Shark Bites

Browns TE David Njoku (hamstring) got in just 1 limited practice this week and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Chiefs. He shouldn't be in any fantasy lineups, but his absence would free up some opportunity for Cleveland's other pass-catchers. Njoku has averaged 3 targets per game over the past 5 weeks.

Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (concussion) is active for tonight's game against the Steelers.

Browns DE Myles Garrett (shoulder), DT Sheldon Richardson (neck) and CB Terrance Mitchell (non-injury) are all active for tonight's game against the Steelers. Each entered the night questionable.

The Browns announced Saturday that CB Denzel Ward won't come off the COVID list in time to face the Steelers on Sunday. Slot CB Kevin Johnson will also remain on the list. That leaves Cleveland down at least 2 of its top 3 corners against pass-heavy Pittsburgh. And we're waiting to see whether CB Terrance Mitchell will play. He's questionable with a non-injury issue.

The Browns have activated S Ronnie Harrison, TE Harrison Bryant and LB Malcolm Smith from the COVID list. That makes all 3 available for Sunday's game against the Steelers. None figures to be a big fantasy factor. Harrison carries nice tackle upside for IDP lineups, though, against a pass-heavy Pittsburgh offense.

Browns DE Myles Garrett is questionable for Sunday's game against the Steelers with a shoulder injury he apparently sustained in Friday's practice. He turned up limited that day after being estimated as a full participant the previous 2 days. Cleveland, of course, didn't actually practice until Friday, so it's a tough situation to read. We'll see about his status on Sunday. Losing Garrett would obviously be a huge blow for an already lackluster defense and a team with big COVID issues for the playoff opener. DT Sheldon Richardson (neck) and CB Terrance Mitchell are also questionable. Mitchell's issue is not injury related, so it's not yet clear what puts his status in question. The Browns also don't yet know if CB Denzel Ward will be able to come off the COVID list in time for the game against Pittsburgh.

Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (concussion) is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game vs. the Steelers. He was able to practice on Friday after missing the previous 2 days but still needs clearance to play this weekend. Cleveland is already expected to be without WR KhaDarel Hodge (COVID) vs. Pittsburgh.

Browns LG Joel Bitonio and WR KhaDarel Hodge have tested positive for COVID and are out for Sunday's Wild Card game vs. the Steelers. Bitonio, one of the best Gs in the league, is the big loss. Hodge's absence locks Donovan Peoples-Jones in as Cleveland's #3 WR for this one. HC Kevin Stefanski also has COVID and won't be available for the Steelers game. The Browns offense is in an extremely tough spot.

Browns DE Olivier Vernon suffered a ruptured Achilles' tendon in Sunday's win over the Steelers. He'll obviously miss the playoffs and face a challenging offseason rehab. It's particularly poor timing with Vernon set to hit free agency in March -- at age 30. We'll see what 2021 holds.

12:01pm EST 1/2/21

Browns CB Denzel Ward landed on the COVID list this week, and Cleveland.com reports that he tested positive. That means Ward will not only miss Sunday's game against the Steelers but might also not be back in time for a playoff opener next weekend. We'll see about his status for that contest next week.

Browns WRs Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge and Donovan Peoples-Jones have been activated from the COVID list. Barring a positive test, they'll all be back for Sunday's game vs. the Steelers.

The Browns have activated S Ronnie Harrison from IR. He missed the past 4 games with a shoulder injury. That follows closely behind the team placing safeties Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo on the COVID list. So expect Harrison to jump back into the starting lineup for this game. In his previous 3 games of full duty, Harrison posted 8, 10 and 6 tackles and broke up a pass in each. He also hit up the Colts for a pick-6 plus a 2nd pass defensed in the game before that span. He'll carry upside against the Mason Rudolph Steelers this week -- especially with LB B.J. Goodson also sidelined with COVID, raising the tackle upside.

Browns TE Harrison Bryant has been placed on the COVID list. We'll see if he's able to get cleared in time for Sunday's game vs. the Steelers. Bryant took on an expanded role last week with the Browns missing their top 4 WRs, catching 3 of 7 targets. But with those wideouts expected back for Week 17, Bryant is off the fantasy radar.

Browns WRs Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge are eligible to be activated from the COVID list on Thursday if they continue to test negative, HC Kevin Stefanski said. So all 4 guys should be back for Sunday's game vs. the Steelers. We'll continue to monitor the situation.

Browns WRs Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge have been placed on the COVID list as high-risk close contacts and are out for Sunday's game against the Jets. Those are Cleveland's top 4 WRs. Marvin Hall is the only other WR on the active roster. Ja'Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies are on the practice squad. We wouldn't mess with that situation in Week 16 fantasy lineups. TEs Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant and David Njoku should be busy tomorrow. Baker Mayfield, meanwhile, goes from a solid QB1 play to a shaky QB2. Expect a run-heavy game plan from Cleveland.

Update: Bradley and Willies have been promoted from the practice squad.

He Browns have placed LB B.J. Goodson on the COVID list. That obviously knocks him out for Sunday’s game against the Jets. He’s likely the player that the team announced earlier in the day had tested positive. In that case, Goodson would likely miss Week 17 as well. Malcolm Smith looks like the best bet to lead Cleveland LBs in snaps while Goodson is out, with Jacob Phillips and Sione Takitaki behind him. Smith is the only one we’d consider for IDP use this week, in most cases

The Browns announced Saturday that they have closed team headquarters and delayed their flight for Sunday's game with the Jets while running contact tracing following a positive COVID test for a player. They have yet to announce which player tested positive, so we're still waiting to see the potential fantasy impact. Check back for updates.

Browns DT Sheldon Richardson left Sunday night's win over the Giants with a neck injury. X-rays came back negative, according to Andrew Gribble of the team website. We'll see about Richardson's status heading into next Sunday's matchup with the Jets, Richardson's original team.

6:12pm EST 12/20/20

Browns TE Austin Hooper (neck) is active for tonight's game vs. the Giants. He practiced all week, including a full workout of Friday, so the neck shouldn’t be much of an issue. Hooper has totaled just 8 catches on 11 targets over his last 4 games, though, and is just a TE2.

Browns CB Denzel Ward (calf) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Giants. He put in limited practices all week after missing the past 3 games. Ward is a low-level fantasy option, and the Sunday night kickoff makes it risky to wait on him. We'll update his status Sunday evening, though.

 
 
 

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