- Tom Carpenter, Fantasy and Insider
Cleveland Browns fans likely won't get to see their top draft pick in action when the regular season opens next week. Barkevious Mingo is expected to skip their battle with the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 8 due to his bruised lung, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The Browns have scheduled a CT scan for Mingo on Monday, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder. The test should help the team make a determination on his status for Week 1. He is making progress and should be back in action by Week 2, if he does end up skipping the opener.
It's a tough hit for a defensive unit that has shown a lot of promise under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton. In fact, they carry some sleeper potential as a group in Fantasyland, even without Mingo, particularly early on when they face a number of potentially vulnerable QBs, including Ryan Tannehill, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and whichever mystery quarterback might be running the show for the Buffalo Bills come Week 5. The value of the Browns D should only rise as Mingo's health improves.
Fantasy owners should be able to find some decent IDP sleeper prospects on that side of the ball, particularly in the secondary:
"Cleveland's defense is getting some attention as a sleeper group in both real and fantasy regards heading into the season, and for good reason. It's a pretty balanced and talented unit, especially with vets like T.J. Ward ready to thrive in this aggressive and safety-friendly Ray Horton system."