Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Augury, Chapter 15: Cleveland Johnny Footballs

QB:  I feel really bad from Brian Hoyer.  For just a couple of weeks in 2013, the was the darling of the NFL.  The hometown kid who grew up in the shadows of Cleveland's Municipal Stadium finally got the starting job for his childhood favorite team, the Browns.

He was everything Browns fans hoped Brady Quinn would be.

Hoyer was remarkable in his first two starts:  590 yards passing and five touchdowns.  Fantasy owners hit the waiver wire like drunks to an open bar.

Then disaster struck.  Hoyer ripped up his knee in his third start on Thursday Night Football.  Done for the year.  

It really sucked, because Hoyer has a TON of potential.

Then disaster struck Hoyer for the second time, with much longer-lasting implications than a pesky ACL injury: Johnny Football was drafted in the first round and is now the face of the franchise before ever playing a Brown down. 

Brandon Hoyer's days as a starter (at least in Cleveland) are on life support.  There is no doubt that rookie head coach Mike Pettine is already feeling the Tim Tebow Effect.

Johnny Manziel is an interesting character, but don't buy the baloney.  He's a rookie.  He's immature. And he probably should never have been a NFL first round pick.  He is a hype machine. He is a marketing toy.

He is not fantasy football material. Certainly not this year.

Am I being too harsh?  Time will tell.

But the result of all this chatter is this: I would steer clear of both Hoyer and Johnny Football for three reasons:

1. Hoyer won't start for long, and he does you no good as a back-up in the real world.
2. I'm not convinced Manziel is the second coming of Bernie Kosar.  I am definitely not going to wager my fantasy season on it.
3. The Browns have, perhaps, the most pathetic receiving corps in the league.

RB:  When the Browns signed Ben Tate in free agency, I thought it was a nice move.  Tate has had some starting experience in Houston and has had some success in that role.  In a perfect world, he goes to Cleveland, becomes the full time starter and rushes for 1,500 yards.  

In a perfect world.

His problem is that he always has a boo-boo.  He's always banged up (in fact, he was already gimpy at OTA's.  Not a good omen).  I am ranking Tate as third tier prospect, not because Dion Lewis is going to light anything up, but because the Browns are going to have difficulty keeping a certain rookie off the field.

That rookie's name is Terrance West, hailing from tiny Towson University, drafted in the third round.  And he ripped up FCS football during his career, setting league records for most rushing yards in a season (2,509) and most single season rushing touchdowns (41).  He also has the most single season freshman rushing touchdowns in the league and he was the winner of the Jerry Rice Award in FCS football. 

West has got size and speed.  He's the real deal.  And most likely he will get a lot of touches.  He's a third tier prospect for now, but he's got a bullet next to his name.

WR:  Josh Gordon proved he was among the best in the league last season.  Despite missing two games due to a failed drug test, he still led the league in receiving yards.  That's pretty remarkable.

Then in the offseason, he did what all knuckleheads do: he failed the same test twice.  

And for good measure, a few weeks later he was pulled over by police with a car full of marijuana.  Thankfully Gordon was driving and the pot belonged to the passenger of the vehicle. (whew, that was close!)

In other words, Gordon is toast.  And he's a moron.  I am assuming he will be suspended for the year.  

He is on his way to becoming a modern day David Boston.

This means Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, Nate Burleson and Travis Benjamin must pick up the slack.  This is about as bad as it gets, friends.  Out of respect to my loyal readers, let's move on.

TE:  But all is not lost on the shores of Lake Erie.  There is a silver lining here.  Jordan Cameron will see the ball early and often.  He came out of thin air last year with 80 catches, 917 yards and seven touchdowns.  Those are very impressive numbers.

Considering the Browns do not have much anything for wide receivers and the fact that they will most likely have a rookie quarterback under center for most of the year, Cameron could be in for a 100+ catch, 1,000+ yard season.  He's a top five tight end and deserves to be among the first four tight ends picked.

Best Regards!
That Damn Sam
"Fantasy Football for the Forsaken Few!"