’s competitors to load the box with the intent of stuffing Richardson putting pressure on the Browns passing attack. We must also consider that Richardson schedule includes some very tough run defenses including games against Pittsburgh, Philly, Buf, NYG each and two games against Baltimore.  Fortunately most of Richardson’s tougher matchups come in the first half of the fantasy season.  Anticipating difficulty in the early games, Richardson is deserving of a player rating of 9.0

WR1 – Greg Little;     At 6 foot 2, 220 pounds Little has the physical size and strength to be a productive fantasy wide receiver inside the Mike Holmgren / Pat Shurmur West Coast offense. The addition of quarterback Brandon Weeden will also aid in Little’s development as an upgrade over last year’s starter Colt McCoy. We always upgrade those wide receivers who could potentially lead their team in targets equaling the greatest amount of opportunity. Given a full off-season to familiarize himself with the offensive system, combined with a new quarterback, Little should be saddled with the project and player rating of 7.4

WR2 – Josh Gordon;     Spending a second round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft means the Cleveland Browns are extremely high on rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon. At 6 foot 4, 220 pounds we’ve even heard comments coming out of the Brown’s camp comparing Gordon to Randy Moss. The knock on Gordon was a lack of maturity after twice testing positive for marijuana. Gordon is a bit of a question mark playing number the number two wide receiver opposite Greg Little. Should Gordon receive the majority of targets, and become the Brown’s number one wide receiver, he would certainly warrant fantasy value. However, without preseason action we should saddle Gordon to a player rating of 6.6, equal to a low-end WR4.

TE – Ben Watson;    There were moments during the offseason of rumors the Cleveland Browns were considering cutting ties with veteran tight end.  However more recent reports coming from the coaching staff have stated that Watson will remain the Browns starting tight end.  His presence is much needed inside this very young group of Browns wide receivers.  Typically we find tight end is a valuable commodity inside a West Coast offense.  However, Watson seems to be aging at a rapid rate as we have also witnessed the continued emergence of backup tight end Evan Moore and Cam Jordan.  At this juncture Watson is nothing more than a low end TE2 with a player rating of 6.0

DST – Cleveland Browns;    The lone bright spot on the Cleveland defense is the continued emergence of shutdown cornerback Joe Haden. However, suspension of Scott Fujita and the loss of first round defensive tackle Phil Taylor means Cleveland has almost no fantasy value earning a player rating of 5.2.

K – Phil Dawson;   Dawson has very few attributes we’ve look for a fantasy kicker warranting zero consideration that player rating of 5.0


About Eric Hartvigson