2013 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns

 
 
 
 
Football > Preseason > 2013 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns

2013 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns

A fantasy football preview of the Cleveland Browns this season. Profiled players include Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Dion Lewis, and Bobby Rainey.

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In the short-term, Brian Hoyer is the Browns' starter while Brandon Weeden heals from a thumb injury. Although if Hoyer continues to succeed, there will certainly be a quarterback controversy. Deeper formats should monitor Hoyer, if not add him as soon as possible. He seemed to have great chemistry with Josh Gordon. Don't count out the Browns just yet.

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The silver lining surrounding Brandon Weeden is that this will be his second season and needless to say, drafting the 29-year-old would require plenty of optimism. The former Oklahoma State product will have offensive coordinator Norv Turner to guide him. Weeden finished 2012 with only 14 TD passes and 20 total turnovers. In response to his rookie season, the Browns added QB Jason Campbell to challenge in the offseason. While early reports suggested Campbell may have had an early lead in this QB competition, Weeden has come on strong in the preseason.

UPDATE (08/16/2013): Through two preseason games, Weeden has completed 18-of-25 passes for 229 yards and three scores. His 139.4 QB rating during the preseason is the highest among all QBs with 10 or more pass attempts.

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The new coaching regime in Cleveland hand-picked Jason Campbell while they merely inherited second-year QB Brandon Weeden. This doesn't mean Campbell is the guaranteed starter but Weeden has accomplished nothing to cement his 2012 position as the Browns' field general. Campbell is on his third team in three seasons and there is a good reason for that. He never excelled as a starter in Washington, but has been a serviceable backup since then. If either Campbell or Weeden emerge as the starter, a losing streak could cost them their job, meaning both players are nothing more than waiver wire fodder.

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Due to the emergence of RB Bryce Brown with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dion Lewis became expendable. He has found a new home in Cleveland and will push RB Montario Hardesty to become the No. 2 back. Lewis is only 22 years old and there is little wear on his treads. Hardesty, on the other hand, has battled with injuries throughout his collegiate and pro career. In theory, Lewis should be able to contribute more on passing downs, although he's only caught three passes in his previous two seasons.

UPDATE (08/16/2013): Lewis fratured his fibula during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. He will be out for at least two to three months.

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With Trent Richardson out of town, Bobby Rainey figures to see a spike in playing time. After Week 3, he still has a lot to learn and prove on the field. He had five touches in his debut and it appears Willis McGahee has the starter's edge. Rainey is a guy to watch in dynasty formats, and he isn't likely to hit it big this year.

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When healthy (which isn't a given), Montario Hardesty is a solid change-of-pace back and certainly worth an add off the waiver wire should something happen to RB Trent Richardson. The former second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft is not likely to touch the ball often enough to make a dent in the box score. A new offensive system in Cleveland may change his role, but if anything, this offense will take more chances in the deep passing game rather than double-down on the ground.

UPDATE (08/16/2013): Hardesty is expected to miss the first few games of the year after having his knee scoped.