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.

2017TEJack Doyle, Ind.806904173.06
2019TEJack Doyle, Ind.434484111.816
2021TEDavid Njoku, Cle.364754107.622
2021TEAustin Hooper, Cle.38345392.524
2019TEEric Ebron, Ind.31375386.527
2017WRT.Y. Hilton, Ind.579664177.627
2021TEHarrison Bryant, Cle.21233362.339
2021WRJarvis Landry, Cle.525704137.052
2019WRZach Pascal, Ind.416075135.353
2019WRT.Y. Hilton, Ind.455015125.157
2021WRD. Peoples-Jones, Cle.345973111.763
2017TEBrandon Williams, Ind.13121025.170
2019TEMo Alie-Cox, Ind.893017.379
2017WRDonte Moncrief, Ind.26391277.182
2019TERoss Travis, Ind.45109.191
2017TEDarrell Daniels, Ind.32605.698
2017WRChester Rogers, Ind.23284158.2100
2019WRMarcus Johnson, Ind.17277256.7103
2021WRRashard Higgins, Cle.24275157.5114
2019WRChester Rogers, Ind.16179247.7114
2019WRParris Campbell, Ind.18127140.1121
2017WRKamar Aiken, Ind.15133028.3131
2021WRAnthony Schwartz, Cle.10135133.4138
2017WRQuan Bray, Ind.33906.9175
2021WRJaMarcus Bradley, Cle.464010.4177
2019WRDevin Funchess, Ind.33206.2181
2017WRMatt Hazel, Ind.1101.1200
2019WRAshton Dulin, Ind.21703.7201

—Ian Allan