Football season is just flying by. The high school season is in week nine here in Ohio, the college teams are halfway through their season, and we’re in week seven of the NFL season already. As long as the games are still being played on the field, fantasy football is still in full-swing.
The Browns offense offers you a few options if you need a “bye-week” replacement, especially if you’re in a PPR league. Browns head coach Pat Shurmur (also the team’s “OC”) loves to pass the ball, and with a favorable match-up against the 19th ranked Seattle passing defense, you could find value in the likes of Colt McCoy, Mohammed Massaquoi, or Greg Little.
Cleveland’s star running back, Peyton Hillis, may, or may not, play today, meaning that the 30+ passing plays Coach Shurmur had originally planned for the Browns offense today, will probably be closer 40-45 in the end. (The coaching staff seems to be a little too overconfident in Montario Hardesty, and the Seahawks rank 4th against the run anyway.)
So here’s how I think a few of the Browns players will project fantasy-wise against an average Seattle Seahawks team.
Colt McCoy, Quarterback
Recommendation: If you missed out on the Tim Tebow sweepstakes and need a “Bye Week”, stop-gap QB to get you through this week, McCoy is certainly worth a look. McCoy is likely to throw the ball 40+ times, especially if Peyton Hillis doesn’t play or is ineffective. Though McCoy has struggled somewhat with his accuracy, he’s thrown only 3 INT’s all season (never more than one in a game, and has 8 TDs). He has a favorable match-up against the Seahawks’ 19th ranked pass defense, and is a “catch-and-release” type player, at a minimum, if you’re not looking for a weekly starter.
BrownsGab Stat Projection: 267 yards 3 touchdowns 1 interception; 33 rush yards
Mohammed Massaquoi, Wide Receiver
Recommendation: “MoMass”, as his teammates call him, has quietly had a solid year for the Browns. His lowest season output was in week two against the Colts when he recorded just 3 receptions for 45 yards. He has touchdowns in two of his last three games, and should find himself with favorable match-ups against a below-average Seattle secondary. Massaquoi may not get as many targets as Cleveland’s other receiver, Greg Little, but if I know Coach Shurmur, and I think I do, there will be plenty of opportunities for not only MoMass, but everyone else on offense.
BrownsGab Stat Projection: 4 catches 68 yards 1 touchdown
Greg Little, Wide Receiver
Recommendation: A favorable match-up against a shaky Seattle secondary, coupled with the fact that Pat Shurmur wants to get Little more involved on offense – makes Little a nice starting option in deeper leagues, or need a flex player for the week. Most of McCoy’s passes are of the shortest-short range (i.e. short hitches, slants, screen passes, etc.), which will make the rookie a threat to break a long run with his YAC capability. I think Pat Shurmur is looking to let Josh Cribbs focus more on special teams, meaning that a lot of those plays called to get the ball to Cribbs in open-space (i.e. bubble screens), will now likely go to Little. Worth a start in any league, especially in PPR leagues. At a minimum I think Little gets you 10 points.
BrownsGab Stat Projection: 5 catches 83 yards 1 touchdown
Ben Watson, Tight End
Recommendation: I really feel that this is the game Coach Shurmur comes out on aggressive on offense. They need to start the game faster, as they’ve scored only 3 points in the 1st Qtr. all season. If my theory holds true (though not likely), Watson will be one of McCoy’s top three targets after MoMass and Little. Watson was the team’s leading receiver a year ago, but has been relatively quiet so far this season. McCoy loves to throw short passes, where Watson is very effective as a receiver. Cleveland’s other tight end, Evan Moore, is more likely to get the targets in the red zone, Watson will be on the field more often than not. If you’re in a deep PPR league Watson is worth a shot, otherwise you maybe look at him in the flex – if you’re in a league that allows such (I am.). He wouldn’t be my last choice to fill-in for a “Bye Week”, either>
BrownsGab Stat Projection: 3 catches 59 yards
Evan Moore, Tight End
Recommendation: Very rarely do teams have two (somewhat) fantasy-worthy tight ends, but the Browns just might. Moore has been anything but quiet when it comes to his thoughts on the Browns offense. He views himself as one of the team’s best playmakers and deserves more than what he’s getting – and he’s right. Shurmur has a lot of options with Moore. Because of Moore’s size (6’6, 250 lbs) he can be split-out wide, in the slot, etc. The number of targets he gets outside of the red zone, depends on how Shurmur decides to use him. If he keeps him in his typical tight end position, he won’t see much action until the red zone. If Shurmur gets creative with Moore, he could have an extraordinary day in the fantasy world. Watson is likely to get the yardage and the catches, but Moore is likely to get the red zone looks.
BrownsGab Stat Projection: 3 catches 47 yards 1 touchdown
Browns Running Backs – Don’t Even Think About It
– Peyton Hillis is a game-time decision, but even if he starts I don’t think I’d start him. He’s hampered by injuries and mental fatigue, and Shurmur doesn’t utilize him properly anyway. If Hillis doesn’t go, Montario Hardesty will get the start. Hardesty has a severe case of the “dropsies”, so he doesn’t contribute much to the passing game either. Add the fact that the Seahawks have the 4th best run defense to Hardesty’s drop problems, and you have a player that’s only to be used incase of emergencies.
Player to Watch…Maybe
The Browns didn’t make any last minute trades just before the trade deadline, but they did add Chris Ogbonnaya to their roster, claiming him off the Houston Texans’ practice squad. It’s a long shot that Ogbonnaya will be effective in just his first game with his new team, but Ogbonnaya could potentially see touches near the goal-line if Hillis sits out. He’s not worth a start this week (unless you’re that desperate), but if the stars align right, he could earn a few fantasy points for someone.