QB questions blur future Chris Littmann Sporting News
Draft day in 2007 could go down as the day that saved the second iteration of the Cleveland Browns.
Well, at least if the savior quarterback shows up to camp.
But whenever Brady Quinn makes his way to Berea, he'll join No. 3 overall pick Joe Thomas -- and the Browns will have their two first-round picks who carry the hopes of a zealous fan base.
Quinn's arrival will be the beginning of a complicated season at quarterback in Cleveland. Browns coach Romeo Crennel says whenever Quinn arrives, he'll be slotted as the No. 3 quarterback, but it's obvious the future isn't with either of the potential Week 1 starters, Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye. Fans and fantasy owners alike will endure reports of Quinn slowly taking more snaps until he eventually takes the job. It's a fantasy headache waiting to happen.
Projected draft round Player Round Derek Anderson/Charlie Frye, QB DND Jamal Lewis, RB 5 Jason Wright, RB DND Braylon Edwards, WR 5 Joe Jurevicius, WR 16 Kellen Winslow, TE 8 Phil Dawson, K DND Defense/special teams DND Draft position based on a standard 12-team combined scoring and yardage league with a 17-round draft. DND: Do not draft.
Key additions:WR Tim Carter, RB Jamal Lewis, QB Brady Quinn, G Eric Steinbach. Key losses: RB Reuben Droughns, WR Dennis Northcutt.
Braylon Edwards, WR. Fantasy owners willing to draft Edwards also will dip into Cleveland's messy quarterback situation. Who will throw Edwards the ball? With two, maybe three, quarterbacks taking reps in any given week, how will Edwards establish chemistry and grow into the No. 1 or strong No. 2 fantasy receiver everyone believes he can be? You'll note that most of the questions surrounding Edwards are about his teammates and not his own abilities. Sorting out the Browns' QB situation would go a long way to making him more than a No. 3 fantasy receiver.
Sean Jones, SS. The 111-tackle season by Jones in what was essentially his second season served as a major notice to IDP owners. After a knee injury put him on the physically-unable-to-perform list during his rookie season, it would've been reasonable to question whether Jones would be a second-round bust for Cleveland. Now, he's a top five option at defensive back for IDP players as a tackler and a player who will snag the occasional interception.
Kellen Winslow, TE. Winslow's march back from microfracture surgery seems to be going better than anyone anticipated. But the fact remains that Winslow has been dogged by injury concerns throughout his career, and that alone keeps him from being in the same class as Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and other elite tight ends. A number of NBA players have recovered from a similar procedure and retained their skills -- Amare Stoudemire and Jason Kidd in particular -- but keep Winslow's injury in mind on draft day.
Andra Davis, LB. Davis has topped 100 tackles in three of the last four seasons. It took a knee sprain in 2004 to break up that streak. He's a reliable linebacker to have on any IDP roster after you get an elite player to put next to him.
Jamal Lewis, RB. Has it really been that long since Lewis had fans harboring thoughts of a new single-season rushing record? The year was 2003, and Lewis couldn't be stopped. Then there was that whole pesky jail thing. But 2006 signified a small return to normalcy. He cracked the 300-carry mark for the first time since 2003. He handled a heavier workload late in the season, taking more carries in November and December than in September and October. But Lewis won't have the same type of offensive line in Cleveland, and he's probably best suited as your third back.
1-Star Players Joe Jurevicius, WR. All of the concerns about the quarterback situation that apply to Braylon Edwards fall on Jurevicius as well. Unless the Browns abandon the run and just start throwing 40-plus times per game, it's hard to imagine Jurevicius being more than an emergency replacement on your roster.
Derek Anderson/Charlie Frye/Brady Quinn, QB. To quote Fantasy Source staffer Chris Bahr: "Add up all three quarterbacks, and you might have a one-star player." Quinn could be great down the line, but that won't help you this season. Frye and Anderson have had a chance to prove their value, and neither player has succeeded. There's no reason to draft any of these players.
Browns defense/special teams. The acquisitions on offense -- Lewis, Quinn and Thomas -- grabbed the headlines, but the defense quietly snuck in a few solid players who could contribute. The fact remains that outside of Sean Jones and possibly Kamerion Wimbley, this team lacks someone who really makes the opposition nervous. The Browns are in a tough division and have to face some of the league's best offenses. Take a pass on this group. It would even be a stretch to start during bye weeks.
Tim Carter, WR. While we list him with zero stars because the Browns' offense is a mess, Carter is making waves at Browns camp. He's outplaying everyone at his position and easily could become the No. 2 receiver, making Joe Jurevicius completely worthless to fantasy owners. Wait, is it possible to be something less than worthless?
Jason Wright, RB. His only value would as an injury replacement for Jamal Lewis.
Ultimate Fantasy Football Tip: Tim Carter ($.82M) could be the only bargain worth seeking this season. If Derek Anderson lands the starting job, his $2.59M price tag is worth remembering if you load up on expensive running backs and receivers. Only Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson is a less expensive option as a starting QB. Anderson only is recommended as a bye week replacement, even at that price.
TO KNOW LIST
Coaching: It's season No. 3 for Romeo Crennel. The Dawg Pound is waiting for some of that Patriots magic to show up, but a record of 10-22 probably has Crennel on the hot seat. New offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski comes to Cleveland by way of San Diego, a team where he coached a pretty good tight end named Antonio Gates. That can only bode well for owners of Kellen Winslow. Todd Grantham's defense has been hampered by injuries in previous seasons, but the upgrades to the pass rush over the last two offseasons (Kamerion Wimbley in 2006 and Antwan Peek in 2007) have to show results on the field. Offensive line: The line won't look anything like the one that took the field in 2006 thanks to the signings of guards Seth McKinney and Eric Steinbach, as well as the addition of No. 3 overall pick Joe Thomas. If LeCharles Bentley can make a successful return and finally debut with the Browns, it will be a drastically improved unit.
Schedule analysis: Listen to this early-season schedule: vs. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, at Oakland, vs. Baltimore, at New England and vs. Miami. The Browns probably will open the season 1-5. The second half of the season looks slightly easier, but realize another three games vs. the AFC North loom. Fantasy Strength of Schedule: T-13th toughest (or T-19th easiest).