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Fantasy Football Outlook: Browns Bound for Bounce Back in 2020

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Cleveland is loaded with talent at their skill positions, but outside of Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry the rest of the roster was a major letdown in 2019. That will change in 2020. 

Heading into 2019, the hype-train for the Cleveland Browns was filled at max capacity but by season’s end, it was emptier than a public swimming pool after a dirty diaper surfaces. So what changed as we head into 2020? For starters Cleveland hired a new head coach (again) in Kevin Stefanski and the regression by quarterback Baker Mayfield a year ago is ripe for a reversal now that he’s entering his third year in the league. Add in the fact they’ll have Kareem Hunt for a full season to compliment Nick Chubb and brought in talented tight end Austin Hooper and suddenly the hype is starting to build again for the Browns.

Sports Illustrated’s fantasy analyst Ben Heisler and BrownsDigest's Pete Smith break down the Browns roster from the fantasy football perspective.

Read the full transcript from their conversation:

Bill Enright: Heading into 2019, the hype train for the Cleveland Browns was filled at max capacity, but by season's end it was emptier than a public swimming pool after a dirty diaper surfaces. What do we expect from the Browns in 2020? Let's bring on BrownsDigest's Peter Smith, and SI fantasy and gambling analyst Ben Heisler for a quick little breakdown from a fantasy football perspective. Pete, I'll go to you first. What's going to change for the Browns in 2020?

Peter Smith: Well, first thing, they hired Kevin Stefanski to be the head coach. They're going to install that wide zone scheme system. Alex Van Pelt was hired as the offensive coordinator and quasi-quarterback coach, which is a substantial upgrade from Ryan Lindley last year. They added two tackles, they drafted Jedrick Wills and signed Jack Conklin in the offseason. They added Austin Hooper. The big X factor for them is going to be those top receivers. Jarvis Landry is recovering from hip surgery in the offseason. He's talked about August being his target, but it could be as late as September. And then Odell Beckham is coming back from groin surgery. Those are sort of the last details to sort of get worked out before they can really get excited beyond the fact that we don't know when they're going to be able to get on the field and practice.

Bill Enright: Ben, let me go over to you. When it comes to the Browns roster, who are you eyeing up for your fantasy drafts?

Ben Heisler: Well, obviously, we know that Odell Beckham Jr is going to be one of the top wide receivers selected, but I think it's all about Baker Mayfield and the type of value that you can get on him. I think this is a terrific system for Baker and a Kevin Stefanski system that is going to be heavily predicated on play action. You saw Kirk Cousins in last year's season throw for only six interceptions. That was the lowest of his career in starting an all 16 game season. So I think the touchdown numbers for Baker will look good. The interceptions for him will go down. And then also because of the heavy play action scheme, it's a great opportunity for both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to be dynamic weapons in this offense. So I think it starts with Baker. Certainly Odell is going to have a bounce back year, but really, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, I think there's terrific value on both of those guys. 

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