Wed May 20 6:11pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
In this Jan. 26, 2020 photo AFC wide receiver Jarvis Landry, of the Cleveland Browns, runs the ball up the field during the NFL Pro Bowl football game against the NFC in Orlando, Fla. The Browns wide receiver has made the most of being quarantined the past two months and said he's ahead of schedule as he recovers from off-season hip surgery. Landry, who has never missed a game in his NFL career, said on a Zoom call Wednesday, May 20, 2020 that his rehab has gone well and that he envisions being back in the field in August _ assuming players are allowed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
CLEVELAND (AP) Quarantine has allowed Browns Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry to focus even more on his recovery from off-season hip surgery.
Landry, who opted for surgery in February after being slowed by an injury last season, said on a Zoom call Wednesday that his rehab has gone as well as expected and he's ''a little bit'' ahead of schedule.
Landry envisions being back on the field in August - assuming players are allowed to return in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
''Rehab process is going great,'' Landry said from his Florida home. ''It's just a little difficult obviously, just some of the modality type of things I've been doing that obviously with quarantine and everything I haven't been able to have access to. So that's kind of been the toughest part of it.
''Right now I'm a little bit ahead of schedule, but the most important thing right now is taking it day by day. I can't predict when exactly I'll be on the field, whether that's July, August or September. But obviously my return date is sometime in August.''
Landry didn't miss a game last season despite a hip injury that flared up in training camp. The 27-year-old has never missed a game since breaking in with Miami in 2014 and said he's determined to keep his streak intact.
''That's one of the goals that I would set out for myself since I was a kid watching `Monday Night Football,''' he said. ''And it's still something that's in the back of my mind. Obviously I want to make sure that I'm going through this process the right way, too, and making sure that I'm healthy enough to be able to go out there and help the team win games and not hurt the team.''
Landry finished with a team-high 83 catches for 1,174 yards and six touchdowns last season. In six seasons, he has 564 catches for 6,188 yards and 32 TDs.
During the shutdown because of the virus outbreak, Landry has stayed in touch with good friend and teammate Odell Beckham Jr., who had surgery in January for a core muscle injury.
''We've been Face-Timing,'' Landry said. ''We've been kind of documenting our whole process of recovery and sending it back and forth to each other. Obviously right now, it's a crucial time in our recovery stages of getting our strength back. The healing process is kind of done. Now it's time to make sure that everything's working together.''
NOTES: The Browns signed two 2020 draft picks: TE Harrison Bryant and WR Donovan Peoples-Jones to their rookie contracts. Bryant, the John Mackey Award winner last season from Florida Atlantic, was taken in the fourth round while People-Jones, who played at Michigan, was drafted in the sixth round. Landry and Peoples-Jones became friends before the draft and Landry has been impressed with his new teammate. ''He has a lot of questions, which I admire about him,'' Landry said. ''He's asking me about punters. He's asking me about the team. He's asking me about guys on the team. I see already he's a hard worker. I see that he's eager to learn.''
May 29th: Quarterback Preview
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has 17 rushing touchdowns in 27 career starts. Only free-agent QB Cam Newton (Panthers) has had more rushing touchdowns in his first 27 starts.
Fantasy Spin: Despite below average accuracy, Newton has been a high-end fantasy quarterback for much of his career because of his rushing stats. Allen may never reach Newton's level, but his running ability can keep him in the QB1 mix.
Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods registered 613 yards after the catch in 2019 - the third-highest total in the league.
Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross averaged 7.3 yards after the catch in 2019 - tied for the fourth-highest average in the league among players who amassed 50 targets last season.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell has enjoyed a target share of between 17 and 18 percent in four of his last five seasons, with the only exception coming in 2015 (15 percent). His 17.3 percent share in 2019 was the second-highest mark of his career.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle has compiled two of the three best seasons for a tight end in terms of producing yards after the catch since at least 2015 over the last two years. His 871 receiving yards after the catch in 2018 are the most by any player over the last five seasons (and 208 more yards than second-place Travis Kelce compiled in 2016), while his 623 receiving yards after the catch in 2019 led all tight ends and trailed only Chris Godwin (629) among all players last season.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt ranked sixth among running backs with 44 targets from Week 10 until the end of the 2019 regular season. Additionally, Hunt's 49 slot snaps also ranked sixth among running backs in the league for the year despite playing only eight games.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley was on track for 66 catches for 853 yards and nine touchdowns on 101 targets prior to the Falcons trading Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots following a Week 7 loss. Over his final six games and before succumbing to an abdomen injury that ended his season prior to Week 15, Ridley's 16-game pace over the final six contests was 91 receptions for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns on 131 targets.
