When news emerged that Brandon Weeden would miss Cleveland's Week 3 matchup with Minnesota due to a thumb injury, there were not a large percentage of observers that were predicting a prolific day for the Browns offense. Those negative prognostications intensified when the shocking trade of Trent Richardson also occurred just hours later, which was only four days before their encounter with the Vikings. All of which resulted in low expectations for Brian Hoyer, who would be making just his second career start, despite the fact that he has been in the NFL since 2009.
But Hoyer spearheaded a surprising 31-27 win, producing 321 yards and three TDs in the process. He also tossed three INTs, but his performance exceeded anything that Weeden had achieved this season, and elevated him into consideration for fantasy rosters. To be fair, 146 of Hoyer’s passing yards came on connections with proven big play WR Josh Gordon, who had returned from his two-game suspension. His presence would undoubtedly have benefitted Weeden during Weeks 1 and 2. Gordon’s return also helped Jordan Cameron, who delivered outstanding production for the third consecutive contest. Not only did the third-year TE register 66 yards, but he penetrated the end zone a whopping three times. And Hoyer managed to execute his connections with Gordon and Cameron without even the remote threat of an effective rushing attack.
Yet, this does not necessarily mean that Hoyer will maintain the starting role from this point forward. Weeden’s availability for Week 4 is in question, and should be monitored. But whenever he does return, it is possible that Cleveland HC Rob Chudzinski will restore Hoyer to backup status. However, multiple sources who should know, have stated that GM Michael Lombardi is a proponent of Hoyer, which bodes well for his chances of staying in the lineup.
You should add Hoyer onto your rosters? Yes. Provided that you can accomplish that without creating a problem for yourself at another position. But even though he performed fairly well in just his second career start, it is important to avoid an overreaction to Hoyer's output. The Vikings were not particularly sharp and appeared unprepared for their contest. That will not occur often, and in fact the collective skill levels of both the coaching staff and players will be provide far more for Hoyer to contend with this week when the Browns face Cincinnati. Plus, one performance does not provide sufficient evidence that owners should make the addition of Hoyer a major priority. He is 27 years old, has been cut by three other NFL teams.
On the plus side, the combined presence of Gordon and Cameron should enable Hoyer to generate acceptable numbers, for however long that Chudzinski utilizes him as his starter. More TD passes should be on the horizon, as Cleveland’s current stable of RBs appear destined to be merged into a committee, with none of them supplying effective options in the red zone. That should give you the motivation to add Hoyer, if the reality of bye weeks and injuries dictates that your situation might warrant seizing him from the waiver wire. Then, you will be in position to observe his upcoming performances, beginning with this week’s daunting matchup with the Bengals. If he continues to generate success with Gordon and Cameron, and supplements it with the continued employment of Davone Bess as a reliable third down option, then Hoyer could eventually be considered as a bye week replacement for your usual starter, particularly in leagues that utilize 2 starting QBs. But that is only if we can witness more successful outings. And only if he has an appealing matchup.