Waiver Wire Weekly: Cleveland Browns look promising under new leadership


John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

By Adin Link, Staff Writer

NFL’s Week 9 is over and Waiver Wire Weekly is here to remedy your fantasy lineups. Whether your team is riddled with injuries or bye weeks, look for these players to add so your squad does not miss a beat. With the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings on their bye week, you should be weary if you own players like Phillip Lindsay, DeAndre Hopkins or Adam Thielen.

*The %OWN statistic is based on ESPN standard leagues from Nov. 5.


Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, *%OWN: 38%

Baker Mayfield faced a lackluster secondary in Week 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs and managed to score his third-highest fantasy total thus far. This week, he has yet another inviting matchup against an Atlanta Falcon secondary ravished by injuries. Mayfield, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 draft, has flashed his talent throughout the season. And if last week was any indication, he may improve even more under a new offense after Cleveland’s former head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired on Thursday following a 33-18 loss to the Steelers.

Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals, %OWN: 2.2%

Now on to the No. 10 overall pick of the NFL draft, Josh Rosen — he posted his highest fantasy total of the year in Week 8, right before his bye week in Week 9. Now in Week 10, Rosen faces a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is often exploited in the secondary. Rosen and the Cardinals have struggled mightily this year, but it is possible Rosen can build off his performance in Week 8 if Cardinal coaches install more of what they executed that week to allow Rosen to thrive.

Running Backs

Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns, %OWN: 49.5%

The second Cleveland Brown to be mentioned on our list also comes at the heels of a few major coaching changes in Cleveland. Duke Johnson has not had a successful 2018-19 campaign thus far, but with Jackson and Haley fired, Johnson’s production may see an uptick. In the first week without Jackson or Haley, Johnson exploded with nine catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns. The previous coaching regime seemed intent on downhill running with Johnson’s peer Nick Chubb, but the new tandem of interim head coach Greg Williams and offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens appears to like the receiving aspect a back like Johnson adds.

Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons, %OWN: 31.7%

The door opened for Ito Smith when regular starting back Devonta Freeman was placed on injury reserve. Although Smith may not be the technical starter with Tevin Coleman still on the roster, Smith still offers a fair bit of value. The Falcons will face the Cleveland Browns in Week 10. The Browns possess a solid defensive unit but are giving up 4.6 yards per rush this season. The Browns’ tendency to give up yardage, plus Smith’s usage in goal-to-go situations, makes him an intriguing fantasy option.

Wide Receivers

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers, %OWN: 20.7%

The Packers don’t have that many wide-receiver options at the moment. For a few weeks, both Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb were missing time for their respective injuries. Davante Adams had been the constant, but head coach Mike McCarthy has indicated after just two weeks back from injury that Geronimo Allison is slated to miss a “significant amount of time” with a core injury, thus opening the door for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. In the wake of all the injuries, Valdes-Scantling has quietly been shining, posting consecutive point totals of 12.8, 10.3, 10.5 and 10.1 since Week 5.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers, %OWN: 25%

After being featured on last week’s Waiver Wire Weekly, Mike Williams’ %OWN dropped. Despite his %OWN statistic, Williams hauled in a 30-yard touchdown Sunday, adding to his reel of big plays this season. Williams’ only concerning factor is his low number of receptions — but when Williams catches the ball, it’s usually in the end zone. With the Chargers winning and playing strong football, look for Williams to continue finding the end zone — and your fantasy team some points.

Tight Ends

Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints, %OWN: 48.1%

Benjamin Watson put together his best fantasy game of the year last week against the LA Rams, catching three balls for 62 yards and a touchdown. Watson has been a reliable tight end in the NFL for more than a decade and he is seemingly at his best when he is in a Saints uniform catching passes from Drew Brees. Brees looks for Watson in certain situations mainly because of a trust the duo has built in their time together. Because of that and the fact the Saints play a weak Bengals defense, Watson holds value for Week 10.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles, %OWN: 3.7%

Posting back-to-back weeks with a touchdown before his bye week in Week 9, Dallas Goedert may be finally emerging as a consistent tight end for Philly. After acquiring Golden Tate from Detroit, it may seem as though the Philly offense will be too loaded for Goedert to shine. However, with so many names on the Eagle offense, defenses may not be particularly inclined to gameplan around Goedert. This may allow him to slip underneath defenses and use his unique combination of size and speed to produce results.