Cleveland Browns: Kick Them While They’re Down | NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
I’m not one that usually writes a down piece about an organization or team, but it’s time to talk about the Cleveland Browns and their situation. After an embarrassing loss, this past Monday night to the Ravens it’s easy to see why fantasy owners will have continued success against this team.
This offseason I was willing to see the bright side of things for this team and where they could be headed.
I liked the fact that head coach Eric Mangini traded his top five draft pick down and got a bunch of picks for in return. Not only did the Browns acquire more picks, but they also got some decent defensive players from the New York Jets.
Seeing that Mangini was the head coach of the Jets just the season before it only seemed to make sense that these players would make an impact.
When Cleveland finally selected their first round pick, they took Cal Bears star center Alex Mack. I believed this was another strong move (still do) because it would help give them another talent on the offensive line.
Mangini did a nice job in New York building up his offensive line so this move only seemed to help the passing and running game.
A Step Towards Success / A Step Towards Disaster
As the summer progressed, I believed that the Browns would be fine in the long run if they could get Brady Quinn and Braylon Edwards going. Quinn needed to establish himself as the clear starter on the team and Edwards needed to re-establish himself as a true No.1 receiver.
Unfortunately, both of those players failed to do that and by week five of the season Quinn was benched for Derek Anderson and Edwards was traded away.
Before Anderson was benched after the team’s week eight loss to the Bears the offense didn’t produce much. One bright spot in that time was the off and on play of rookie wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.
Massaquoi was one of two second round receivers (other was Brian Robiskie) drafted by the Browns in April.
His highlight performance was against the Bengals week four when he totaled eight receptions for 148 yards. In that game, the Browns had their best offensive game of the season and this young receiver led the way.
Unfortunately, for Massaquoi, the team traded away Edwards the next week and now the rookie has to deal with being the top receiver on the team. With that title defenses will line up their best corner on you every week and this coverage hasn’t helped Massaquoi’s chances to produce.
Outside of Massaquoi development there isn’t much else to say about this offense in a positive light.
A Team Going Nowhere
With Quinn’s arrival back in the starting lineup on Monday night the team has become more conservative than ever. I’m not certain but I can’t remember more than maybe one play late in the game where the Browns’ threw a pass farther than ten yards.
That is bad against just about every defense in football but especially bad against the Baltimore Ravens. Just two week’s ago the Ravens dominated the Denver Broncos as their offense tried the same approach.
Defense’s will feed on an offense that can’t challenge down the field, and if you don’t try to get the ball down there they can easily keep the game in front of themselves.
If the Browns continue to play offense this way and run the football ineffectively than you should continue to start your fantasy players against this team.
As far as starting anyone on the Browns I can only recommend maybe Jamal Lewis or Massaquoi for this weekend coming up. Both players aren’t great plays, but they are getting an opportunity to play against the Detroit Lions.
Rookie running back Chris Jennings is starting to take work away from Lewis and if Lewis should suffer an injury, he might be worth a look.
Jennings isn’t an explosive runner, but he should be able to handle the ball twenty plus times for the last month or so of the season.
After this Season
It’s clear that Mangini needs to leave this organization, and they need a new outlook and fresh start. I’m not sure what it’s going to take for this team to get going in a positive direction, but they could use a strong running game for starters.
With a strong running game, they can keep their defense from staying of the field for long periods of time. This will be key because I can’t see the passing game being dependable in the next few seasons.
In short, it’s going to be awhile before this team is strong again so start your fantasy defenses against them and enjoy.
NFL Fantasy Football Player Rankings writer Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com