• Inside the Locker Room
With Pat McManamon of Fox Sports Ohio
What does a healthy Montario Hardesty mean for Peyton Hillis?
Hillis was one of the surprise players in the NFL in 2010, but he was a favorite of former head coach Eric Mangini, and though he’ll be utilized a lot with new head coach Pat Shurmur, it’s not likely he’ll carry as large a burden in this offense. In ’10, Hillis outgained the team’s second-leading rusher by 1,000 yards, and the guy who ranked second was a quarterback. Shurmur will try to spread the ball around more, and Hillis will share carries more with Hardesty. It’s still likely that Hillis will get 1,000 yards rushing — provided he stays healthy — but Hardesty will get 12-to-15 carries per game in spelling him.
Which Browns pass-catcher will be targeted the most in 2011?
The Browns do not have a reliable pass-catcher. Their wideouts are unproven, and their tight ends are serviceable but not dangerous down the field. That being said, the tight end might just be the top target of Colt McCoy. Young quarterbacks need security blankets, and Ben Watson provides that with his experience and hands. That does not bode well for the Browns offense, but with Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs and Greg Little at wideout, McCoy may have to look more at tight end than he does at wide receiver.
Is McCoy going to start all season?
Yes, provided he’s healthy. The Browns have committed to McCoy, and they are hoping he comes through. Seneca Wallace is the backup, and as a starter in 2010, Wallace proved he was a solid backup. McCoy led all offseason workouts during the lockout, and he spoke and acted as if he were the anointed starter.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: @PIT, @ARI, @BAL
The Browns are the only team with three road games in the fantasy playoffs, with trips to Pittsburgh, Arizona and Baltimore. Cleveland’s strength — it’s rushing attack — will face the No. 1 (Steelers) and No. 5 run (Ravens) defenses in the league during this stretch. Not a good omen for owners of Peyton Hillis and/or Montario Hardesty.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Montario Hardesty, RB
Deep-Sleeper: Evan Moore, TE/WR
Overvalued: Peyton Hillis, RB
Top Rookie: Greg Little, WR
Bounce-Back: D’Qwell Jackson, LB
Top IDP: T.J. Ward, DB
• Try to Avoid
Brian Robiskie’s had trouble adjusting to NFL schemes, and Mohamed Massaquoi has underachieved since high school. Rookie Greg Little has plenty of upside, but he’s still catching passes from Colt McCoy.
WAIT UNTIL: 20th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The Browns have spent a couple of picks over the last few years to upgrade the receiving corps, but Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie have yet to pan out. Little did not play due to a suspension at North Carolina last season, but he has the ability to become a difference-maker. However, even though the Browns have a thin receiving corps, Little is only a WR5 in redraft leagues. Jordan Cameron is an intriguing upside pick at tight end for Cleveland but is a year or two away from earning a consistent role.
More Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs
2 011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
2 011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams