2013 Fantasy Football Sleeper: Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
I’m not buying the story that Brandon Weeden is a bust for the Cleveland Browns. First of all, when did the Browns of all franchises start putting unrealistic expectations on their players? Sure, Weeden’s rookie year didn’t match that of Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III or even Russell Wilson, but historically how many NFL rookie QBs did? Exactly. Weeden was short on touchdowns last year with 14 and long on interceptions with 17, but he did throw for 3,385 yards which is more than respectable and an indicator of potential.
I am not one of those that believe you can throw the same effort towards something and expect a different result. For improvements to take place in Weeden’s game, it would require change. The Browns welcome new head coach Rob Chudzinski, general manager Michael Lombardi and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. This will also be the first full season under new owner Jimmy Haslam. I would say that qualifies as change in Cleveland.
During the offseason, there was endless speculation that the Browns would add a big name QB during free agency or nab one in the draft. None of the speculation saw fruition but the writing is clearly on the wall for Weeden. This year, he has one more opportunity, likely his last opportunity, in a league dubbed “Not For Long” if he struggles. Weeden is mature enough to handle the challenge. In fact, it is my humble opinion the former Oklahoma State QB will excel under the pressure.
Turner is a big piece of that logic. Although considered by many as a one-hit wonder living on the reputation of his Dallas Cowboys glory years, I believe Turner has proven his offensive prowess and Weeden will benefit from it.
Maybe the biggest difference, the Browns offense has one more year of experience under their belt. Considering the fact that Weeden, Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon were rookies one season ago, that year of experience is invaluable.
Plus, think about this. As you research for your draft this season, most sources will claim Richardson is a top 10 back and Gordon and Jordan Cameron are primed for break out years. If the masses of fantasy prognosticators are spot on, someone has to feed these anticipated fantasy producers the rock. Weeden is that somebody.
Obviously, Weeden is not your No. 1 quarterback this season. But he is a cheap number two with significant fantasy upside.