Browns add Osweiler, but the real fantasy intrigue is in Houston
In a surprise move, the Cleveland Browns have traded for former Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Per Schefter, The Browns also picked up a second-round draft pick as part of the deal.
Osweiler, a big free agent addition for the Texans just one year ago, was miserable as a full-time starter. In 15 games, he threw for only 2,957 yards while tossing 15 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. He finished as the No. 28 fantasy quarterback.
The Browns are now responsible for Osweiler’s reprehensible contract, but it’s not inconceivable they ask him to rework it. Cleveland also has Robert Griffin III and Cody Kessler on the roster, and we probably shouldn’t assume Osweiler will get the starting job (or even remain on the team, as there are rumors the team could just dump him outright and eat the contract). He’s actually that bad.
For the sake of the rest of this article, we’ll act like Osweiler does end up as the Browns’ opening day starter. Even if that’s the case, he’s still not relevant in fantasy circles. Osweiler had strong weapons at his disposal in Houston and did nothing with them. He’ll still have good targets in Cleveland — but he won’t have a player of DeAndre Hopkins’ caliber, and he’ll have even less of a running game to lean on. This is not n better spot for Osweiler. It’s a side-grade at best. The Browns also have a really, really good offensive line, so … he has that going for him.
Osweiler is an easy avoid in season-long leagues. If he’s the starter, he’ll likely be near minimum price on DFS sites to start the year, so he might be worthwhile in that sense. He’s also worth a look in leagues that play two quarterbacks, but he’s still far from one of the best options in this format. These are about the only positive angles I can find in terms of Osweiler’s fantasy outlook.
At wideout, the Browns have Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt. As of this writing, Terrelle Pryor is still a free agent. If he re-ups with Cleveland, then the Browns actually have a strong group of young receivers. The quarterback situation was already bad in Cleveland, though, and Osweiler’s addition doesn’t make it objectively better.
As such, this remains an extremely promising group of wideouts who will be capped by their quarterback play. Coleman, Britt and Pryor (if he stays) would all have WR3 or flex appeal in season-long leagues, but the poor quarterback situation will prevent them from contributing much more than that on a consistent basis.
The biggest fantasy news here doesn’t really have to do with Osweiler or the Browns. There is now a greater potential for the Texans to make a move for Tony Romo, in which case Romo would instantly become a fantasy option, DeAndre Hopkins would return to the land of WR1s, and the Texans would be a bona fide Super Bowl contender. Stay tuned.