No team lacks fantasy stability like the Cleveland Browns
(Editor’s note: Our Crazy Fantasy Stat of the Day is an occasional free PFF Fantasy offering, highlighting something that catches our eye and helps us learn something for fantasy football for 2016.)
The Cleveland Browns have grown to be rather infamous for their frequent roster turnover. A famous shirt on the subject just got retired thanks to LeBron James and the Cavaliers. A team that hasn’t won much in recent years also has had significant trouble finding skill players to hold onto long term.
As you might imagine, turnover isn’t great for a team’s fantasy performances. I compiled each team’s No. 1 performer by yardage at each offensive fantasy position and tracked turnover for the last five years. Teams that have a full four-player turnover average 923 offensive fantasy points the next year. Teams with 1-2 holdovers average 1,025, and teams with 3-4 holdovers average 1,075.
That turnover inspires our Fantasy Stat of the Day: In the last five years, the Browns have had five different No. 1 quarterbacks, five different No. 1 running backs, four different No. 1 wide receivers and three different No. 1 tight ends. The only year-to-year holdovers were wide receiver Josh Gordon (2012-13) and tight ends Jordan Cameron (2013-14) and Benjamin Watson (2011-12). They were the only team in the NFL to have a turnover at No. 1 at all four positions from 2014 to 2015.
Looking ahead to 2016, the Browns are guaranteed to see a new yardage leader at receiver, as 2015 leader Travis Benjamin left for San Diego as a free agent. There is the possibility the Browns could have holdovers at the other positions, though only tight end Gary Barnidge appears to be a sure thing. The others are quarterback Josh McCown and running back Isaiah Crowell, and both have teammates who could factor into things (Robert Griffin III and Duke Johnson, respectively).
[Can Duke Johnson, Josh Gordon or Gary Barnidge be a part of a champion fantasy roster? Check our new fantasy Draft Master tool and see what kind of team you can put around them.]
The Browns have offered some mild reasons for optimism for fantasy in 2016. Johnson has drawn buzz as a breakout candidate at running back and is the No. 24 running back in our staff consensus, with Crowell 39th. The team spent its first-round pick on wide receiver Corey Coleman out of Baylor, PFF’s top wide receiver prospect. He is our No. 40 wide receiver, one spot behind just-reinstated Gordon. Barnidge was the No. 4 tight end in 2015, and is ninth in our rankings now. If the team’s quarterback situation can work itself out, there is potential here. But this is a team that, more than just about any other, needs to establish stability.