When you think about the Cleveland Browns offense and all of the weapons that Baker Mayfield will have at his disposal, you think of names like Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
You probably wouldn’t think of tight end David Njoku, who isn’t exactly a household name just yet, but that is exactly why Njoku is a major sleeper going into 2019 and should be treated as such in Fantasy Football leagues.
I don’t think people realize just how good Njoku was this past year, as he hauled in 56 receptions for 639 yards and four touchdowns. And keep in mind, that came in a Browns offense that did not really kick it into gear until November.
A freakish athlete with great size, Njoku has the potential to be one of the best tight ends in football, and he may break out as a Pro Bowl-caliber star this coming season.
Obviously, Beckham and Landry will be Mayfield’s top two targets in the passing game, and fellow receivers Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins are no slouches, either.
As a result, defenses are going to be incredibly occupied covering Cleveland’s wide outs that they may not pay as much attention to Njoku as they should, leaving the middle of the field open.
In most other offenses, Njoku would attract attention, as the good majority of other offenses around football don’t have the weapons the Browns do, but because Cleveland has so many options, defenses will be forced to play off of Njoku.
With Beckham and Landry both representing bona fide deep threats, Njoku should serve as sort of a security blanket for Mayfield, as Beckham and Landry will command safety help over the top, leaving Njoku in a whole lot of one-on-one situations with linebackers who are not nearly as athletic as Njoku.
You may think Njoku won’t get as many targets with Beckham now in tow, but it’s really the opposite, as Beckham (coupled with Landry) should create more opportunities for Njoku to make plays.
There has been some concern about Njoku’s hands ever since he came into the league, but he posted a respectable catch rate of 63.8 percent this past season, demonstrating that he has improved in that area.
If the 23-year-old continues to improve in snaring passes, he could develop into a heck of a force, as we know that he has the athleticism to gain separation and to make defenders miss in the open field.
Keep this in mind, too: going into last season, Tyrod Taylor was actually the Browns’ starting quarterback up until being supplanted by Mayfield in Week 3. Now, Njoku will have a full offseason to work with Mayfield knowing he is going to be under center, so that should build the connection and the camaraderie between the two players.
There are a whole lot of reasons to like the Browns offense heading into 2019, but the biggest X-factor may very well be Njoku, who may be the player who takes the Browns offense—and your Fantasy team—to the next level.