Special Sleeper Joshua Cribbs


By Zack Cimini


Thoughts of fantasy football relevance when you look at Cleveland is minimal at best. Since 2008 the Browns as a whole have probably been near dead last for fantasy players. In terms of all around talent one player on their team has caught the eye of many in Joshua Cribbs. Cribbs began with Cleveland as a special teams threat running back several punts and kickoff returns.

Last year Cleveland decided to tinker with Cribbs a bit and utilize him more as a receiver. While his play as a returnee spiked up with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and one on a punt, as a receiver Cribbs never was a factor. There was a lot of room for Cribbs to backpedal a bit, and learn. Once the Browns saw that Cribbs really wouldn’t provide much as a receiver in 2009, they shifted him to their lead wildcat role.

While running the wildcat Cribbs caused havoc and seemingly defeated Pittsburgh with it. He Ronnie Browned the Steelers like Brown did to the Patriots. Rushing eight times for nearly ninety yards dealing a costly blow to the Steelers playoff hopes. Expect Cleveland to continue to cut a few plays here and there for Cribbs utilizing the wildcat.

2010 is a new year for Cleveland and they’ve got a new face at quarterback. Many doubt Jake Delhomme and think he is at the end of the road, after his inability to recover in Carolina. Thus far in preseason Delhomme looks steady and that’s all Cleveland wants to get out of him. A veteran that can lead a team and not lose the game solely with his arm. Which are the exact intangibles Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn lacked.

Already by watching the Browns first couple preseason games you can tell that someone has devoted serious time with Joshua Cribbs. His route running is much better which transcends and complements his natural speed. In the past preseason game against the Rams, Delhomme found Cribbs five times for thirty yards and a touchdown. Minimal action at that, Cribbs caught twenty five percent of the balls he had total in 2009. What jumps out are the type of routes he was running. Not deep burners that catch nobody off guard, but precision timing routes that no one can disrupt if the quarterback and receiver are on the same page.

Nobody has really talked about the Browns receivers as fantasy threats. Though Delhomme has had his rough days, he has put up solid numbers in years past. Someone in Cleveland will rise up to the occasion and why not Cribbs? His proved everyone wrong since his days at Kent State. In fact, he is actually listed as the Browns number one wide receiver ahead of last years rookie surprise Mohammed Massaquoi.

Chansi Stuckey could press both guys but Cleveland is going to give Cribbs every chance to be a thorn in opposing secondarys. We actually think he’ll have a more favorable shot than Devin Hester from a fantasy standpoint. Hester has dotted the radar the past few seasons but has yet to develop into a solid starting receiver. Just keep your eye on Cribbs. Would you rather draft a fifth receiver that has tremendous upside or one that is just there to fill in for a bye occasionally? Cribbs is that late round pick you need.


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