It’s an understatement to call what happened on the shores of Lake Erie in 2019 a disaster. The Cleveland Browns, with a full year of Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb, and the additions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt, seemed poised for greatness. Then, the Factory of Sadness hit. The Mistake by the Lake was out in full force. The Diarrhea in Berea reared its ugly head. Similarly, the 2019 fantasy football options in Cleveland, with the exception of Nick Chubb, all fell short of expectations. When the dust settled, the Browns fired Freddie Kitchens, hired Kevin Stefanski, but their new OC is somewhere out in the ether. In a season the Cleveland Browns would rather forget, what should you remember for your 2020 fantasy football drafts?
What to Remember from the 2019 Cleveland Browns Season
- Kareem Hunt did not chew into Nick Chubb’s workload as much as we feared… at first. Hunt returned versus Buffalo, and Chubb had 20, 27, and 21 carries (4, 1, 3 targets) in the next three games. That was well in-line with the normal Nick Chubb 19.3 carries, 4 targets he received prior to Hunt’s arrival. Over the last five games, however, things changed. Chubb’s touches dropped down to 15.2 carries and 1.8 targets per game. Don’t worry, it gets worse. Chubb averaged 3.6 red zone carries prior to the last five games of the season, but in the last five games, that number dropped to two. Consequently, he went from 15.46/16.8/19.8 fantasy points per game in standard/HPPR/PPR in his first 11 games. He struggled when you needed him most: Chubb averaged 9.8/10.4/12.2 fantasy points in his last five contests. Remember this if the Browns re-sign Hunt.
- The 2019 Cleveland Browns were a bleak squad full of underachievers, so I am going to continue to talk about Nick Chubb. The Freddie Kitchens’ offensive philosophy led to one of the worst ten zone stat lines I have ever seen. I did the math for you on this one: 0 targets, 0 yards in the passing game, and 12 yards on 32 catches within the ten-yard line. Nick Chubb is an incredible talent, and this is what they managed to do with him inside the ten-yard line. Absolutely tragic and something to remember if the Browns don’t re-sign Kareem Hunt. This chart should change drastically in 2020.
- Odell Beckham Jr. was one of the most disappointing fantasy football options in 2019. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Browns gave him 25% of their targets, which makes him one of eleven players to have over 25% of his team’s targets. The kicker? He was second on the team in targets, as Jarvis Landry had 26% of his team’s targets. They’re the only duo in the league to both have at least 25% of their team’s targets.
- We all got our licks in on Baker Mayfield and his truly horrendous 2019 fantasy football campaign. But, what if I told you that his 2019 campaign was one awful campaign and one great campaign fused together? In the first eight games of 2019, Mayfield averaged 245.4 passing yards, 0.9 touchdowns, and 1.5 interceptions per game. He tacked on 9.4 rushing yards a contest and scored a rushing touchdown. This comes out to a stupendous (full sarcasm there) 12 fantasy points per contest. In the second half of the season, a switch flipped in Mayfield. Maybe he started tuning out Freddie Kitchens, or maybe he remembered he had Odell Beckham, Nick Chubb, and Jarvis Landry at his disposal. In the second half, Mayfield cut down on his interceptions, threw more touchdowns, and scored more fantasy points. He went from 12 to 16.6 fantasy points per game. That’s not all that great, but in a 2 QB league, it’s passable.
- David Njoku, due to the combination of an IR stint and Freddie Kitchens having as much control of the Browns as a scared 17-year-old driving a manual transmission and hitting black ice for the first time, barely played. After playing 65 snaps in the first game, Njoku played just 34 snaps for the rest of the year. That’s it, that’s the fact.
Check out the rest of the What to Remember series as it develops!
(Header Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland#/media/File:FirstEnergy_Stadium_2014.jpg under CC BY 2.0)