It’s looking more and more likely that Jacoby Brissett will be doing most of the quarterbacking in Cleveland. Maybe all of it. And that should have everyone wary of counting on much from that team’s pass catchers.
Reports suggest the league is nearing a decision on a suspension of Deshaun Watson, and that they’re shooting for a full season. Watson’s side will get their say, of course, but at this point it seems optimistic that he will play even half the season.
With the relationship with Baker Mayfield damaged beyond repair, it should be Brissett starting for most of the season, and that likely means the Browns will again have a lesser passing attack. Cleveland has ranked 27th in passing in each of the last two seasons, with Kevin Stefanski emphasizing the run.
Brissett has averaged only 202 passing yards in his 35 starts as a pro, with 36 touchdowns.
The Browns last year averaged only 213 passing yards, and with just 21 TDs. Brissett started 15 games in both 2017 and 2019. If we use those three seasons as a template, I see only one wide receiver who finished with top-50 numbers (using PPR scoring). That would be T.Y. Hilton, who in 2017 was the 27th-best wide receiver, catching 57 passes for 966 yards and 4 TDs.
In my opinion, nobody should be selecting Amari Cooper with the hope he might put up top-15 numbers. That’s not happening.
If there’s a serviceable pass catcher on this roster, it’s more likely to be David Njoku. In Brissett’s two seasons as a starter with the Colts, he had a tendency to dump off the ball to tight ends. He’s an Alex Smith type quarterback, with an emphasis on protecting the ball by settling for safer, check-down throws. Jack Doyle caught 80 passes back in 2017, and in the 2019 season, Doyle and Eric Ebron combined for 74 receptions. Njoku could fill that kind of role.
Below are the pass catchers from those three seasons. The best ones have been tight ends. Doyle ranked 6th using PPR scoring in 2017, and four others have ranked 16th to 27th. I’m not promising top-10 production from Njoku, but I think he makes some sense as a second guy in a typical fantasy league.
|LOOKING IFFY IN CLEVELAND|
|2017||TE||Jack Doyle, Ind.||80||690||4||173.0||6|
|2019||TE||Jack Doyle, Ind.||43||448||4||111.8||16|
|2021||TE||David Njoku, Cle.||36||475||4||107.6||22|
|2021||TE||Austin Hooper, Cle.||38||345||3||92.5||24|
|2019||TE||Eric Ebron, Ind.||31||375||3||86.5||27|
|2017||WR||T.Y. Hilton, Ind.||57||966||4||177.6||27|
|2021||TE||Harrison Bryant, Cle.||21||233||3||62.3||39|
|2021||WR||Jarvis Landry, Cle.||52||570||4||137.0||52|
|2019||WR||Zach Pascal, Ind.||41||607||5||135.3||53|
|2019||WR||T.Y. Hilton, Ind.||45||501||5||125.1||57|
|2021||WR||D. Peoples-Jones, Cle.||34||597||3||111.7||63|
|2017||TE||Brandon Williams, Ind.||13||121||0||25.1||70|
|2019||TE||Mo Alie-Cox, Ind.||8||93||0||17.3||79|
|2017||WR||Donte Moncrief, Ind.||26||391||2||77.1||82|
|2019||TE||Ross Travis, Ind.||4||51||0||9.1||91|
|2017||TE||Darrell Daniels, Ind.||3||26||0||5.6||98|
|2017||WR||Chester Rogers, Ind.||23||284||1||58.2||100|
|2019||WR||Marcus Johnson, Ind.||17||277||2||56.7||103|
|2021||WR||Rashard Higgins, Cle.||24||275||1||57.5||114|
|2019||WR||Chester Rogers, Ind.||16||179||2||47.7||114|
|2019||WR||Parris Campbell, Ind.||18||127||1||40.1||121|
|2017||WR||Kamar Aiken, Ind.||15||133||0||28.3||131|
|2021||WR||Anthony Schwartz, Cle.||10||135||1||33.4||138|
|2017||WR||Quan Bray, Ind.||3||39||0||6.9||175|
|2021||WR||JaMarcus Bradley, Cle.||4||64||0||10.4||177|
|2019||WR||Devin Funchess, Ind.||3||32||0||6.2||181|
|2017||WR||Matt Hazel, Ind.||1||1||0||1.1||200|
|2019||WR||Ashton Dulin, Ind.||2||17||0||3.7||201|