Archive for cleveland

NEWS: Josh Gordon could reach a settlement with NFL reducing his ban?

A source with knowledge of the Josh Gordon situation is telling that “there’s a ‘slight chance’ Josh Gordon could reach a settlement with the NFL where his one-year suspension is reduced.”

SMITTY: There are all kinds of conflicting reports floating around right now, some that suggest that the upcoming hearing will be an “all or nothing” type situation, meaning that if a violation is confirmed, the ban has to be the full year no matter what… other reports have talked about the fact that Harold Henderson will hear the Josh Gordon case, which is not good news for camp Gordon… This current report above by PFT is suggesting that a settlement could result in a suspension reduction, but most everything is educated guesswork right now. We will know something concrete soon enough, as a ruling is expected very, very soon. As of now, Jordan Cameron is the only elite Browns fantasy player entering this upcoming season. Cameron is expected to have an even bigger season than last year, where he pulled in 80-917/7TDs… without Gordon in the line-up, double-digit scores and 1,000+ yards seems to be a given for Cameron… Check out where we rank Jordan Cameron on our Week 1 Power Rankings.

NEWS: Josh Gordon blames second-hand smoke; no case ever won due to this excuse.

According to Rotoworld, no drug suspension appeal case has ever been won by a player due to “second-hand” smoke excuse. Browns WR Josh Gordon is reportedly appealing with this stance. From ESPN: “A cornerstone of both of our drug testing programs has always been that you are responsible for what is in your body,” Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of communications, said via email Tuesday. “It is stated that way in the policies.”

SMITTY: The threshold limit for illegal substances is there for a reason, so regardless of how, Josh Gordon exceeded the threshold. Even if this was a case of second-hand smoke affecting Gordon’s test, he knew the rules and should have stayed far away from any situation that could have landed him back in a position of getting suspended. While anything can happen, and other arguments/facts could surface, expecting anything less than a 16-game suspension could lead to disappointment. We should know more in days. While you wait, check out our Week 1 Line-Up Rankings.

NEWS: Josh Gordon barely failed drug test?

Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Browns WR Josh Gordon will be arguing in his appeal hearing that his positive marijuana test was “the result of exposure to secondhand smoke.” In the linked video here, ‘secondhand smoke’ is a defense often used and is not likely to holdup.

According to ProFootballTalk, Browns WR Josh Gordon passed “at least 70 drug tests” and “one test barely generated a positive.” Gordon was in Stage III of the league’s testing program, a stage a player never leaves from once they enter it. At Stage III, players must pass up to 10 drug tests per month.

SMITTY: There are all kinds of speculation pieces being written right now, some of which make sense, some of which don’t. PFT seems to have a good grasp on this situation. Essentially, PFT explains that urine samples are routinely divided into two bottles, an “A” bottle and a “B” bottle. If the “A” bottle generates a positive result, then the “B” bottle is also tested. Shockingly, the “B” bottle doesn’t have to independently generate a positive. Instead, the substance abuse policy reads that the “‘B’ bottle Test only needs to show that the substance, revealed in the ‘A’ bottle, is “evident to the ‘limits of detection’ to confirm the results of the ‘A’ bottle Test.” As PFT creatively explains, “In English, close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and “B” bottles.” In Gordon’s case, the “A” bottle test showed “a concentration of 16 ng/ml, only one nanogram per milliliter above the limits of 15. The ‘B’ bottle showed a concentration of 13.6 ng/ml — less than the threshold.” So, because the “A” bottle test was labeled “A” and not “B”, and because the “B” bottle was labeled “B” and not “A”, a positive result was delivered, which commands a minimum ban of one-year. We will certainly keep you updated as more info rolls in! While you wait, check out our Full-Season 2014 Fantasy Football Projections?

NEWS: Brian Hoyer taking the first-team reps.

According to reports, Browns QB Brian Hoyer took the first-team reps during Browns practice, and he reportedly looked very good.

SMITTY: Brian Hoyer was a dark horse of mine prior to the Johnny Manziel drafting; I still think he has strong sleeper appeal, as he isn’t even getting drafted, according to most ADP data; however, his ‘breakout’ ceiling was damaged beyond repair once Josh Gordon, who is trying to avoid a year-long ban via his August 1st appeal, got into trouble. It’s quite a shame Hoyer didn’t get his fair shot with one of the league’s best receivers (talent-wise). You got to think Manziel will be starting for the Browns at some point in 2014, but don’t write Hoyer off just yet. Looking for Full-Season 2014 Fantasy Football Projections?

NEWS: Andrew Hawkins standing out as the Browns best wide receiver prospect?

According to reports, Browns WR Andrew Hawkins is the only receiver standing out in Browns camp thus far.

