The Cleveland Browns officially announced Wednesday that veteran Brian Hoyer would be the starting quarterback for the franchise entering the regular season, according to the franchise’s official Twitter account:
BREAKING: Brian Hoyer to lead Browns, named starting quarterback. pic.twitter.com/EGKWJ5t2pZ— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 20, 2014
Fantasy owners are already trying to understand what that means for the other players on Cleveland's roster. Two of the biggest names drawing attention are tight end Jordan Cameron and running back Ben Tate.
For both players, the decision to start Hoyer is a blessing.
It is exactly what fans and fantasy owners targeting Cameron in the draft were calling for. In the two full games last season in which Hoyer and Cameron were on the field together, the tight end caught 16 passes for 157 yards and four touchdowns.
Cameron was not able to replicate those numbers with the mediocre quarterbacks who replaced Hoyer following his season-ending knee surgery, but the dynamic duo is now slated to rekindle that working relationship.
Fantasy insider Andy Behrens of Yahoo Sports spoke glowingly about Cameron’s potential this season and even acknowledged the success Hoyer and his tight end have found together:
Whatever questions existed about Jordan Cameron entering last season, he answered them emphatically. He's a star. Cameron ranked third at his position in both receptions (80) and targets (117) last year, and second in receiving yards (917). He was at his best with Brian Hoyer behind center, but he also managed to catch TD passes from a pair of sketchy quarterbacks (Weeden, Campbell) and a punter. Cameron is a hyper-athletic player, not limited in his route-running, and he's entering a contract year.
With time to build a rapport in practice now that Hoyer should be taking the majority of the first-team reps, expectations for Cameron are climbing. Don't forget that the team's top wide receiving target, Josh Gordon, will likely miss the entire season while serving a suspension. Miles Austin, Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins make for a solid core of pass-catchers, but Hoyer will lean on Cameron often.
Fantasy owners should expect around 80 catches for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
Another beneficiary of Cleveland’s decision to start Hoyer is Tate.
Hoyer is more of a traditional pocket passer than rookie Johnny Manziel, and defensive units must respect Hoyer’s arm more than they would if Manziel were slinging the ball. With defenders in the secondary fearing the pass now, there will be more lanes for Tate to find as the team’s primary running back.
Tate does not want to waste his opportunity, and he called out the entire offense on Twitter:
The Browns have a strong offensive line and a zone-blocking scheme similar to the one Tate is used to from his time with the Houston Texans. With Hoyer building chemistry with Cameron and the wide receivers, the improved passing game will help alleviate some of the pressure on Tate.
Which player has more fantasy upside?
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Tate is being drafted as the 26th overall running back in the middle to late stages of the fifth round. With Terrance West and Dion Lewis as the backup running backs in Cleveland, fantasy owners shouldn’t be shocked to see Tate amass 300 carries and 50 receptions for 1,500-plus all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns.
In the fifth round of a fantasy draft, a player with that workload is a steal.
Overall, fantasy owners should be rejoicing for both Cameron and Tate. The value of both players is on the rise, and as long as Hoyer stays healthy, the tight end and running back will be viable fantasy options all season.
Stats via NFL.com.