Cleveland Browns Team Profile 2016

Cleveland Browns Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

You have to hand it to Browns fans…..year after year their drafts are bad, their NFL seasons are bad and often their player’s off-the-field headlines are bad, but the fans remain loyal and the dog pound comes out regardless. The Brown’s first round picks have been so ugly, they make onions cry. ( Cleveland Drafts ) The NFL thrives on good competition,and so does fantasy football, so everyone is hoping ( or should be) that new HC Hue Jackson and the Browns turn it around in 2016, with a solid NFL Draft in April, and a strong team on the field in September. (For more “so ugly” jokes- LINK-)

2016 Team Outlook– The Cleveland Browns are in the AFC North Division with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. ( Prior to 2002, the Browns were in the AFC Central Division- LINK- ) Since joining the AFC North, the Browns have never won the division, and have only had two winning seasons in those 14 years. Desperate to address organizational chaos, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam reached into the world of baseball analytics and hired Paul DePodesta of Moneyball fame to reshape the woeful Cleveland franchise. With a 3-13 season record in 2015, the Browns currently have the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

In Utter-Fantasy’s Chicago Bears Team Profile, I wrote….”Fantasy football owners are not dependent on winning seasons from NFL teams, to get great fantasy football players.” This could not be more true, especially in regards to the Cleveland Browns. In 2013 when the Browns went 4-12, CLEV WR Josh Gordon was the #1 wide receiver in the NFL. TE Gary Barnidge was a fantasy stud in 2015, and projects to be one again in 2016.

QB– Josh McCown, J Manziel, Austin Davis, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye…16 starting quarterbacks for the Cleveland Browns in the past 10 years. Of course the Browns will draft yet another young quarterback, and unfortunately there’s no time to spend a year holding a clipboard anymore to learn the NFL, before being thrown right in. UPDATE: Robert Griffin III signed 2-year deal w/ CLEV.

RBs-  Even with the RBBC approach in Cleveland and playing on a bad team, RB Isaiah Crowell has made the most of his situation, ranking #29 RB in the NFL for 2015. The Brown’s wasted a 3rd Round selection in 2014 on Terrance West, but they rebounded in Round 4 in 2015 with a solid running back in Duke Johnson, who ranked #37 RB last season. (Cleveland’s 2015 NFL Draft)

WRs– March 24th, 2015- A two-year contract worth $12.5 million with $9 million guaranteed and a $3.5 million signing bonus-UGH!! That’s what the Browns’ gave up for WR Dwayne Bowe. And what did they get for it so far? 5 receptions for 53 yards. … $1.6 million dollars a reception in 2015. Meanwhile, WR Josh Gordon is waiting patiently to be reinstated and the Brown’s will be smart to keep him. Gordon has kept himself out of trouble, which is finally some good news for Cleveland. WR Travis Benjamin is a free agent. UPDATE: Travis Benjamin signed with San Diego.

TEs– Did You Know- CLEV’s start TE Gary Barnidge was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft? Barnidge played in all 16 games in 2105, he ended the season as the #3 TE in the NFL, with 79 receptions, 1043 receiving yards and 9 TDs.

K– Travis Coons played college football at the University of Washington and was signed by the Browns on December 30, 2014, following the release of Billy Cundiff. During the 2015 preseason, Coons beat out Carey Spear for the starting kicker job.

DEF- According to the “Footballoutsiders website” for 2015, The Browns had the 4th worst defense in the NFL- ranking 27th vs the pass, and 26th vs the run. Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson announced that Ray Horton will rejoin the team as defensive coordinator. Horton has been an NFL defensive coordinator the past five seasons, including the 2013 season when he served as the Browns defensive coordinator. ( NFL.com article )

2015 Cleveland Fantasy Surprises– TE Gary Barnidge’s 9 TDs were 4th best in the among NFL tight ends, only Gronk, WASH Jordan Reed and CIN Tyler Eifert had more. Rookie RB Duke Johnson ranked as the #37 RB last season, with 379 rushing yards, but surprised many with his 534 receiving yards ( 5th best among running backs) along with 2 receiving touchdowns.

2016 Free Agents that Cleveland Needs to Address–  WR Travis Benjamin, WR Terrelle Pryor, RT Mitchell Schwartz, FS Tashaun Gipson, ILB Craig Robertson, T/G Austin Pasztor, CB Johnson Bademosi, ILB Tank Carder, C Alex Mack

2016 NFL Draft– Maybe Cleveland takes page out of the Oakland’s Drafting handbook and waits until Round 2 for a quarterback. In 2014, while Cleveland spent a 1st round pick on Manziel, the Raider’s waited until Round 2 and got Derek Carr, who is still their starting quarterback. Even if WR WR gordon is reinstated, the Browns need help at wide receiver. Other needs: Cornerback, safety, outside linebacker and O-line reinforcements.

Did You Know– In 1963, Jim Brown became the first Browns player to ever gain more than 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game? Jim Brown rushed for more 100 yard games than any other player during the 1960s with 39. Also, Jim Brown also holds the Browns team mark for most 100 yard games at 58.

