Every year fantasy football owners are in the hunt for a sleeper who they can find late in the draft and have him become their breakout star and help push them to a championship. Everyone wants has that one guy at quarterback, running, receiver, tight end, etc. who they can spend a late round pick on only for him to become a great starter for their team.
This year, I am hitching my wagon to Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron as the breakout star at the tight end position. While many fantasy owners will spend a second or third-round pick on Jimmy Graham, you can wait until after the eleventh round before you grab your starting tight end.
There is certainly a risk gambling on a player like Cameron, who is only entering his third season and has totaled just 259 receiving yards and one touchdowns the past two seasons. But this is going to be the year where Cameron breaks out and emerges as a top ten tight end in fantasy football.
The first thing that stands out about Cameron is his size and speed. Cameron stands at 6′ 5″ and 245 lbs. and runs an incredible 4.59 40-yard dash. He has the size to physically outmatch cornerbacks and the speed to get past linebackers. If a pass is overthrown, Weeden has shown the ability to go up and grab it and secure it for the touchdown (above). He has the rare athletic ability that you only see from the best tight ends in the game and it is just one of the reasons he should have a breakout season.
The athletic ability and talent has always been there for Cameron, but it’s also the new changes to the coaching staff that should help elevate his play. The Browns hired Rob Chudzinski as their new head coach, and he has an extensive background in offense. He served as the Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator previously and has also served as tight ends coach for the San Diego Chargers and the Browns previously. While his arrival was a boost for the Browns offense, the decision to hire Norv Turner as offensive coordinator is the real boost.
While Turner may have struggled as head coach for the Chargers, his mind for the offense and maximizing the most out of his playmakers hasn’t been questioned. His best work came with Chargers tight end Antonio Gates who went from an incredible athlete to one of the best tight ends in over a decade. Turner maximized Gates’ size and speed and put him in the perfect position to get open and he helped his quarterback get Gates the football. While it is a stretch to say Cameron will become anything close to Gates, he can still become a great fantasy tight end and surprise player this season.
Some have concerns about the Browns quarterback situation with Brandon Weeden but those may be a little overblown. While Chudzinski has stated on numerous occasions there is still a quarterback battle, Weeden has shown in training camp and during the preseason that he has made the necessary improvements. All Weeden needs to do is find Cameron running across the middle and hit him in stride for the first down, and when the Browns get inside the red zone he can just throw it up to his tight end and have confidence that he will come down with it.
Cameron has the opportunity to become Weeden’s favorite weapon during the first two games of the season. Josh Gordon will be serving a two-game suspension and Greg Little hasn’t improved as many hoped for. If Cameron can continue to develop the early chemistry that he has with Weeden, he could become a favorite in this offense. When Gordon does come back, he will stretch the field and the Browns will start to go deep. But that should open up the middle of the field more for Cameron and put the Browns in better position to score.
Don’t be afraid to wait until the 11th or 12th Round to draft Cameron as your starting tight end. Yes, you are taking a gamble to count on him as your weekly starter. But by waiting, you can use that early pick on another running back or receiver to build your depth and upgrade at a more valuable position. Then you can just draft Cameron late and watch him become a top 10 fantasy tight end this season.
Jordan Cameron 2013 Projected Stats: 58 catches, 675 receiving yards, seven touchdowns
Filed under: Fantasy Football