The Cleveland Browns are one or two years away from taking over the AFC North. Don’t laugh. The team brought in Ben Tate as the lead running back. The defense was one of the top 15 defenses in fantasy football. And don’t forget about the No. 1 fantasy receiver Josh Gordon.
Gordon finished with 221 fantasy points in ESPN.com standard leagues, beating Demaryius Thomas by one point. He did that by only playing in 14 games. Gordon missed the first two games while dealing with a suspension. In his first game on the season, Gordon hauled in 10 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. In his last seven games, Gordon racked up 1,020 yards with six touchdowns and 140 fantasy points.
Gordon accomplished all of this by catching passes from less-than-stellar quarterbacks. The Browns had Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer under center. Imagine what Gordon can do with at least an average quarterback.
The Browns have two first-round picks in this year’s draft, No. 4 and No. 26. Football experts have the Browns selecting Johnny Manziel with the fourth pick and selecting a cornerback later, while others have them waiting to draft a quarterback until later in to select Teddy Bridgewater and draft Sammy Watkins at No. 4.
If the Browns go with Manziel at No. 4, he will start right away and provide a spark to the offense that has been absent for years. Bridgewater, on the other hand, may sit and watch during his first year while Hoyer runs the offense in 2014.
Gordon is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. Defenses double cover Gordon nine times out of 10, but event hat doesn’t work. With new Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Gordon and the offense will be just fine regardless who is the quarterback. Shanahan had success in his last two spots with Andre Johnson and Pierre Garcon as the top receiver.
Calvin Johnson will still be drafted as the No. 1 receiver, but don’t be surprised if Gordon is at the top of the rankings when Week 17 is completed.