Browns' Top Players to Target in Fantasy Football DraftsAugust 4, 2021
Browns' Top Players to Target in Fantasy Football Drafts
The Cleveland Browns found unparalleled success for the post-1999 era on the field last season, but it didn't necessarily create fantasy football points.
Kevin Stefanski's offense was effective but didn't put up gaudy numbers. The Browns finished the season ranked 16th in total offense, 24th in passing and 14th in scoring. In short, they won games with an offense that didn't necessarily turn the ball over and took advantage of good situations.
The good news is things are still trending up in Cleveland. There's reason to believe all of those numbers will go up. The Browns are bringing back one of the best offensive lines in football. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt return as a dynamic one-two punch in the backfield.
A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. will rejoin a talented crew of pass-catchers for Baker Mayfield who enters his second year in a system for the first time in his career.
The offense still might not be the best for fantasy purposes just based on their philosophy, but these players are worth targeting based on their current average draft position.
RB Nick Chubb
Current ADP: 8.1 (RB8)
There are few teams in the league who are as invested in their starting running back than the Cleveland Browns are with Nick Chubb. Kevin Stefanski's zone run scheme is dependent on backs who can cut with the decisiveness and power Chubb brings to the table.
They put their money where their mouths were with a three-year $36.6 million contract extension. General manager Andrew Berry has made it clear how the organization feels about him.
"I think you all know the affinity that we have for him both as a player and as a person," the GM told ESPN. "He has modeled that over the first three years of his career here. I think that is something that we certainly see every day and that you all can see externally."
If the Browns had any plans of phasing Chubb out of the offense and making Baker Mayfield and the receivers the focal point, they would not have made a move to lock up the Georgia product this early.
Stefanski's background with the Minnesota Vikings and what they did with both Dalvin Cook and Adrian Peterson during his time there shows how you can build an offense around a dominant running back.
There are arguments to be made that Chubb doesn't see enough in the passing game, and he's likely going to lose work because of the return of Beckham, but that didn't stop him from being a top 10 running back in fantasy last season, and it won't stop him this year.
RB Kareem Hunt
Current ADP: 57.0 (RB24)
Kareem Hunt might be the Cleveland Brown that gives fantasy managers the most value this season. Last year, Hunt only got to be the primary back in four games that Chubb missed for injury. Other than that, he played second fiddle.
He still finished at RB9 in PPR leagues and RB10 in standard leagues.
Despite playing a complementary role to Chubb, Hunt was still very involved in the Browns offense. He saw 198 carries and 51 targets in the passing game, hauling in 38 for 304 yards and five touchdowns.
Looking ahead to 2021 and not much has changed about Hunt's situation. Beckham coming back is the only major development for the Cleveland offense. Not many of his targets are going to come out of Hunt's share.
So in Hunt, drafters have the opportunity to get someone who finished in the top 10 at one of the most important positions as the 57th player of the board.
Current ADP: 121.9 (D/ST8)
It's hard to get excited about those involved in the Browns passing game from a fantasy perspective. Stefanski's offense was one of the most run-heavy in the league last season, and there's reason to be cautious about most of the primary players.
Beckham is coming off an ACL tear and the offense started to get in sync shortly after his departure. Jarvis Landry remains a consistent PPR option but doesn't quite have a path to outperforming his ADP. Rashard Higgins isn't projected to warrant a large enough role early in the season to be rosterable.
Baker Mayfield may be ready to become the franchise quarterback, but Stefanski's offense and a lack of rushing production limit his ceiling. The tight end group is too deep to have one fantasy starter. Austin Hooper, David Njoku and Harrison Bryant should all see targets.
What's left is a defense that got a major facelift this offseason. The Browns got some help to put across from Myles Garrett to bolster the pass rush. John Johnson III, Troy Hill and Greg Newsome II bring bite to a secondary that desperately needed it.
They could cause enough havoc to be a viable asset on Sundays.