Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Cleveland Browns

A fantasy football perspective on the team

What can the Cleveland Browns do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.

Inside the Locker Room
with Pat McManamon, Fox Sports Ohio

Will Trent Richardson be eased into pro competition or will he get the lion’s share of the carries immediately?
Richardson will not ease into anything. The Browns drafted him third overall and traded up to get him to make him their primary running back. Richardson wants to be the primary back, and the Browns will not let him down. The only thing that would keep him from 20 to 25 carries per game is injury.

Can Greg Little blossom into an every-week fantasy receiver?
If he learns to catch the ball and not drop it he could be a very good second or third receiver on a fantasy roster. Little has outstanding skills — size, strength, speed. He can run routes short and long. He just has to translate those skills into the NFL game. His problem last season was 14 drops, which is way too many for a professional. Little did not play at North Carolina his final season due to NCAA issues, so the drops may have been the result of re-adjusting to football. At least the Browns hope it was.

Which tight end is the best to target as a late-round sleeper?
Tough call. Ben Watson is coming off concussions, which is always iffy. And Evan Moore never lived up to the preseason hype he generated. If Watson is healthy, he will be more productive. He is a more well-rounded tight end who is very adept at catching the ball down the seam — the 20-to-25-yard routes that quarterbacks love. But if Moore lives up to expectations, he could be a better value given he could score more touchdowns because he causes matchup issues in the red zone. It’s a very close call, but go with Moore.

Athlon's Best Bets

Sleeper: Greg Little, WR
Deep-Sleeper: Evan Moore, TE
Overvalued: None
Top Rookie: Trent Richardson, RB
Bounce-Back: T.J. Ward, S
Top IDP: D'Qwell Jackson, LB

2012 Draft Class

1. Trent Richardson RB 5-10 228 Alabama
1. Brandon Weeden QB 6-3 221 Oklahoma State
2. Mitchell Schwartz T 6-5 317 California
3. John Hughes DT 6-3 306 Cincinnati
4. Travis Benjamin WR 5-10 175 Miami
4. James-Michael Johnson LB 6-1 240 Nevada
5. Ryan Miller G 6-8 295 Colorado
6. Emmanuel Acho LB 6-2 238 Texas
6. Billy Winn DE 6-3 296 Boise State
7. Trevin Wade CB 5-11 190 Arizona
7. Brad Smelley FB 6-2 233 Alabama

Fantasy Impact: Trent Richardson should be the top rookie fantasy pick for 2012 and has a chance to be one of the top 15 RBs off the board in preseason drafts. At 28 years old, Brandon Weeden has the tools necessary to succeed.

Fantasy Playoff Run: Weeks 14-16 (KC, WAS, at DEN)

All right, Trent Richardson, you played 13 games to lead Alabama to a national title last season; now play three more like that to get us a fantasy championship. Richardson will start the playoffs against teams that were 10th- and 11th-worst against fantasy running backs and a Washington team that was 20th-worst. And none of the three has made dramatic defensive improvements.

Dominate Your Fantasy Football League! Click here for the ultimate online resource for mock drafts, positional rankings, Athlon's Top 250 and more.

You can order your award-winning Athlon Sports NFL Fantasy Football preview magazine here.

More Stories: