Fantasy football: Browns trade for new-look offense

The Cleveland Browns started Friday just like any other day, but ended it with a new look to the offense.

The Browns traded for Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry to help their passing attack and breathe life into their last-place scoring offense. The addition of those pieces can lead to bigger things down the road.

In Taylor you have a capable dual threat at quarterback, who isn’t a stranger to QB1 status in favorable weeks. In Landry you have one of the best, if not flashy, receivers in the league. He led the NFL with 112 receptions and scored nine touchdowns last season with downright bad quarterback play.

FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2015 file photo, Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) dives for the first down marker during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert, File)

Though Taylor passed for just 187 yards per game last season, he added 427 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground. Outside of LeSean McCoy, he didn’t have a lot of help in terms of pass catchers. Taylor’s fantasy value could increase with the trade. He’s definitely an upgrade over DeShone Kizer at this point.

The addition of Taylor and Landry to the offense not only changes their own fantasy value, but it could drastically affect the skill players already on the Browns.

Josh Gordon looks serious about turning his career around and caught 18 passes in five games for 335 yards and a score to end last season. If he gets together with Taylor soon, they could develop enough chemistry to make a big impact next season. The 26-year-old has a decent amount of quality years left if he can stay on the straight and narrow.

Second-year tight end David Njoku could provide a nice outlet for Taylor. As a rookie, Njoku caught 32 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns. With Gordon and Landry on the outside, Njoku has potential for a breakout year.

An upgraded passing attack can do a lot to relieve the pressure on the running game, a running game that could feature the exceptionally talented Saquon Barkley should the Browns take the Penn State product with their first pick. The offensive line for Cleveland is actually one of their few strengths, so it’s easy to see why Friday’s moves got the league’s attention.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Friday, March 2, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

A lot of NFL players took notice as news of the trades broke. You can’t help but wonder if top free agents took notice as well. Could Kirk Cousins actually start taking the Browns seriously now that they have some real receiving threats? Is Taylor just an insurance policy if Cleveland doesn’t land this season’s free agency big fish? Time will tell. With the new additions, free agency and five of the top 65 picks in the draft, it looks like the Browns might finally have their ducks in a row.

Fantasy football Week 4 preview

Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.

Each week this space will be dedicated to whom you should start or sit for your coming fantasy matchups.

Starts

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins — The Browns have given up at least 270 yards passing, 80 yards rushing and 25 points in every game this season. Cousins has had two good games in a row and should keep it rolling Sunday.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers — He failed to throw a touchdown pass last weekend, but he gets to face the Saints’ woeful defense. In fact, Rivers should be good to go for two straight weeks since he faces the Raiders in Week 5.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Theo Riddick and/or Dwayne Washington, RB, Lions — They’ll face a Bears defense that gave up 140 yards to Ezekiel Elliott and three rushing touchdowns to three other Cowboys on Sunday night. There’s running room enough for both Lions to be productive.

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints — Owners breathed a sigh of relief last weekend when he finally found the end zone. He faces the Chargers’ defense, which is 26th-worst in points allowed to running backs.

Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks — Though he faces a tough matchup in the Jets, he’s the main man right now, with Thomas Rawls out because of an injury. Volume of carries alone could make him worth the start.

Seattle Seahawks' Christine Michael carries against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Seattle Seahawks’ Christine Michael carries against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs — You’ll have to keep an eye on this one before kickoff. Jamaal Charles is listed as questionable, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Charles was expected to make his debut Sunday night. If he’s out or limited, Ware gets to face a Steelers defense that is 28th in points allowed to running backs.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts — He’s likely to continue to play well against a Jaguars defense that has given up six touchdown passes and ranks 21st in points allowed to wideouts.

Travis Benjamin, WR, Chargers — He and Rivers should connect well against the Saints, who are 24th in points allowed to wide receivers.

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns — He’s been doing it all for Cleveland, and he should continue to make an impact against the Redskins, who struggle against wideouts.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) runs the ball during an NFL football gamea, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) runs the ball during an NFL football gamea, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Zach Miller, TE, Bears — He had good numbers in a losing effort last week, and he gets to face the Lions, who are last in points allowed to tight ends.

Sits

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets — The Jets’ play-caller was spectacularly bad last week against the Chiefs, throwing six picks. Facing the Seahawks is not going to help him get back into a groove.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants — He faces a Vikings defense that has five interceptions, 15 sacks and five forced fumbles this season. Minnesota’s great against the run, and if the Giants’ offense is one-dimensional, then Manning will suffer for it.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and Washington Redskins' Chris Baker (92) react after Manning threw an interception during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and Washington Redskins’ Chris Baker (92) react after Manning threw an interception during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders — Unfortunately he’s not the workhorse owners were thinking he’d be, as some carries go to Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington. Will he score a TD for a fourth straight week? Probably not.

Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets — With Eric Decker out, he’s the No. 2 wideout on the team, but he faces a tough Seahawks pass defense.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers — Don’t be asleep at the wheel. Le’Veon Bell is back, so put Williams on your bench.

Tajae Sharpe, WR, Titans — He let me down last week in a good matchup, despite getting plenty of targets, so he’ll have to earn my trust again. He probably won’t do that this week against the Texans.