Fantasy Spin: Six games is a relatively small sample, but it provides a bit of rationale to those that believe Ridley could be this year's Chris Godwin. The third-year pro finds himself in a wonderful environment to make it happen, as Julio Jones will continue to command the most respect from defensive coordinators and Atlanta's defense may struggle at times yet again. As such, Ridley should be viewed as a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside.
Denver Broncos TEs Albert Okwuegbunam, Austin Fort and Jake Butt are expected to be competing for two roster spots during training camp. Okwuegbunam is considered a favorite for one of the spots.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III had 6,000-plus scrimmage yards and two Pro Bowl selections in five seasons with the Chargers, but he thinks the Broncos running scheme is better suited to his strengths as an explosive, downhill runner. Gordon had 2,587 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns in his final year in college in a zone-based offense similar. He had his moments as a perimeter runner with the Bolts, but his straight-line running style is better suited in an offense with more downhill runs. Denver has a zone-based system that's expected to feature more downhill plays under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The Broncos plan on using Gordon as their lead back despite Phillip Lindsay's presence, and in an offense better suited to his strengths as a runner, Gordon could be more efficient and give fantasy owners RB1 upside at an RB2 cost.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson hopefully will try more downfield throws this upcoming season when the team faces one-on-one coverage, according to head coach John Harbaugh. 'Those corners are going to be one-on-one and those safeties are going to be one-on-one against receivers, especially on downfield throws, and we got to make them pay for it,' Harbaugh said. 'I really do believe that's the next step for this offense from an execution standpoint. I really do believe Lamar is going to take the next step and our receivers are going to take the next step.'
Fantasy Spin: Jackson is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and would be an even more valuable fantasy option if he is able to connect on more downfield throws. Hs should be one of the first quarterbacks selected in all drafts and is a must-start option in fantasy leagues.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks thinks that Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is primed for the best season of his career in new head coach Kevin Stefanski's offense. Cleveland's 12-personnel packages featuring tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku, along with receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and running back Nick Chubb, will be hard to stop. Mayfield averaged 9.0 yards per attempt (third-most in the NFL) in 12-personnel setups last year, and that formation is Stefanski's preference. Mayfield was also much better on play-action passes last year, so the Browns should look to feature those types of plays to take the pressure off the third-year passer. Cleveland's rebuilt offensive line should also give Mayfield better protection in 2020. All of this should add up to Mayfield being much more productive under Stefanski, making him a fine QB2 target with QB1 upside after his disappointing 2019 campaign.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has not yet signed the franchise tender as he seeks a long-term deal from the team. History suggests the sides will come together before the July 15 deadline or Prescott may not be with Dallas beyond this season. Since the franchise tag was introduced in 1993, only eight quarterbacks have been tagged and all but two, Drew Brees in 2005 and Kirk Cousins in 2018, got extensions prior to the season. Prescott is coming off the best season of his four-year career throwing for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns. He enters fantasy draft season as a top-three option at quarterback in fantasy.
Free-agent LB Clay Matthews (Rams) is not receiving interest from the Cleveland Browns at this point.
Cleveland Browns RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt probably will be on the field at the same time on occasion this upcoming season, in the opinion of The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.
Fantasy Spin: Chubb will continue to receive most of the work at running back this upcoming season, but Hunt was a solid receiver out of the backfield in 2019. Chubb should be a No. 1 running back in fantasy leagues, while Hunt can be a flex option in most leagues and likely will be more valuable in point-per-reception leagues.
Free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) is still receiving interest from the Cleveland Browns even though he has not accepted their contract offer at this point.
Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs has only worked with QB Josh Allen during drills at the recent workouts in Florida.
Fantasy Spin: The team has not been able to hold offseason workouts, but Allen and Diggs have found a way to work on building their chemistry. Diggs likely will be the top option in the passing game this upcoming season and should be considered a No. 2 wide receiver in most fantasy leagues.
The Cleveland Browns could release DE Olivier Vernon if the team signs free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney, in the opinion of 710 ESPN Seattle's John Clayton. The Browns currently have Vernon and Myles Garrett at defensive end and also signed DE Adrian Clayborn earlier this offseason to a one-year, $3.75 million deal.
Baltimore Ravens WR Devin Duvernay is expected to compete with WR Willie Snead for playing time in three-receiver sets.
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott had 355 touches in 2019, making him the first running back since Ladainian Tomlinson in 2006 and 2007 to have back-to-back seasons with at least 350 touches.
Fantasy Spin: Even with the Cowboys finishing with the second-most passing yards in the league, Elliott still handled a huge workload. The volume alone should keep him firmly in the RB1 mix in 2020.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett's 11.23 yards per target and 18 receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons rank second in the NFL, and he has caught 77.2 percent of his targets in that stretch, the third-best mark.