Donovan Peoples-Jones, Austin Hooper Fantasy Outlook After Jarvis Landry's Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 19, 2021

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones warms up before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
AP Photo/Ron Schwane

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry was ruled out for the remainder of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans after suffering a knee injury, per ESPN's Jake Trotter

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was unable to provide much of an update on Landry's injury after Cleveland' 31-21 victory, noting the team is expected to get MRI results on Monday morning, per Trotter.

Depending on the severity of the injury, that could have major fantasy football ramifications for players like Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins and Cleveland's cadre of tight ends, including Austin Hooper. 

When Odell Beckham Jr. returns from his ACL injury, he's the No. 1 receiver in Cleveland, no questions asked, and a fantasy WR2 candidate. That's true with or without Landry in the fold. It's possible he could be back as soon as next week, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. 

So the question becomes who will settle into the No. 2 receiver role in place of Landry, and whether that player will have viable fantasy upside?

Peoples-Jones appears to be the upside play, if only because there are five seasons of evidence from Higgins that he's not quite capable of taking the step into fantasy relevance you need to roster him. He set a career high in receiving yards (599) and tied his career best in receiving touchdowns (four) last season in 13 games. Higgins finished Sunday with two catches for 27 yards.

Peoples-Jones, meanwhile, was in the Chiefs game for 44 snaps last week and ran 25 routes, per ESPN's Mike Clay, appearing to firmly cement himself as the WR2 behind Landry. That didn't translate into production (one catch for four yards on one target), but a heavier workload could be coming.

On the other hand, a lost fumble on Sunday won't help his cause. The Michigan product is worth monitoring and rostering in the deepest leagues, but at this point, you can probably find better options on waivers.

Rookie Anthony Schwartz is also a player worth keeping an eye on, but for now shouldn't be rostered. The Auburn product played 31 snaps in Week 1 and had no catches off his lone target Sunday. 

As for the tight ends, well, good luck wading through that swamp.

Hooper, Harrison Bryant and David Njoku all figure to play a role for the Browns. Njoku had the best Week 1 (three catches for 76 yards). In Week 2, Bryant had the most yards (49 on four receptions), although Hooper had a team-high five catches for 40 yards. 

None of these players are anything more than low-end TE2 options who likely will siphon value from each other all season long. Outside of Beckham, there aren't a lot of players to love for fantasy players in Cleveland's passing game.