Opponent Scouting Report: Cleveland Browns Running Backs

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 24: Isaiah Crowell
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 24: Isaiah Crowell /

The Colts’ run defense has been one of their strengths over the first two weeks of the season, but they’ll be challenged this week with a talented Browns backfield.

Despite their 0-2 start, the Colts’ run defense has been much improved this season.

They currently rank 9th in the league in run defense efficiency according to Football Outsiders. This Colts D ranked dead last in that same metric last season.

The Browns would love to establish the run on Sunday, however they’ve only averaged 75 rush yards per game over the first two weeks.

Cleveland came into the season thinking that their running game would be able to carry this offense. They built one of the league’s best offensive lines with some prudent spending in free agency, and they have two running backs who are more than capable of pounding the rock.

Isaiah Crowell averaged 4.8 yards per carry last season as he rushed for nearly 1,000 yards. However, he’s had a really rough start in 2017 as he only has 70 total rushing yards through two games.

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Crowell is always a threat to bust a big run, and that may be all he needs to get his season jump-started.

Duke Johnson provides a dynamic 1-2 punch in the backfield as he’s more of a receiving back. We highlighted him as one of our fantasy players to watch this week as he’s gained 100 total yards in the Browns’ 0-2 start.

Johnson will often line up wide, and he showed off his hands making an incredible one-handed catch last week. Hue Jackson will try to match him up with some linebackers and expose them in coverage on Sunday.