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Cleveland Browns' Fantasy Football Preview: Sleeper Players To Watch

Daniel WolfSenior Writer ISeptember 11, 2009

CLEVELAND - AUGUST 22: C.J. Mosley #69 of the Cleveland Browns blocks a pass by Daunte Culpepper #11 of the Detroit Lions during the third quarter of their NFL game on August 22, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

With one official regular season game in the books for 2009, I found myself tracking players that I had on my fantasy football team who were playing in last night's Steelers-Titans game, and thought to myself, "Who do the Browns have on its team that are sleeper picks that I can stash on the bottom of my depth chart?"

After spending some time thinking about it and doing some research, the following players, I believe, are worth picking up and putting on your team because they may surprise many and produce some good fantasy numbers in 2009.

Josh Cribbs WR/KR/PR

If you are in a league that gives out points for return yardage, then Cribbs is a must-have addition to your team, but to top it off, he is now listed as the starting wide receiver opposite of Braylon Edwards.

Cribbs is the type of "team-first" player that all coaches love and he has the drive and passion for football that will allow him to succeed for many more years in the NFL.

Very exciting once the ball is in his hands, Cribbs runs with the ball like a 250-pound running back and he is very hard to tackle.

If Edwards continues to drop passes in 2009, then look for Brady Quinn to throw more passes to Cribbs, whose fantasy value can only increase.

Cribbs will not be worthy of starting in week one of your fantasy season, but if he has a few great games right out of the gate, then you may have to move him up on your depth charts.

Projected stats:

Receiving: 40 receptions for 750 yards and five touchdowns

Rushing: 150 yards and one touchdown

Kick Returns: 1,200 yards and two touchdowns

Punt Return: 315 yards and one touchdown

James Davis RB

Though Davis may not start in the first few weeks of the season, if Jamal Lewis cannot perform at a high level, look for Davis to take over the starting role at some point during the 2009 season.

Davis has that rare combination of strength, speed, and elusiveness that can make a running back a great player at the NFL level.

He may not run for over 1,000 yards, but look for Davis to have a decent rookie campaign and he may be a good No. 3 running back option on your fantasy team.

Projected stats:

Rushing: 700 yards and four touchdowns

Receiving: 250 yards and one touchdown

The Cleveland Browns' Defense

You may be thinking, "The Browns defense are you crazy?"

No, I am not crazy, but the defense is better in 2009 than it has been compared to the last several years with added depth on the defensive line, in the defensive backfield, and at linebacker. The players will be fresh throughout games with a steady stream of substitutions.

In 2008, the Browns were second in the NFL in interceptions (23) and look for that ranking to stay around the same level (they had five picks in their four preseason games), and look for their near the bottom of the league pass rush to improve dramatically, especially since it can't get any worse.

The two leaders of the defense, inside linebackers D'Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton, will keep all of the other players in the right position and make the proper adjustments according to what the opposing offense is doing.

Also look for linebacker Kamerion Wimbley to make major contributions for the defense since he will be playing in different spots on the defense to throw the offense off balance.

Shaun Rogers is a beast, and he will continue to gobble up double and triple teams, freeing up others to get pressure on the opposing quarterbacks.

Projected stats: 265 points given up, 25 interceptions, 10 fumbles, 30 sacks, three touchdowns, three blocked kicks

These three may not garner the type of attention as other players or defenses in the NFL, but you should still keep one eye on them because they may be a solid pick up as a backup for your team.

(Article originally posted on Dawg Scooper: An Unofficial Cleveland Browns News Source)

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