Team home page: www.clevelandbrowns.com

All team reports can be seen here- TEAM REPORTS

Cincinnati Bengals Team Profile 2016

Cincinnati Bengals Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Marvin Lewis is one of the head coaches on the NFL hot seat…..2016…2015…2014….2013…etc etc etc. If I had a dollar every time I heard that Marvin Lewis was on the hot seat, I could afford to pay Marvin Lewis! In 2015, the Bengals got out to a franchise-best 8-0 start with a 31-10 win over the Cleveland Brown. They would go on however and lose 4 of their next 7 games but still winning their division and clinching a playoff berth. The Bengals lost to the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16 in the Wild Card round, making them the first franchise in NFL history to lose five straight opening round playoff games….which brings us back to……Marvin Lewis is one of the head coaches on the NFL hot seat.

2016 Team Outlook– The AFC North Division is comprised of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland. The only good gamble to make before the season begins….is to bet that Cleveland won’t win the division. Since 2002, Pittsburgh has won the division 6 times, with Cincinnati & Baltimore both having 4 titles a piece.

2016 Fantasy Outlook- The Bengals are loaded with fantasy football stars. RBs Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard, TE Tyler Eifert, and WR AJ Green are a few names that I know that you are familiar with. QB Andy Dalton isn’t exceptional for fantasy football owners, only cracking the top 12 among NFL quarterbacks once since being drafted in 2011, but is a good #2 QB.

QB– Bengal’s starting quarterback Andy Dalton, ended 2015 with a broken thumb and as the 19th ranked QB. Dalton does however play in the AFC North Division with teams whose defenses have tanked in recent years. Facing pass defenses twice a season, that ranked- 27th ( CLEV), 25th (BALT) and 15th ( PITT), can pad stats nicely. Former Alabama QB AJ McCarron played adequately enough in his 4+ starts filling in for injured Dalton, but he won’t take over the starting job anytime soon.

RBs-  The Bengals have one of the best running back combos in the NFL. It isn’t often that two backs from the same team rank in the top 25 of running backs in the same season. For 2015, Hill ranked #14 and Bernard ranked #22. Jeremy Hill had 223 carries for 794 rushing yards and Gio Bernard had 154 carries for 730 yards. Gio also added 392 receiving yards and 3 receiving TDs. Both are young players, and unless one suffers an unfortunate injury, Cincinnati’s back field is set for another season.

WRs– AJ Green (1st round-4th overall) was selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, the same year Andy Dalton was selected ( 2nd round- 35th overall). Only four full seasons into their careers, Andy Dalton and AJ Green rank among the NFL’s top pass-and-catch duos. Dalton and Green have hooked up 324 times for 4,735 yards in their first four seasons, the top marks by any duo. Their 33 touchdown catches match the mark with Miami’s Dan Marino and Mark Clayton. Green has had at least 10 TD receptions in 3 of his past 4 seasons and joined Randy Moss as the only player with 1,000 yards receiving in each of their first five seasons. In 2015 WR Marvin Jones was a healthy Marvin Jones, playing in all 16 games and ended as the #39 overall wide receiver in the NFL. Mohamed Sanu had zero receiving touchdowns in 2015, but did have 2 rushing TDs. UPDATE: Marvin Jones signs with Detroit.

TEs– If only Tyler Eifert could stay healthy. Eifert has never played an entire NFL since being drafted in 2013. He played 15 games in 2013, only played 1 game in 2014, and only 13 games played in 2015. Eifert’s 13 receiving touchdowns in only 13 games last season was tops in the NFL. ( NE Gronk and WASH Jordan Reed both tied with 11 TDs)

K– Mike Nugent was a free agent in 2015, but signed a two-year, $4 million contract on Mar. 8, 2015. He ended 2015 as the #15 kicker for 2015, making 23 of 28 field goal attempts. He also didn’t seem to mind the extra yardage added to extra points (48 of 49)

DEF- For 2015, The Bengals were the 10th best defense vs the pass, and the 8th best defense vs the rush, ranking them 10th overall. This was an improvement over their #14 ranking in 2014 (They were the 5th ranked defense in 2013) Cincinnati has a load of defensive players headed for free agency. UPDATE: WLB Vontaze Burfict suspended 3 games for multiple violations of the league’s player-safety rules…….Bengals re-sign CB Pacman Jones

2015 Cincinnati Fantasy Surprises– RB Jeremy Hill’s 11 rushing touch downs for 2015 was the most in the NFL ( tied with ATL D Freeman, MINN A Peterson and Pittsburgh D Williams)  As written earlier, TE Tyler Eifert’s 13 receiving touchdowns in only 13 games last season was tops in the NFL.

2016 Free Agents that Cincinnati Needs to Address– WR Marvin Jones (signed w/ DET) , WR Mohamed Sanu (signed w/ ATL), MLB Vincent Rey, DT Pat Sims, DE Wallace Gilberry, DT Brandon Thompson, OLB Emmanuel Lamur, OT Eric Winston SS Reggie Nelson, CB Pacman Jones (re-signed) , CB Leon Hall, RT Andre Smith, FS George Iloka,

2016 NFL Draft– Although Cincinnati has two important wide receivers headed for free agency, and they could be crippled by the number of defensive players that they could lose. Keeping the Bengal’s defense in the top 10 again could begin with the 2016 NFL Draft. Their needs include: nose tackle, linebacker, and center. Cincinnati currently has the 24th overall pick in the upcoming draft.  CINCINNATI’S 2015 DRAFT

Did You Know – Paul Brown, the founder and longtime Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns also founded the Cincinnati Bengals?

Team home page: www.bengals.com