by Nick Ercolano
March 10, 2018
What's crackin, you know ya boy had to take a crack at all these transactional exchanges the Cleveland Browns made over the last 24 hours. The Browns traded for former Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry, formers Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, former Green Bay Packers CB Damarious Randall. Under new GM John Dorsey, looks like they're trying to do tings a little differently in Cleveland going forward. We're going to break down each one of these moves and their impact on the 2018 fantasy football landscape.
You can check out the YouTube video of this topic here!
As of today (3/10), the Browns offense looks like this:
QB - Tyrod Taylor
RB - Duke Johnson
WR1 - Josh Gordon
WR2 - Jarvis Landry
TE - David Njoku
They have the 1st, 4th, 33rd, 35th and 64th overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft along with 5 more picks in Rounds 3-7.
The god was not only underutilized but disrespected in Buffalo, it was only a matter of time before he was gone. So, they shipped him to Cleveland in exchange for the 65th overall pick.
Coach Hue Jackson said he didn't want to start a rookie QB in Week 1... He wasn't lyin. Taylor now has EASILY the best group of weapons on an offense he's had in his career between Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, and both former first-round picks Corey Coleman and David Njoku.
Taylor will bring a new angle to this offense. One that doesn't include turning the ball over 3-9 times a game. He's been one of the league's best at not turning the ball over over the last few years. From 2015-2017 he's posted a 51-16 TD-to-INT ratio (65-21 if you include rushing TDs and fumble lost).
His efficiency is there, but the problem with Taylor, or why people are still skeptical about him, is that we haven't seen him keep efficiency while boasting big volume through the air. He's yet to throw the ball more than 437 times in a season or throw for 3,100 passing yards. I think he would have done it had his top two receiving weapons, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods not been given away last offszn AND Charles Clay being hurt most of the szn. I'm not sure any QB has had to make more with nothing than Taylor has over the last couple of years.
I'm excited to see him be able to start fresh. He loves to chuck the ball downfield, something that was taken away from him when Sammy Watkins was taken away. He'll get that back and more with Josh Gordon.
A big piece of this offense's success will lie in the offensive line. They were super hyped heading into last szn before ultimately disappointing following Joe Thomas' injury. Football Outsiders has them finish as the league's 22nd best pass-blocking line. They do still boast one of the top guard duos in the NFL in Kevin Zeitler and Joe Bitonio. Joe Thomas is 50/50 on coming back and retirement, the decision is supposed to come within the next week or two. I'm expecting these moves to have a big impact on his decision and it would be a major upgrade to the offensive line if he returns to watch TyGod's backside.
Does this make Tyrod a draftable fantasy QB again? Sure. If you were willing to draft him in any of the previous few seasons on the Bills, there's little reason to fight that notion now that he has much better weapons.
The more interesting part here I think is now what does CLV do in the draft. Again, they have the 1 & 4 picks. I absolutely think they still go with a QB with one of those two picks. Taylor's contract is only for one year so I expect them to draft a guy for the future, and if Taylor doesn't work out this year, they could always throw him into the lineup. Does this mean Barkley at 1?? I don't know, but I still don't think so. Their offense is looking good right now, so I'm not sure he should be their top priority while they have a ton of other needs. After these moves they're still 2nd in the NFL with most money left under their cap, only behind the Jets so their still very well could be more free agency moves in their future.
This is where things get interesting because Landry has been such a consistent fantasy producer over the last few years in Miami. He's averaged over 100 catches and 1,000 yards in his first 4 NFL szns. He's also the only player ever to catch more than 100 passes and finish with less than 1,000 yards (987 - 2017), but that's neither here nor there. They shipped him off, after signing his franchise chicken tender, to the tune of $16-Million for a 4th and 7th round pick.
He was a HUGE part of the passing game for the Dolphins obviously, he had nearly a 28% target share in 2017 (of aimed passes). That number was almost identical in 2016 too. It's hard to imagine him getting those types of targets in Cleveland with all of the other weapons there. If they don't go with Barkley, Duke Johnson will remain a huge piece of this offense, while the two will be fighting for the same targets. The highest target total another player on the Dolphins had from either 2016 or 2017 was Kenny Stills last year with 101 or (18%). I'd think Josh Gordon will see somewhere in the 22-26% target share range.
Looking back over the last five weeks of 2017, following Gordon's return he saw 41-of-154 targets in that span, or 26.6%. The rest were as follows:
Duke Johnson - 28 (18.1%)
Corey Coleman - 23 (15%)
Rashard Higgins + Ricardo Louis (slot guys) - 15 total (9.7%)
Looking at games that Landry played with Devante Parker on the field in 2017 we see about the same production in terms of fantasy but almost THREE more targets per game, and .15 TDs more.
I personally think the moves hurts both Landry and Coleman for fantasy football. There's no way we can expect a statistical breakout for Corey Coleman now that he's fighting for targets with Flash and Landry. I'm still perfectly fine taking Gordon at his ADP of 38-40, and I think it might even be a good thing since people will be down on him saying that he has to share more targets, but he'll get his, them two don't share the same targets.
I'm looking at Landry as more of a mid-low WR2 in PPR now as opposed to the WR1 he finished as in 2017.
Just two years (2015) removed from being Green Bay's 1st round selection in the NFL Draft, Randall has been extremely inconsistent, flashing his ceiling but also his floor on any given Sunday.
The Browns boast a strong secondary now between Jason McCourty and Briean Boddy-Calhoun who both finished as top-27 CBs per PFF, along with adding Randall to the mix.
It's possible that he's in for a position swap considering he played safety in college.
This is easy. The Browns destroyed this kids development and confidence in Cleveland under Hue Jackson. What people saw in him as a prospect was a raw talent with a TON of arm strength, but needed time to get to know his system and develop better techniques at the position. There probably wasn't a better place in the NFL for him to land than Green Bay considering Aaron Rodgers is only 34 so he has another 3-4 years in the league at a minimum. Kizer's a long-term project that could pay heavy upside to the Packers franchise down the line.
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