Browns Receivers
(Photo by Frank Jansky: Icon Sportswire)

Fantasy Owners Should Stay Away From Browns’ Receivers in 2021

The Cleveland Browns have finally found success. Kevin Stefanski looks like the coach of the future, the team’s running game is potent, and they addressed several holes on their defense this offseason. Included in their success is Odell Beckham Jr.’s return from an ACL injury, but fantasy owners should not even think about drafting the Browns’ receivers.

First, the Cleveland Browns are a running football team. Before coming to Cleveland, Stefanski was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings where he ran the ball to no end using Dalvin Cook. Stefanski has stayed true to that run-first identity in Cleveland, as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were both in the top 14 in attempts last season.

Additionally, the Browns had the fourth-highest rushing rate in 2020 at 47.78%, behind only Baltimore, New England, and Tennessee, and although Baker Mayfield threw for 3563 yards and 26 touchdowns, he ranked in the bottom ten in passing yards, completion percentage, and attempts. In short, this is a run-first and run-heavy offense.

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A big reason to stay away from Browns’ receivers is that they caught twelve total touchdowns in 2020. Jarvis Landry had three, Beckham had three, Rashard Higgins had four and Donovan Peoples-Jones had two. Davante Adams, Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill and Adam Thielen all had more touchdowns by themselves, not to mention the fact that Hunt actually led the team in receiving touchdowns with five.

Another area of concern is the lack of overall fantasy production from the Browns’ receivers. With an injury to OBJ last year, Jarvis Landry was the wide receiver number one, but he averaged a mere 7.7 fantasy points a game which ranked him 35th among receivers, despite football requiring 32 number one receivers by its very nature. In other words, Landry was outperformed not just by every number one receiver but also by number two options on some teams. Landry also only had five games with double-digit points. In seven games, Beckham averaged 9.1 fantasy points and if it were not for a 33 point day against the Cowboys, he would have averaged 5.07 points. With Beckham fully healthy again this season, the other Browns receivers should see their stats drop off even more.

Cleveland team loves running the football, and based on the Max Murphy eye test, Mayfield played worse with Beckham than without him. Be very wary drafting either Beckham or Landry high, as their bust potential is far greater than their chance to pop off. 

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