The Cleveland Browns kickoff their preseason this Thursday night against the New York Giants. The first two picks of the 2018 NFL Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley will take center stage which means it should be an exciting game no matter who has the ball. More importantly, we finally get to see some of the new pieces for the Browns play and see what the Browns and offensive coordinator Todd Haley plan to do with them. Keep in mind that in the first preseason game most starters only play one series just as a warm up, so this will be more about the players lower on the depth chart. On a team with lots of new players signed and drafted, this is what you want to see.
Start Time: 7:00 P.M
Venue: MetLife Stadium
Expected Weather at Kickoff: 82°, Mostly Sunny
The Browns will be bringing in three new players at the position in Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, and Drew Stanton. There are two things to watch for during the game. One, how will the chemistry Taylor and Jarvis Landry have been working on after practices and translate to in-game action. Secondly, how does Baker handle his first NFL experience? It will be interesting to see how his accuracy and decision making comes over from the college game. He shined in those categories, boasting a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a 68.5 completion percentage.
Just like at quarterback, the Browns have a couple new faces in town. Local Ohio State product Carlos Hyde and rookie Nick Chubb bring depth to the position was headlined by Duke Johnson last year who finished as the RB12 in PPR. This is the position which will impact fantasy most this year because of the three-headed monster they have. There is a case for each player to have significant playing time when the season rolls around. It will come down to who can make the most plays for the team, that's who will get the bulk of carries. Will it be Hyde turning small plays into big gains? Will Chubb show the physical style everyone has been talking about in camp? Or will it be Duke lining up at slot like he wants and being explosive there? It will be interesting though if the Browns play around with Johnson in the slot of early, as reports out of camp are stating he wanted to play there after moving Landry outside.
This a position group which would be a lot more fun to watch if Josh Gordon was paying but he remains away from the team for now. Thankfully there is a headline that makes things interesting, they bring in a new top receiver in Jarvis Landry who is not only switching teams but receiver roles. He will be seeing more reps on the outside than from the slot potentially this upcoming season. They also have rookie Antonio Calloway who should make some noise, on the field this time. The rookie comes in with lots of hype after showing playmaking skills with both Taylor and Mayfield. He was able to make plays by stretching the field at receiver and by being explosive on kickoff and punt returns.. An X-Factor to watch out for with Corey Coleman now gone is Jeff Janis, who was signed away from Green Bay this offseason. While I don’t expect much fantasy value, unless he fills in Colemans spot, he is worth watching to see where they put him in the lineup and rep wise.
The obvious player to watch for here is David Njoku, but there is one other player to at the position and that's veteran Seth DeValve. He sporadically stole touchdowns in 2017 from Njoku it will be interesting to see if he remains a nuisance to that effect. He has some value in very deep tight end premium leagues if he continues that role in the red zone.
Stay tuned in for more pieces covering training camp and all things Browns fantasy related both here and on twitter @DynastyHHPod and @DHH_Mandrew.