2018 Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup: Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have won just one game since they defeated the San Francisco 49ers on December 13, 2015. For reference, Blaine Gabbert and Jim Tomsula matched up against Mike Pettine and Johnny Manziel. All four of those guys have been whisked firmly away from NFL rosters and head coaching gigs at this point. So, it’s been a while since the Browns were NFL-relevant. They made a whole mess of moves this offseason, including snagging four fantasy football eligible players in the 2018 NFL Draft. Will all of these guys be fantasy football relevant? Well, one guy is barely NFL relevant, so that tells you the answer is no. But what about the other three?

Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Round One
It’s hard to not like a rookie quarterback who takes Colin Cowherd to the mat like Baker Mayfield did, but at the same time, it’s hard to like a rookie quarterback who has a documentary made about him before he even has an NFL team. Such is the yin and yang of Baker Mayfield. At 23, Mayfield has life seasoning, and he seems to already have his head about him as to who he is as a person and a player (he’s older than Patrick Mahomes, DeShone Kizer, and Deshaun Watson, for example). As a player, he’s a mishmash of good and bad traits.

Mayfield doesn’t have prototypical quarterback height (read: that dude is short), but Russell Wilson and Drew Brees (and Paxton Lynch) showed us that height isn’t the be-all, end-all of NFL quarterbacking. He is also a mess of contradictions. Mayfield has a rocket arm, but his motion and footwork are a mess. He can have a great pocket presence, but he gets happy feet and ditches the pocket quickly. He can see and hit some superb throws, but other times he misses wide open guys to go for glory play difficult throws. He’s a swaggy gunslinger, but he both talks, and walks, the talk and walk, respectively. NFL coaches will probably want to throttle him, given that he’s likely to lead the NFL in “no no no no no no, YES!” moments in the next decade.

As for 2018, the Browns spent the #1 pick on Mayfield but also traded a third for Tyrod Taylor. Chances are, we won’t see Mayfield in the first quarter of the season. Still, he should be drafted in two-QB leagues as his leagues provide the Konami Code for fantasy football. He only has to be halfway decent with a cadre of weapons to turn in more QB1 performances than not.

The problem? “Being halfway decent” has not been a strong suit of the Browns.

TALENT:  (#1 overall pick gets you the benefit of the doubt in the talent department)
OPPORTUNITY:
2018 OUTLOOK:

 

Nick Chubb, Running Back, Round Two
Like Mayfield, the Browns spent a high draft pick on Chubb… after spending offseason capital on bringing in talent at the same position. This time, Chubb is contending with former Niners running back Carlos Hyde for the bell-cow back role. He’s also fighting Duke Johnson, air back extraordinaire, for touches in his rookie campaign. Luckily for Chubb, he has experience sharing a backfield, as first rounder Sony Michel and he split touches in the Georgia backfield.

He runs in a straight line decently enough, and he bounces off people trying to tackle him. His cut-and-go is decentish, but nobody would confuse him with an elusive back as he gets stopped up behind the line of scrimmage a lot. He’s beefy and strong, and bounces off and goes through defenders enough to see his size playing in the NFL. Chubb is a good back, and Duke Johnson perfectly offsets his weaknesses. He’s a decent stash on a deep bench to see if he or Hyde win the starter role, and an even better one while you wait out the inevitable Carlos Hyde injury.

TALENT:
OPPORTUNITY:
2018 OUTLOOK:

 

Antonio Callaway, Wide Receiver, Round Four
An extremely talented and fast knucklehead, Antonio Callaway provides the Browns with the unusual position of having two wide receivers on their roster who could be suspended at any minute (Josh Gordon being the other). Callaway is an exceptional player, but his focus is an issue… but as are credit card schemes, sexual assault allegations and weed suspensions (I personally do not care, but the NFL likes to get in a huff). His chances of making a splash in his rookie season are nil, given that you’d be banking on the fifth-or-sixth passing option for Tyrod Taylor or Baker Mayfield. Still, he’s a Josh Gordon toke away from being the #3 wideout. He could be great or flop out of the league Justin Blackmon style. Don’t draft him.

TALENT:
BRAIN TALENT:
OPPORTUNITY:
2018 OUTLOOK:

Damion Ratley, Wide Receiver, Round Six
Seriously, don’t bother. In three years, he had 47 catches for 920 yards and eight scores. Combined. It’s impossible to find cutups of him on the internet, and everyone has punted on even talking on him at this point. Why would he improve on that in the NFL? How would Cleveland improve on that? Why are you checking up with someone who might not even make the roster of a team that went 0-16 last year? Why are you still reading this? What am I even doing here?

TALENT:
OPPORTUNITY:
2018 OUTLOOK:

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

View all posts by Jeff Krisko →