SMITTY: Aside from stud tight end Jordan Cameron, who will likely lead the team in receptions, yards and TDs in 2014, Andrew Hawkins and Charles Johnson have the most sleeper/breakout appeal when looking at what’s left of the Browns wide receiver group. Sure, Miles Austin has a shot to be decent role player for the Browns, but he has all kinds of injury risk. Cameron is the only stud pass catcher on this team, the rest are at best a group of deep, deep fantasy bench guys, with Hawkins likely looking the most promising.

NEWS: Ben Tate penciled in as CLE starting RB right now?

According to’s Nate Ulrich, Browns RB Ben Tate is penciled in as the “starter” right now, with Terrance West setup to be the “primary backup”.

SMITTY: This isn’t anything new, and frankly, we’re seeing similar guess-based reports like this almost 2-3 times per week. That doesn’t mean we won’t report on them when we see them, this way we can speak to it the best we can. As I will continue to state, I love both Ben Tate and Terrance West, and I wish both backs were not on the same roster. West was my No. 2-ranked rookie before the NFL Draft, which was against the grain at the time, but Tate was a breakout of mine prior to Cleveland calling West’s name on draft day. I think if healthy, Tate can be a top 5-10RB in 2014, with double-digit touchdown upside. I do love West’s future upside, if that’s not confusing. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Ben Tate and Terrance West in heated competition?

According to, Browns coach Mike Pettine had this to say on his team’s current running back battle: “And the best competition might be Ben Tate and our guy Terrance West from Towson, who I really like.”

SMITTY: It seems like there is new and slightly different news on this battle each and every week. The bottom line here is that there is risk in owning just one of Ben Tate or Terrance West, and I love both rushers. West was my second-ranked rookie rusher well prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, and Ben Tate was a breakout candidate of mine before West landed with the Browns. It’s a shame both are on the same roster. One thing I know for certain… Tate battled it out with Arian Foster on a weekly basis in Houston, so he isn’t scared of competition, and he is easily double-digit capable if healthy and starting. I love the duo if you can be certain to secure both heading into 2014. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Josh Gordon hearing approaches.

According to ESPN, the NFL hearing on Josh Gordon’s recent positive drug test “is expected to be held within the next two weeks, according to a source.”

SMITTY: Josh Gordon also has to answer for his recent DWI, where his blood-alcohol count was tested at .09, just over the legal limit of .08. Most all sources close to this situation fully expect Gordon to be handed a 16-game suspension (which addresses just the positive drug test). No one should expect Gordon’s services in 2014, and while there is a chance he could even miss some time in 2015, I recommend trying to acquire him via trade in dynasty situations where he is being shipped off for 2nd- and 3rd-round rookie picks. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Ben Tate loves the CLE style offense; West still a threat for carries?

According to, Browns RB Ben Tate love’s Kyle Shanahan’s offense and feels that it’s a “great opportunity” for him. He also states that he likes competition, something rookie RB Terrance West is bringing. The article suggests that West is the underdog to start the season, but that he is a perfect fit for the offense.

SMITTY: Before I pump up my boy Terrance West, who was my No. 2-ranked rookie rusher before the draft (when he wasn’t in most anyone’s top 5), let me fire off this little warning shot. Ben Tate isn’t scared of a small-school rookie. Ben Tate isn’t scared of anyone. Nor should he be… Tate rotated carries weekly in an uphill battle against Arian FosterTate is use to battling it out with the league’s best. Staying healthy is Tate’s only real worry, and if he can stay healthy, he might crank out top 5-10RB numbers in 2014. Now, as for West, who I also love, he will thrive if given the chance, but honestly, I’m pulling for Tate to prove people wrong in 2014 (I just wish both runners weren’t in the same spot)… Tate easily has double-digit touchdown upside on a 15/16-game season, and he has 1,300-1,400 capability. Check out our 2014 projections on both runners here.

NEWS: Josh Gordon not likely to be cut by CLE?

According to profootballtalks, Browns WR Josh Gordon is not likely to be cut, but it remains a possibility.

SMITTY: If cut, Josh Gordon would hit the waivers system, with NFL teams getting a chance at securing the final two years of his rookie contract based on worst-to-first priority. Houston would have first crack. NBC’s Mike Florio also wrote that “if Gordon ultimately has his potential one-year suspension upheld via the appeal process, however, there’s a chance he’ll never play again, since he’d have to continue to pass up to 10 drug tests per month even while banished from the NFL.” Given how dynasty league owners are giving him away at rock-bottom prices, I honestly feel Gordon is worth trading for. I’ve seen him get acquired time and time again at future second-round value, which is 100 percent worth the risk if you ask me. If you don’t own him, try buying him at such levels. If you do own Gordon in dynasty (where you keep him for as long as you want), don’t sell cheap. It is better to hang onto the receiver, who is still just 23 years old, than it is to ship him off to some other owner in your league that is willing to wait a year or so on him. Jordan Cameron could have a top 3TE season in 2014 given he will likely lead the team in receptions. Access our 2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets!