Top 5 Cleveland Browns to Target and Avoid in 2021 Fantasy Football Drafts

Top 5 Cleveland Browns to Target and Avoid in 2021 Fantasy Football Drafts

Cole Paganelli
3 years ago
3 min read
Top 5 Cleveland Browns to Target and Avoid in 2021 Fantasy Football Drafts

Here are five players on the Browns to either target or avoid in your upcoming fantasy baseball draft.

1. TARGET - RB Nick Chubb

With a second straight 1,000-yard season on the ground, Chubb has asserted himself as one of the best pure running backs in the NFL. As he now enters his fourth year in the NFL, Cleveland’s lead back should be strongly looked at if you’re picking in the mid-to-late first round.

If there is one thing that prevents Chubb from being in the same club as guys like Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook, it’s his overall lack of involvement in the passing game. However, the Browns will still feed him the ball plenty of times, evident by how he ran for over 1,000 yards in just 12 games.

Running behind an elite o-line in an offense that should accrue plenty of scoring opportunities gives Chubb enough value to warrant solid first-round consideration.

2. AVOID - WR Odell Beckham Jr.

As far as Beckham Jr. goes, the talented wide receiver shouldn’t be entirely avoided in drafts. However, after playing in just seven games and mustering up a total of 319 yards, OBJ simply isn’t the WR1 he once was in fantasy football.

When Beckham was on the field last season, he only got 10 targets in a game once; Week 1 against the Ravens, in which Cleveland lost by 32 points. In fact, in his entire Browns career, the eight-year vet has eclipsed 100 receiving yards just twice, topping out at 81 yards last season.

While investing a mid-round pick in Beckham and banking on upside might not be a bad idea, it’s clear that he is not as valuable of a fantasy option as some people still believe him to be.

3. TARGET - TE Austin Hooper

Hooper’s first season in Cleveland didn’t go as many had hoped, as the former Falcon rangled in just 435 receiving yards and four touchdowns. However, the sixth-year tight end presents an interesting buy-low option for someone who isn’t far removed from being a solid TE1 in fantasy.

In the first few games in Cleveland, Hooper was only getting anywhere from 2-4 targets a game. However, his chemistry with Baker Mayfield got better as the year went on, and as a result, we saw him get as many as 15 targets near the end of the season. He also became a much better red-zone target later in the year, earning three of his four TDs in his final five games.

There are a lot of mouths to feed at tight end with Harrison Bryant and David Njoku also returning. Still, Hooper easily has the most upside of the three, making him a good backup tight end to target in drafts that should be able to out-perform his selection.

4. AVOID - QB Baker Mayfield

Mayfield is coming off of a season where he threw 26 touchdowns, a career-low eight interceptions, and guided the Browns to an 11-5 record. However, despite being surrounded by a plethora of weapons, the quarterback’s fantasy ceiling limits him to being a solid backup option at best.

It’s no secret that the Browns will rely heavily on the run game once again, which right off the bat will keep Mayfield from running a pass-heavy offense. The fourth-year QB had just two games in the regular season where he threw for more than two touchdowns, and also two games where he threw for over 300 yards.

Even if you’re looking at Baker as a QB2, there are other signal-callers in that same range who are likelier to play bigger roles in the offense from a fantasy perspective.

5. TARGET - RB Kareem Hunt (PPR only)

For fantasy purposes, Hunt is a player worth targeting only if the situation is right. But if your league takes points-per-receptions into consideration, Hunt’s usage in the passing game makes him a potential RB2 or a strong flex option.

Hunt was able to benefit last season from Chubb missing about a quarter of the season, running for 841 yards and six touchdowns. But all year, he provided a decent receiving option for Mayfield out of the backfield, racking up over 300 yards with an additional five TDs. Most of those receiving scores came early on in the year too, when Chubb was also available.

Hunt showed last season that he has immense fantasy value whether he’s sharing time with Chubb or not, making him a player worth considering in the middle of your draft.

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