2019 Fantasy Football: Cleveland Browns Team Outlook

In this Cleveland Browns Team outlook, take a free peek at our Team Outlook coverage from the Fantasy Football guru Shawn Childs.

Nick Chubb

Cleveland Browns

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The Browns have the talent on offense to lead the NFL in scoring and offensive yards if Baker Mayfield continues on his expected path. The addition of Odell Beckham helps the run game by drawing attention from the safety position. If Cleveland does run the ball well, it will, in turn, help the play-action passes and long TDs. There’s a lot to like in this offense and Fantasy owner should gravitate to get a piece of this rising franchise.

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Baker Mayfield

If the Browns gave Mayfield the keys to the offense out of the gate in 2018, they might have finished with a winning season and a possible playoff berth. Baker went 6-7 while passing for 3,725 yards with an impressive 27 TDs plus 14 Ints. He gained 7.7 yards per pass attempt with a 63.8 percent completion rate.

Over his last seven starts, Mayfield went 5-2 with four games with three TDs or more. In his two losses over this span, Baker tossed three Ints in each contest. He finished with three games with over 300 yards passing (twice against the Ravens) while averaging 35.6 passes in his 13 starts.

Cleveland has an elite WR1, a top possession WR, a big play WR, a pass catching back, and an upside TE. I fully expect Mayfield to push for 5,000 yards with 35+ TDs. His downside in passing TDs could come from success running the ball inside the ten-yard line. Cleveland has the offensive talent to average 30+ points per game. Baker will even chip in with some scoring plays in the run game.

(From Twitter: Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb began 2018 as backups, but ended the season among the most dangerous QB-RB duos in the NFL. Baker was more effective with Chubb on the field last season, and both enter 2019 as undisputed starters in Cleveland.

Other Options: Drew Stanton, Garrett Gilbert, David Blough

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Running Backs

Nick Chubb

Just like Baker Mayfield, the Browns’ coaching staff didn’t have the guts to ride Chubb out of the gate in 2018. They gave him only 16 rushes over the first six games, but he flashed in Week 4 (3/105/2). From game 7 to game 15, Nick averaged 20.6 touches per game leading to 852 combined yards with eight TDs and 18 catches. He finished with four games with over 100 yards rushing and one other game with over 100 combined yards. Cleveland even gave him almost 2.5 catches per game over his last seven games.

Chubb averaged 5.2 yards per rush with 11 runs over 20 yards with four of those gains reaching over 40 yards. In 2019, the structure of the Browns’ RBs will be interesting with Kareem Hunt added to the roster. I expect 40+ catches with double-digit TDs. Cleveland will give him between 275 and 300 rushes pointing to 1,500+ yards. Backend RB1 than may lose some chances later in the year if the Browns decide to taper his touches when Kareem Hunt returns after the eight games.

From Twitter: Nick Chubb faced a stacked box a staggering 34.38% of the time in 2018. Despite that, he also had the highest elusive rating of all RBs with at least 100 rushing attempts (PFF), as well as .23 avoided tackles per rushing attempt (ranked 4th among RBs with at least 100 carries).

Duke Johnson

The change in offensive structure at RB in Cleveland in 2018 led to Johnson losing more than 50 percent of his rushes on early downs plus more than 35 percent of his catches. Duke gained 5.0 yards per rush and 9.1 yards per catch, which shows his explosiveness. Over the last ten games with Nick Chubb moving into the top role at RB, Johnson had two rushes per game and four targets per game. His passing catching skills will help Cleveland move the chains, but they want to ride Chubb as much as possible. More of an insurance policy than a playable piece in 2019.

I won’t fight for him on draft day, but I’ll respect his potential upside if he slides past the 15th round in 12-team drafts. Possible 100 touches for 700 combined yards with about 50 catches.

Kareem Hunt

With no suspension, a Fantasy owner could argue that Hunt is the top RB on this roster after his 27 games of success with the Chiefs. In his career, Kareem averaged 111 combined yards, 2.9 catches, and 0.93 TDs per game or 19.58 Fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. He’ll miss the first eight games of the season, which makes him a tough to roster if he’s overpriced on draft day. High upside insurance policy, but he won’t move up the depth chart without an injury to Nick Chubb. Overall Championships are won by players like this getting job late in the year, so keep an open mind.

Other Options: Dontrell Hilliard, Trayone Gray, D’Ernest Johnson


Wide Receivers

Odell Beckham

Over the last two seasons, Beckham missed 16 games with his combined stats in 2017 and 2018 coming to 102 catches for 1,352 yards and nine TDs. Odell started his career with three impressive seasons (91/1305/12, 96/1450/13, and 101/1367/10) while averaging 10.6 targets per game. In his rookie season, Beckham was a beast of his 12 games when he averaged 108.8 yards per games with an elite catch rate (70.0). The change to Cleveland gives Odell a great opportunity.

Baker Mayfield has accuracy while having the ability to hang tough in the pocket to deliver big plays downfield. When added to a possible explosive run game, Beckham is going to beer a tough cover in 2019. His floor should be 100+ catches for 1,500+ yards and double-digit TDs. Slam dunk top three WR in PPR leagues. Last year the Browns’ WRs caught 201 passes for 2,736 yards and 16 TDs in 336 targets.

Jarvis Landry

After posting an elite catch rate (70.2) over his four seasons in the NFL, Landry struggled to get on the same page with the Browns’ QB leading to a sharp decline in his catch rate (54.4). Cleveland allowed him to make more plays downfield (12.0 yards per catch). In the end, Jarvis caught 81 of his 149 targets for 976 yards and five TDs. He has two seasons with over 100 catches and two years with over 1,100 yards receiving. Over the second half of the year with the Browns focusing on the run game, Landry only caught 32 of 55 targets for 448 yards and two TDs.

With Odell Beckham added to the roster, Jarvis will regain his natural WR2 role while working close to the line of scrimmage. I see enough chances to post 90+ catches for 1,000+ yards with about seven TDs even with Beckham taking a high-volume of the WR chances for Cleveland.

Antonio Callaway

There is no doubt that Callaway has the wheels to get open in the deep passing game, but his hands graded poorly. He caught 43 of his 79 targets for 586 yards and five TDs. His season started with no catches on one target in Week 1 followed up by a tease game (3/81/1). Over the next five games, Antonio caught only 13 of his 34 targets for 119 yards. His play did improve over the second half of the year (27/386/4 on 40 targets – 67.5 percent catch rate).

This season Callaway will draw much weaker coverage while being singled on many plays. He’ll work as a deep threat with a chance to deliver some impactful games. I can’t see much more than 50 catches for 750 yards and a handful of TDs.

Other Options: Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley, Jaelen Strong, Derrick Willies, Blake Jackson

Tight Ends

David Njoku

Even with a 9th place finish in TE scoring in 2018, Njoku gave Fantasy owners a losing feeling. He finished with career highs in catches (56), receiving yards (639), and targets (88). After a quiet start to the year over the first three games (9/69 on 16 targets), David played well over four games (22 catches for 228 yards and two TDs on 35 targets).

After a zero on no chances in the eighth game, Njoku finished the year with 25 catches for 342 yards and two TDs on 37 targets. In the end, his stats were only playable in six games. Last year Cleveland completed 75 passes for 853 yards and eight TDs on 112 targets to the TE position. His growth points to more upside with a chance to offer sneaky value at the goal line. Next step: 65+ catches for 700+ yards and six to eight TDs.

Other options: Demetrius Harris, Seth DeValue, Pharaoh Brown, Orson Charles



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About Shawn Childs 970 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros. As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.