2017 IDP Projections: Cleveland Browns

Tom Kislingbury

I believe that to properly analyze the 2017 IDPs you need to have an idea of how they’ll ALL perform so you can benchmark and compare them effectively.  So I built a model using past performance, efficiency, scheme information and coaching tendencies to predict what will happen in 2017.  I’ve applied that to my best estimates for how teams will use players this year which gives a projection and ranking for all IDPs. You can read more about what I did and how here

Notes

I’ve been watching the NFL since 1997, and for the first time the Browns are the most interesting team in football.  They’re not going to win that many games this year and they’re certainly not Super Bowl contenders, but they’re fresh, different and clever.  It’s great to see.

Part of the reason I’m so excited is that the Browns are such a good bet for IDP production.  They’re unlikely to be winning many games and their game scripts are likely stacked against them.  Those factors combined means that there will be a lot of snaps to go around and therefore production.

Stars

Jamar Taylor, CB

I know!  I certainly didn’t expect him to come out top in the model, but my calculations say Jamar Taylor will be the #1 corner in IDP using NPLB scoring.  The reasons being that he’s likely to be on the field a lot, he’s a solid player but not too good for opposing teams to target, and as their number one corner is likely to be matched up against many top receivers with the volume that accompanies that. He’s almost certainly unowned in your league and although I’m in no way certain he will finish that high, he’s a good enough bet that he’s worth owning.

Key stats: 956 snaps, 53 solo tackles, 9 assists, 14 passes defended, four INTs.

Starters

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Caleb Brantley/Larry Ogunjobi, DT

Full disclosure: this is one of the model’s flaws.  The Browns 3-tech spot is calculated off Gregg Williams’ history and in the last three years that’s been Aaron Donald.  I do not think that either Brantley or Ogunjobi is the next Aaron Donald.  But there is certainly opportunity here and if either of those players can force themselves into the pole position for the position I like them to be a very useful player in 2017.  The model has this as a top ten role, which of course will be much worth less if it’s split across two players.

Key stats: 797 snaps, 39 solo tackles, 16 assists, nine sacks, two passes defended.

Myles Garrett, DE

There’s so much talent on this Browns team isn’t there?  Garrett should have a very good NFL career but I don’t think he’ll be an immediate elite player.  One of the main reasons is the real possibility that he just doesn’t get the volume to be a true star.  I like him a lot as a dynasty buy but don’t expect immediate fireworks.  I expect #17 end numbers.

Key stats: 619 snaps, 35 solo tackles, 13 assists, seven sacks, four passes defended.

Jamie Collins, LB

I’m a Pats fan for my sins, so it broke my heart when he was traded last year.  However the advent of Williams for me was a great auger for Collins.  No other defensive coordinator relied on his two top linebackers in 2016 and I expect that to continue.  Collins will be on the field for every down and his knack for big plays is astounding.  I expect him to be the #11 linebacker and a ton of fun for anyone who owns him.

Key stats: 1,075 snaps, 86 solo tackles, 38 assists, two sacks, nine passes defended, one interception.

Christian Kirksey, LB

I was actually pretty surprised to find him down at #27 in my model.  I’ve been bullish in the off-season about how good his opportunity is after all.  He drops a little just because I expect Collins to hoover up so many of the big plays but that in no way makes him a poor option.  I own him in several places and love his potential.

Key stats: 993 snaps, 77 solo tackles, 30 assists, one sack, five passes defended, one interception.

Joe Haden, CB

Remember when Joe Haden was a top corner in the NFL?  Feels like a long time ago.  He’s a shadow of that elite player now and that actually makes him a bit more viable in IDP leagues.  He’s my #20 corner based on likely being in a great many situations where he can make plays.

Key stats: 765 snaps, 55 solo tackles, seven assists, nine passes defended, two INTs.

Jabril Peppers, S

One of the more exciting rookies in the league.  I was down on him in the draft process because I worried about his coverage ability.  But this is just a great spot to land.  If he plays strong safety (and it’s not certain) he’s going to have many opportunities to do what he does best which is use his absurd athleticism to break on the ball and make plays.  On top of that Hue Jackson has flat out said he’ll at least have a role on special teams and offence so he has every chance to improve on the #19 safety ranking I’ve given him.  The bottom line is very few defensive backs have his ceiling and he’ll be utterly brilliant to follow in 2017.

Key stats: 1,069 snaps, 64 solo tackles, 19 assists, two sacks, five passes defended, two INTs.

Useful

Danny Shelton, DT

Lots of people are high on Shelton and I can’t fault them.  He’s a top seven player for me in terms of pure talent at the position.  However in Williams’ scheme he’s going to be far busier playing the run than going after quarterbacks and it probably won’t translate to fantasy production.  As much as I love his genetic ability to simply throw linemen around he’s my #42 tackle for the year and a sell opportunity based on name recognition.

Key stats: 564 snaps, 22 solo tackles, ten assists, two sacks, one pass defended.

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE

It’s easy to forget that Ogbah was the 32nd overall pick last year and finished ninth amongst ends with 849 snaps.  The Browns clearly believe in him which is one of the reasons why I think Garrett might not be featured.  I’ve got Ogbah being used more in a rotation too under Williams but I still like him enough to be my #53 end.  That for me is a good reminder that not all young players automatically get more snaps, more production and improve their ability.

Key stats: 536 snaps, 22 solo tackles, eight assists, four sacks, two passes defended.

Calvin Pryor, S

I was nonplussed when this went through, but he at least has the opportunity to fit in as a Brown and he’s undeniably a physical player.  There is a chance he earns the strong safety role with Peppers being used as a wildcard.  I don’t think it will happen but fantasy football is all about preparing for opportunities and accepting we’re never going to be 100% accurate.  He’s currently my #58 safety but has a chance to significantly improve on that.

Key stats: 346 snaps, 46 solo tackles, 15 assists, one sack, two passes defended.

Summary

I didn’t mention it earlier but the Browns actually have a really stingy stat crew.  They ranked 31st in 2016 for tackles per opportunity.  Imagine how good some of these players would be if that was a better number.  Regardless, this is a team full of promise and you owe it to yourself to make sure you at least have the chance for some of these players to totally blow up in 2017.

Those are my predictions as of right now.  Obviously things will change as we get a better idea of who will play and how going towards the season.  If you disagree with any assertions here feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (@TomDegenerate) and I’ll be happy to discuss.

Thanks for reading.

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tom kislingbury