Fantasy Football: Browns Offense Resurrected
To be honest, I would be lying if I didnt tell you I wasnt worried about the Browns offense this week.Brandon Weedenhas been bad all season, butJason Campbellwas absolutely brutal when taking the field in place ofJay Cutlerfor the Bears last season. As a matter of fact, he hasnt really resembled a quality NFL quarterback since 09 with the Redskins.
Josh Gordons value gets a boost with Jason Campbell behind center.Photo Credit:Erik Daniel Drost
The Browns went to Kansas City to face a Chiefs defense that ranked first in scoring defense and ninth in total defense in terms of total yardage allowed. Campbell went on to complete 22 of 36 for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns in what was the best performance by a Browns quarterback this season.
It was advisable to getJosh GordonandJordan Cameronout of your lineups if you had viable alternatives this week. Its now easy to see that Campbell will be just fine behind a solid Browns line that allowed just one sack against a Chiefs defense that led the league in sacks with 35.
There is no reason to go out and grab Campbell thinking he is the next messiah. There is plenty of reason to expect him to do a better job than Weeden with this offense, though. He is more accurate and doesnt do an impersonation of a statue in the pocket. Gordon and Cameron owners should breathe a sigh of relief, as they both have a much rosier outlook for the remainder of the season.
Its safe to say nothingCalvin Johnsondoes is a surprise. The guy is arguably the most gifted athlete in the NFL. His 14 grabs for 329 yards and a score were an absolute delight, though, as that yardage total was the second highest in league history. Over his last two games he has totaled 23 catches for 484 yards and three touchdowns. The obvious question is how is he doing this when everyone on the opposing defense knows where he is on the field? Then answer is crossing routes. Johnsons size makes him virtually un-coverable across the middle because of his ability to shield defenders away from the ball. If he catches the ball in stride he has the ability to outrun them. Thats one scary proposition. Detroits willingness to run him across the middle is going to open him up on the outside as well. He is just a thing of beauty to watch and a godsend for his Fantasy owners.
The aforementioned Calvin Johnson is going to get a great deal of press due to his performance, but the BengalsMarvin Joneswas no slouch, hauling in eight passes for 122 yards and four touchdowns against the Jets. Over his last three games, he has hauled in 15 passes for 250 yards and six scores.Mohamed Sanuhas started each of those games, but has been outperformed and seems very likely to lose his job. Starting oppositeA.J. Greenis a great thing, as it guarantees single coverage. Jones has proven quite capable of beating substandard corners. Because of this he needs to be added immediately in all leagues. The touchdowns will fall off, but if he continues seeing eight targets a game he will provide serviceable WR3 numbers in favorable matchups.
Rashard Mendenhalls toe injury kept him from suiting up in against Atlanta this week; ultimately, it should cost him his job.Andre Ellingtonrushed 15 times for 154 yards and a score and added two catches for another eight yards in the Cardinals victory over the Falcons. He ripped off a beautiful 80-yard touchdown run on a play in which he bounced a run outside and just blew past the entire defense. Mendenhall doesnt have that kind of play in his arsenal, and because of that I truly believe well see a change of guard in Arizona. The 4-4 Cardinals are right back in the thick of things in terms of a playoff berth, and feeding Ellington 20-plus touches a game gives this team their best chance at victory. He should be viewed as a RB2 moving forward in all 12-team leagues.
Darren McFaddenhad his best Fantasy output of the season, rushing for 73 yards on 24 carries while adding a pair of touchdowns. While his 3.0 yards-per-carry are nothing to write home about, he ran hard and looked explosive every time the ball touched his hands. Oaklands line play has been improved from last season. Couple that withTerrelle Pryors ability to use his legs and you have running lanes popping up for McFadden, something he hasnt seen since 2011. Priors continued development is going to go hand in hand with McFaddens success this season. From what I have seen, though, I like Run DMCs chances at putting together a nice second half of the season. Consider buying low now before he gets to face off against Philadelphia next week.
For a second straight week,Harry Douglashas been an absolute monster. A season ending foot injury toJulio Jonescoupled with ankle and hamstring injuries toRoddy Whitehave thrust him into the starting lineup, and he has responded in a big way. Over his last two games he has caught 19 passes for 270 yards and a score. Opposing defenses have chosen to focus all of their attention onTony Gonzalez,limiting him to just five catches for 56 yards over the same time span. Common sense tells me opposing defenses are now going to start showing Douglas some respect and I think it starts next week in Carolina. Douglas has earned must-start status, but its time to start tempering expectations. Teams now have enough incentive to game plan against him.
There comes a point in every season when benching a proven performer becomes necessary. That time has arrived for the SaintsMarques Colston. For the season, he has tallied 27 catches for 342 yards and a score. He ranks third on the team in both receiving yards and targets. His last three games have been brutal, as he has caught just six passes for 44 yards. His 40 targets on the season rank behind guys likeDavone Bess,Jason AvantandKris Durham. Colston no longer shows an ability to separate like he did earlier in his career. Because of this he just isnt anything more than a WR4.Jimmy Graham,Darren Sprolesand an emergingKenny Stillsare going to continue soaking up targets fromDrew Brees.Colston, acting as the WR1 for this team is going to face off against their opponents best corner, a situation in which he can no longer provide reliable production.
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