Fantasy Power Rankings No. 32 – Cleveland
We’re going to power our way through these final months without football with a fresh set of power rankings. This series will rank the NFL teams from No. 32 down to No. 1 in terms of what they offer fantasy football owners.
We ran this series last summer, and like that inaugural series, we once again used a statistical approach to charting the teams in a bid to eliminate bias from the rankings. The rankings are based largely on PFF’s own player projections for 2015, though historical data from 2011-2014 is taken into account as well.
Also like last year’s series, the rankings assume a points-per-reception (PPR) league with a starting roster of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end and one flex. Kickers and defenses aren’t accounted for here, so Seattle gets no boost for their strong defense.
The top 156 fantasy players — including 24 quarterbacks, 48 running backs, 60 wide receivers and 24 tight ends — received a value grade based on their 2015 projections and the data collected from 2011-2014. This does not include every rosterable player, but we had to draw the line somewhere. With that said, these rankings do account for all players who are projected to be strong fantasy starters and backups.
After a tumultuous offseason that saw their most valuable fantasy asset (wideout Josh Gordon) get suspended (again), the Cleveland Browns rank dead last in the 2015 preseason fantasy power rankings. The Browns were No. 26 on last year’s preseason list, and finished the 2014 season as the No. 31 team in terms of fantasy production. They now have nowhere to go but up.
Cleveland offers fantasy owners just 37.7 percent as much value as the average NFL team, and 26.1 percent as much value as the NFL’s best fantasy factory.
The Browns currently offer fantasy owners nothing at the quarterback position. Sure, Johnny Manziel comes with some fantasy intrigue, but he’s not even in line to start for the Browns. And even if he were starting, he’s far from a no-brainer. Current starter Josh McCown shouldn’t tickle your fancy, either.
The team’s running backs — rookie Duke Johnson and second-year pro Isaiah Crowell — are the most valuable fantasy players on the roster. However, Johnson and Crowell will be competing for snaps, carries, and receptions with one another, with each severely limiting the other’s ceiling. Both project as tail-end flex options or backup running backs.
Cleveland running backs accounted for a total of 16 rushing touchdowns last season, a respectable amount. Additionally, both Crowell and Terrance West went for over 600 yards. Substitute Johnson in for West and we may see similar production in 2015. It’ll be hard to count on any Cleveland back on a consistent basis, but at least they won’t be total duds.
With the aforementioned Gordon sidelined this season, the Browns signed veteran wideout Dwayne Bowe to fill the void. If he puts up half the numbers Gordon is capable of in 16 games, the Browns would call it a huge win.
It’s hard to see Bowe producing even that much, however. He’s currently projected for about 50 receptions and just over 600 yards. That’s slightly below what he’s managed over the past three seasons, but it’s a reasonable expectation considering his new home. Those type of stats peg him as a backup wide receiver and fill-in flex option.
The Browns also have Andrew Hawkins. He isn’t projected as a top-60 wide receiver right now, so he just missed out on being accounted for in these rankings. He’s worth a mention, but it should be noted that even if Hawkins did make the cut, the Browns would only move up one slot — to No. 31 — in the rankings.
And that’s all Cleveland really offers fantasy owners this year. With no quarterback or tight end worth rostering, two running backs that will compete with each other, and a wide receiver (or two, if we’re being generous) that will fill in empty flex spots on occasion, it’s no wonder the Browns are dead last on the 2015 preseason fantasy power rankings.