Jordan Cameron Injury: Fantasy Impact of Losing Browns TE

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2013

The Cleveland Browns will travel to MetLife Stadium for their Week 16 showdown with the New York Jets without the services of Jordan Cameron.

Michael Fabiano of NFL.com passed along the bad news:

Cameron's concussion is a tough break for both the Browns and fantasy owners who have relied on the tight end’s breakout production this season. He leads Cleveland with 75 receptions and is second on the team with 848 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches.

Fantasy players who count on Cameron in the tight end spot will understandably be upset with this news, but the larger issue here is putting his long-term health in perspective. Quarterback Jason Campbell did just that to Matt Florjancic and the official web site of the Cleveland Browns:

When you’re talking about the head, it’s not just something just for now, but later down the road as well. As bad as we want him to be out there with us playing on the field, I care more for his health and his safety, and I just want him to make sure he’s doing all the right things that he needs to do so that something doesn’t creep up on him later on in life.

Nevertheless, Cameron missing time is a hard pill for fantasy owners to swallow during playoff time because the Browns are going up against a miserable Jets defense that ranks 26th in the league in opposing passing yards allowed. Cameron would have found plenty of open seams and certainly could have added to his seven touchdown catches.

If you are feeling particularly risky, you could take a flyer on other Cleveland tight ends who will see more playing time. However, guys like MarQueis Gray, Gary Barnidge and Keavon Milton probably aren’t reliable enough to insert into your lineup this late in the fantasy season.

Tim Wright of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles are other potential last-second replacement options from the waiver wire. Both are available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Dec. 20. Ertz was targeted nine times in Week 15 and is going up against a leaky Chicago Bears defense, while Wright totaled 82 yards receiving and a touchdown in his last game.

Cameron’s injury also hurts Campbell’s stock as a high-risk, high-reward quarterback option going up against New York’s defense. Sure, playing Campbell likely wasn’t your ticket to the fantasy playoffs, but he has thrown for a combined 664 yards and four touchdowns the past two games.

While most of the fantasy implications of Cameron’s injury are negative, there is a silver lining if you have Josh Gordon on your team. He has been arguably the best wide receiver this side of Calvin Johnson in 2013, and now he is the only reliable target the Browns will have at their disposal against a vulnerable secondary.

Gordon leads Johnson by 18 receiving yards for the NFL lead heading into Week 16, but that gap could grow if Gordon receives an inordinate amount of targets in Cameron’s absence.

 

Follow and interact with Bleacher Report writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.

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