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The case for Colt McCoy

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Posted Aug. 04, 2011 @ 12:53 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Everyone has their fantasy-football sleepers. You have yours, I have mine. Your sleepers might be my players to avoid at all costs and vice versa.

Hey, it's fantasy football. Opinions vary. And time of the essence after a lockout-marred offseason. So I'll keep this brief. If you're considering a late-round backup quarterback, here are five reasons why the Browns' Colt McCoy might be worth your while:

1. The Browns have changed offensive schemes. In Brian Daboll's offense, the Browns worked the middle of the field and didn't get the ball to the wideouts as much as team president Mike Holmgren would have liked. With new head coach Pat Shurmur installing Holmgren's preferred West Coast scheme, it wouldn't be a surprise if Cleveland's passing game perked up. 

2. He flashed potential as a rookie. McCoy threw for a season-best 281 yards in an impressive debut at Pittsburgh in October and completed 19-of-25 passes for 243 yards with two TDs and no interceptions at Cincinnati in December. He also played well in the upset of the Patriots and the down-to-the-wire loss vs. the Jets. Draw a line through poor performances against Baltimore and Pittsburgh to end the season, when he threw no TDs and six interceptions, and his rookie campaign looks even better.

3. The Browns' schedule is favorable. Cleveland plays two 2011 playoff teams in its first 11 games — and one of those clubs was Seattle, which had a 7-9 record. Note that in Weeks 4-11, the Browns play five teams that finished 24th or worse in passing yards allowed last season. Even their Week Six game at Oakland, which was second vs. the pass a season ago, doesn't look as imposing when you consider CB Nnamdi Asomugha didn't re-sign with the Raiders. Finally, although the Browns have the tough task of facing Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice each in division play, neither the Steelers nor the Ravens are stellar vs. the pass. Throwing on both defenses is preferable to running on them.

4. He has done all the right things in the offseason. McCoy has taken leadership of the offense, organizing workouts in Austin, Texas and Berea, Ohio. This is how you want your young starting quarterback to act. If nothing else, McCoy is setting the right example.

5. You will be able to draft him for a song. Unless you're in a league laden with Browns backers, you don't have to worry about taking McCoy early in your draft. In fact, there's a chance he could be available in the final rounds in 10- or 12-team formats. McCoy figures to be a low-risk pick. Should the Browns' offense falter once again, you can quickly and painlessly cut your losses.

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