Scoutlook: The Browns Without WR Josh Gordon (PREMIUM PREVIEW)
(Editor's intro: The Browns have some inexperienced, high-upside players who could swing the franchise in any number of directions. Fantasy football expert Brian Murphy examines how the team will fare as it tries to develop Johnny Manziel, re-establish their lost running game, find replacements for Josh Gordon and get the most out of Jordan Cameron.
Before a certain basketball player took his talents back to Cleveland, the city's most talked-about athlete this summer had yet to play in a game. However, less than a day after Johnny Manziel was drafted to bring some life and excitement to a downtrodden franchise, Browns fans were left to talk about yet another depressing development: A year-long suspension for wide receiver Josh Gordon.
On May 9, news of Gordon's latest violation of the league's substance abuse policy came to light. Although it is not official yet, Gordon is fully expected to miss the entire 2014 season due to multiple violations, and a DWI arrest earlier this month adds to the mess he has created.
The loss of Gordon cannot be overstated for the Browns. He led the NFL in receiving yards in just his second season despite being suspended for the first two games. Only Calvin Johnson in 2012 had a greater yards-per-game average by a wide receiver since 1892. Gordon gained 31.9 percent of the Browns' yards last season; only Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy contributed a larger portion of yards from scrimmage.
In total, the 2014 Browns will set off without three of their four leading receivers from last season. A new head coach and offensive coordinator have been hired as well. So, where do fantasy owners go for points from a passing offense that is almost starting from scratch?
At least there is one easy answer: Jordan Cameron.
The USC product experienced the breakout season that many foretold entering last season. Cameron was a top-five tight end under the tutelage of Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner. His 917 yards were second-best at the position, trailing only Jimmy Graham. However, unlike Graham, who has the luxury of catching passes from Drew Brees, Cameron had to cobble his stats together with Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, or Brian Hoyer chucking it.
Cameron is an appealing target for any quarterback at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. He can run down the seam past most linebackers and high-point the football with the best of them. There is no doubt that he is now the Browns' top option in the passing game. Of course, pluses and minuses come with such a title.
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