2012 Team Outlook: Cleveland
TE Ben Watson, NO - Bye Week Fill-in
In 2010, Ben "Don't Call Me Benjamin" Watson had a career year. In 2011, he proved that big year was probably a fluke. Watson's numbers declined across the board and his production was halved. It goes without saying that Cleveland's offense was spectacularly bad last year, so it's not all his fault. The problem is that Watson will turn 32 this year and with so many young tight ends emerging, there's almost no reason to take a chance on him. This outlook obviously changes dramatically if he develops chemistry with Brandon Weeden.
Update (08/27): Watson has returned to practice in the last week and is still tenatively the team's No. 1 TE.
TE Alex Smith, CIN - Not Draft Worthy
No, not that Alex Smith, this is the other Alex Smith. Coming to the Cleveland Browns in 2010, Smith has toiled in relative anonymity. The former runner-up to the John Mackey Award in 2004, given to the nation's top tight end, he's now buried a bit on Cleveland's depth chart. Smith in his career has caught 147 passes for 1,414 yards and 12 touchdowns. That's more than most of us will ever accomplish in the NFL, but it's not enough to grab our attention in fantasy football.
TE Evan Moore, --- - Not Draft Worthy
Even though Evan Moore is known better as a blocker, that didn't stop him from having his best statistical season. He collected 34 catches (just three fewer than TE1 Ben Watson) and four TDs. It should go without saying that Moore should only be a name you occasionally see on the waiver wire this season. On the off chance Watson is injured, even then Moore just doesn't have the athletic ability to come out of left field and put up big fantasy numbers.
PK Phil Dawson, SF - Low Potential
If your goal is to have one of the league's lowest-scoring kickers, Phil Dawson is your guy. Dawson has good accuracy and plays for a team typically averse to scoring in bunches. On the bright side, the 13-year veteran was one of Cleveland's franchise players and signed a one-year, $3.8 million franchise tender. Not bad, right? He also converted seven of eight field goals from 50-plus yards, tied for the most from that distance in the NFL last year. If only the Browns could get within his range more often.
Cleveland Defense - Bye Week Fill-in
The Browns allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game last year (184.9) in large part to their porous run defense which ranked as the third-worst. Why pass the ball when you can run it with ease? Their 19.2 points allowed per game looks impressive (and it is), but this was a team that was regularly manhandled. The Browns were never really blown out because their defense typically kept it close. The foundation for improvement is present but they're not quite ready for your fantasy roster yet.