Fantasy camp notebook: Browns lacking RB depth

  • By John Juhasz NFL.com
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This year, preseason seemed to fly by a lot more quickly than in previous years. Thank heavens. Just yesterday, it seemed like we were all making fun of players who were failing their conditioning drills. Now, we're a week away from experiencing our first real action. And we've got college ball starting tonight. In other words, it's effectively time to say goodbye to your loved ones, you won't be seeing much of them on the weekends, although you can offer limited visitation on weekdays.

Let's see what's lingering out there for the final tune-ups.

No fixins, please


Insert your favorite joke about taking a trip to the vet's here, but Philip Rivers insists he doesn't need fixing. Well, then.

"There's no question I'm responsible for some of the plays and some of the games we haven't won. I'm not going to shy away from that," he added. "But we can go sit in there and watch a lot of tape from last year, and I'll ask you, 'What do you want to fix?' It's just about eliminating some of the bad plays."

Well ... for starters, Phil, it's about more than just eliminating bad plays. That's what you do if you've quarterbacked for the same coach for the last few years. It's about learning a completely new system, one that hopefully adapts to whatever skills you have left after spending nearly a decade of taking hits. It's about finding a way to score points with a receiving unit that is either injured or unproven, and there isn't a huge threat of a ground game that'll keep defenses honest.

Rivers was once one of the best fantasy QBs in the league, and even a first-round pick in some fantasy formats. But times change at lightning speed in fantasyville, and owners need to react quickly and accordingly. Because the deck seems so stacked against San Diego this year, Rivers now falls into the "I guess I'll keep him on my bench and start him only if I have to" category.

Backed out


Anyone have Jim Brown's phone number handy?

Only one day after putting Dion Lewis on injured reserve for the year, the Browns took the same action with Montario Hardesty. Hardesty played a total of 23 games over three injury-riddled seasons in Cleveland, carrying the ball 153 times for 537 yards and one touchdown. Lewis and Hardesty were expected to provide quality depth for the Browns at the RB position, but now they really don't have any. Brandon Jackson has struggled with injury issues of his own throughout his career, and the team plans to use Chris Ogbonnaya at fullback, which will limit the number of carries he'll get each game.

My first reaction was this means good news for Trent Richardson owners since the Browns are almost certain to give him a huge percentage of all their carries. The problem, though, is Richardson struggled with injuries of his own last year. To categorize giving him an ultra-heavy workload every single week as "flirting with disaster' doesn't even begin to describe the tightrope act the Browns coaching staff will walk. If anything, maybe the team will be more aggressive throwing the ball to limit the number of carries Richardson will need to log each week. Any kind of long-term injury to Richardson would instantly deflate any hope this offense has of compiling a decent amount of points each week.

Quick hits


» Packers GM Ted Thompson said he is not concerned with the state of Green Bay's offensive line. Sometimes, GMs tell the truth. Other times, they don't. You can probably guess which category that falls under.

Aaron Rodgers was the most sacked QB in the league last year, and his already porous o-line was made even shakier with the loss of Brian Bulaga. Rodgers was still able to produce an impressive stat total last year, but really, how many more hits can this line take? It's almost like having three bad tires on a car, then removing the last good one and expecting it to run at the same speed.

» The Dolphins have said rookie DE Dion Jordan will be seen a lot soon ... or something like that. I wasn't really wild about the potential for Jordan's game to transition well to the NFL level when he came out of Oregon, and since he's missed a large part of camp while rehabbing some injuries, I'm not expecting him to make much of an impact in IDPville as some of my colleagues are.

» I figured this might happen a few weeks ago. The Raiders realize their offensive line is now a mess, so they will start Terrelle Pryor under center with the hopes that a mobile QB might help them move the ball more effectively. Let me just say this is ... not going to end well. It was hard enough to draft Raiders to your fantasy roster to begin with. Now, almost everyone -- especially their wide receivers -- have sunk to my "only if it's an emergency" category.


John Juhasz is a fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnJuhasz

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