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Fancy fantasy football: Mohamed Massaquoi, other Cleveland Browns WRs

By Nicholas Minnix

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon
Gordon is catching on

Keep your hand up if you've ever caught a football. The Cleveland Browns are hurtin' for some wide receivers.

Why would fantasy owners pay them any mind, anyway? If Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring injury), Travis Benjamin (hamstring injury) and Jordan Norwood (sprained foot) weren't injured, would we want any of them?

Greg Little is still upright, but he has more drops than Visine. Josh Gordon, the second-round supplemental draft choice, seemed to do his best Marc Boerigter impersonation in Week 5. Joshua Cribbs plays on offense only out of absolute necessity.

Who is this team's No. 1 wideout?

Honestly, who cares? This may look like an ugly situation, but fantasy owners need to figure out which one of this team's receivers they like, and then they need to invest in him.

Brandon Weeden deserves high praise for doing so much with so Little. (Eric McClung touched on this O in On Target.) In four games, the 28-year-old rookie has attempted 202 passes - 40.4 per game! - and completed 55.4 percent of them. He's looked poised and unfazed by his teammates' myriad mistakes. He throws a pretty ball and has been close to pinpoint since Week 1.

Toss out Weeden's official debut (in which he was 12-for-35 for 118 yards and four INTs against the Philadelphia Eagles). Since then, in some pretty good matchups, he's completed 59.9 percent of his throws for 292.5 yards, 1.25 touchdowns and 1.25 interceptions per game. Just think: If Stickum was league legal, Little would've easily pushed his QB's figures for that stretch above 60 percent and 300 yards, respectively.

The possibilities seem pretty great here if one or two of these receivers can take the reins. In each of the past two weeks, two receivers have combined for at least 18 targets. Weeden is dying for one of them to step up - and stay off the injury report.

Player
Targets
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Total
Massaquoi
8
7
3
0
0
18
Gordon
4
3
6
1
8
22
Little
4
7
4
11
2
28
Norwood
0
0
0
10
10
20
Benjamin
7
2
4
6
0
19
Cribbs
0
2
1
2
0
5

My 2012 money is on Massaquoi, at least in PPR leagues, when he's 100 percent. He caught eight passes for 131 yards in his first two games, but he left Cleveland's Week 3 contest and hasn't played since. He appeared to be on track to regaining some of the steam from solid his rookie campaign, in 2010, however, and Weeden looked for him most often.

Norwood has drawn Weeden's attention quite a bit in the past couple of weeks, making good on nine of his 10 looks against the New York Giants. He was a disappointment in Week 4 because of some drops, but in Week 5, he may have gained Weeden's trust just as Little lost it. Little has a ton of potential, but his coaches are on him because of his poor concentration.

Gordon is in there somewhere. He has a chance to move ahead of Benjamin because the latter has frustrated his coaches, according to some press clippings. Gordon is just very raw. Benjamin, a 2012 fourth-rounder, is extremely fast but would be a one-trick pony if the entire corps was healthy.

Gordon caught only two of the eight passes intended for him against the New York Giants, but both went for scores. The coaching staff is reportedly pleased with how he's developing, largely out of need. He's a deep threat now and could eventually be something closer to a complete receiver.

The Browns have a running game. You've heard of Trent Richardson? (I was way off, I guess: The Browns' O isn't complete crap; T-Rich is chewing up defenses when they can't commit nine defenders.) And, even better: Their defense stinks! (The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto posted a nice summary of Cleveland's situation at wideout and in general.)

Every week, somebody in this WR corps gets plenty of targets. Sometimes, two of them. That doesn't figure to change in most games going forward. It won't kill a fantasy owner to pick up one of these dudes to see if he becomes and remains an asset, especially while byes are so prevalent.



 


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