Average Draft Position: Pick 335 (Undrafted)
As much talent and potential as DeShone Kizer has, there is no way anyone should be drafting him at this point in the season. Kizer showed flashes of immense talent, but he is still a rookie and is prone to rookie mistakes. He still stares down receivers, struggles with pocket awareness and overthrows a few targets.
There is chance that Kizer develops into a fantasy-relevant quarterback, but as of now he shouldn’t be on anyone’s roster. What Kizer does bring is a cannon arm to throw with–the Browns receiving corp should have more deep play potential that will add value to Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt.
Average Draft Position: Pick 30
Not much has changed with Crowell since our offseason fantasy roundup:
The one constant in this Browns offense is Isaiah Crowell, who is going to be rushing behind an improved offensive line and a young quarterback, both good signs for his fantasy potential. If he stays healthy, Crowell should receive a ton of carries and after averaging 4.8 yards per carry last year, the signs are looking good for Crowell to be a top ten fantasy back if he sees the red-zone touches.
Last year he was given the ball 198 times, ran in seven touchdowns and even caught 40 passes for 319 yards. We know he’s going to get the opportunities in the run game this season.
The big gamble with Crowell is where you draft him. He’s a back that’s been going in the late second round/early third in a lot of mock drafts right now, so it’s up to each player to determine what you think he’s worth. Currently NFL.com has him going around pick 28, around the middle of the pack for running backs. Lamar Miller, Leonard Fournette and Marshawn Lynch are all currently valued ahead of him.
Crowell has fallen a few spots since then, now going around 30 in most drafts, but he should see the carries to be a solid RB 2 week to week. The talent the Browns have at offensive line should help keep Crowell consistent.
DeShone Kizer starting really isn’t going to impact Crowell one way or another; Duke Johnson is usually the go to runningback for pass catching anyways.
Around Crowell in Draft: Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, Drew Brees
Average Draft Position: Pick 119
While it’s true that Duke Johnson is running behind one of the best offensive lines in football, his biggest enemy when it comes to his fantasy potential is Isaiah Crowell. Crowell continues to look like the primary back for the Browns, and while that’s great news for owners of Crowell it’s bad news for Duke Johnson.
Johnson only passed 100 yards once last season and only put up one touchdown. With that said, owners of Crowell would be smart to handcuff the two backs, that way if Crowell goes down or sees his carries reduced, Johnson can come in and run behind that great offensive line.
For that value, Johnson is hard to pass up. If anything happens to Crowell he’s going to get enough carries to give him RB 2 ceilings, so he may be worth using the late pick to go get him.
Around Johnson in Draft: Kenny Britt, Vikings Defense, Jack Doyle
Average Draft Position: Pick 115
Now backed by a gunslinging Kizer at quarterback, the biggest cap on Coleman’s fantasy potential seems to be injuries. When he was healthy last season (essentially only the first two weeks) he was a dynamic receiver that used his speed to stretch the field.
He’s also playing with a quarterback with arguably the biggest arm he’s ever caught passes from. Anywhere after pick 100 would be a good value to snag Coleman simply because of the massive potential. There’s a chance injuries or bad quarterbacking drags him down this season but if everything goes right, Coleman will be a number one receiver on a competent passing football team–that late in the draft it’s hard to pass that up.
Around Coleman in Draft: Seahawks Defense, Texans Defense, Corey Davis
Average Draft Position: Pick 118
In our offseason Fantasy Football Roundup we described Britt thusly:
Britt is currently on the edge as far as receivers go, hovering in the sixties in many fantasy WR rankings. Last year he did have 68 catches for 1,002 yards with some subpar quarterback play, but because of the questions at quarterback for the Browns it’s hard to predict whether or not he’ll repeat it.
Well we now know that Kizer is the starter for the Browns, and having Kizer play that fact should increase the value of Kenny Britt. Kizer has shown that he can extend plays and get the ball downfield, so the veteran Britt might have more opportunities for catches.
DeShone Kizer looks like he has better chemistry with Corey Coleman right now, but Britt is a veteran presence at a talent-poor position for the Browns so at 118 he is a fairly safe pick. He’s also only owned in around 75 percent of leagues.
Britt can be a good high floor, mid-level ceiling kind of receiver for a fantasy owner, and his stock could rise drastically if Kizer has a breakout season.
Around Britt in Draft: Duke Johnson, Jack Doyle, Corey Coleman
Average Draft Position: Undrafted
Seth DeValve has made some splashes in training camp, but as of now, he’s not worth a spot on your fantasy roster. Like his counterpart Njoku his role in the offense isn’t fully clear yet, so until DeValve cements his place he isn’t an early season fantasy starter.
Average Draft Position: Pick 229 (Undrafted)
David Njoku was really high on a lot of people’s radars earlier this offseason, but a lackluster camp and preseason coupled with drop issues mean that Njoku is probably not going to be fantasy relevant this season for the Browns. He definitely has the athletic potential to be a star, but right now he’s too underdeveloped to be worth drafting.
At 6’4” and 246, Njoku is an athletic monster. It wouldn’t surprise me if he hauled in a few touchdowns this season, but he’ll likely be so inconsistent in his snaps and playtime that drafting him/trying to start him is more of a risk than it’s worth.
For now, Njoku should remain one to watch on the waiver wire.
Average Draft Position: Pick 283 (Undrafted)
With Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and Joe Schobert stepping up in the preseason, this Browns defense is looking the best it has in a long while. They haven’t allowed a touchdown in back to back preseason games, they’re getting consistent pressure on quarterbacks and they’re winning the physical battles up front.
In the preseason so far (three games), they logged eight sacks and two interceptions. The young talent is blending well with Gregg Williams’ system, and if the Browns can continue this level of play into the regular season they may be a sleepy defense to watch in fantasy football.
With that being said, do not draft this Browns defense. They are not worth using a pick on and even if you had the Browns you’d want to play the matchups anyways. They are definitely not a defense to start Week 1 against the Steelers.
If you’re starving for a defense in deeper leagues, the Browns might be a defense to use depending on the matchup. They’ll play the Ravens twice this season for example; judging by what we’ve seen of this Ravens offense the Browns could be a viable fantasy pick those two weeks.