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Fantasy football 2013 draft preview: Cleveland Browns team report

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Be cautious when going all-in with Trent Richardson; he averaged only 3.6 yards per carry in 2012.

Fantasy football 2013 draft prep central: Rankings, position primers and much more

Fantasy football draft season is fast approaching. Prep to win your league with SI.com's ongoing preview, including team-by-team breakdowns that examine each club's key fantasy storyline and much more.

Key fantasy storyline

Norv Turner isn't the greatest as a head coach, but he can be a game-changer as an offensive coordinator. Turner was the offensive architect of Dallas' Big Three in the 1990s, and he historically helps his top players, especially running backs and tight ends, reach their statistical ceilings. Therefore, fantasy owners should jump on players under his command, including Trent Richardson and Jordan Cameron.

But on draft day, be wary of Richardson; he was banged up all of last season and struggled with a mere 3.6 yards per carry. He is the only running back who will be picked in Round 1 that posted a sub-4.0 average. That makes him a risk at his draft position, which is just after the middle of the first round on average thus far.

This is a big year for Richardson, but not necessarily because he will be great. Owners will find out if he's a broken-down disappointment like the Saints' Mark Ingram, or a burgeoning fantasy star. He looked too much like the former through one year.

Schedule analysis

Cleveland Browns' 2013 schedule
Including a look at how the Browns' upcoming foes fared defensively in fantasy last season.
WeekOpponent2012 rank against QBAgainst RBAgainst WRAgainst TE
1vs. Miami15101317
2@ Baltimore618161
3@ Minnesota2892420
4vs. Cincinnati814318
5vs. Buffalo24311415
6vs. Detroit1772323
7@ Green Bay1417177
8@ Kansas City19262127
9vs. Baltimore618161
10BYEN/AN/AN/AN/A
11@ Cincinnati814318
12vs. Pittsburgh1473
13vs. Jacksonville20291219
14@ New England3082528
15vs. Chicago451012
16@ N.Y. Jets525121
17@ Pittsburgh1473

Stats via FFToday.com

The Browns have the misfortune of having to face all of the AFC North's rugged defenses; at least the other three teams get a break with the Browns' defense twice a year. The schedule is particularly tough after the Week 10 bye. If you score some Browns sleepers in drafts -- say, Josh Gordon or Greg Little -- consider dealing them after the bye. That's when the Browns schedule stiffens and the yards and touchdowns will be tougher to get.

Depth chart

QB: Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell

RB: Trent Richardson, Montario Hardesty, Brandon Jackson, Dion Lewis (broken leg)

WR: Josh Gordon (two-game suspension), Greg Little, Davone Bess, Travis Benjamin, David Nelson, Jordan Norwood

TE: Cameron Jordan, Kellen Davis

K: Shayne Graham

Defensive analysis

Cleveland Browns' 2012 defensive rankings
Ranking typeTotal DRushing DPassing DPoints allowed
NFL Rank2392519
Ranking typeAgainst QBAgainst RBAgainst WRAgainst TE
Fantasy rank2221284

Stats via NFL.com and FFToday.com

The Browns' defense was easily the worst in the AFC North. Joe Haden is an elite corner and D'Qwell Jackson is a monster at linebacker, but this will still be a subpar fantasy defensive unit -- avoid them in all leages. Paul Kruger adds some juice to the linebacker corps, coming over from Baltimore in free agency, and might even be an elite option in those formats that use individual defenders. Because there will be a lot of teams working long drives against them, Jackson, Kruger and DE Ahtyba Rubin should post IDP-worthy numbers.

Division Previews: NFC South | AFC South | NFC West | AFC West | NFC North | AFC North | AFC East | NFC East

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