Joe Haden's Set to Return From Suspension

Haden's suspension is over, Browns get back much-needed top CB

10/8/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Sep 9, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) runs back an interception in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIREWith the New Orleans Saints pulling off a victory on Sunday night, the Cleveland Browns are now the league's last remaining winless team. On the bright side, their best defensive player - shutdown cornerback Joe Haden - is returning from his four game suspension for their Week 6 matchup against the Bengals.

Haden was suspended the day after the Browns' Week 1 loss to the Eagles, a game in which Haden notched an interception off of Michael Vick. He earned the suspension by violating the NFL's policy for performance-enhancing substances. Though the NFL did not disclose what substance Haden had taken, ESPN Cleveland reported that he tested positive for the stimulant Adderall. If Haden had a prescription for the drug, he likely would not have been punished.

Haden also lost $1.356 million in game checks - quite the expensive usage of a drug more commonly known for helping college students pull all-nighters during finals week.

While Haden was absent, the Browns predictably struggled mightily with opposing passing attacks. They gave up an average of 285.3 yards to opposing quarterbacks and allowed a 10:3 opposing TD:INT ratio. Perhaps the most telling statistic was that every opponent's number one wide receiver scored at least one touchdown while Haden was gone - and Victor Cruz scored three for the Giants.

While it's been a treat to play your fantasy wide receivers against the Browns the past four weeks, that will no longer be the case if your guy is his team's top receiving option. Haden is one of the top shadow corners in the game, and makes his money by keeping the ball out of the hands of opponents' top playmakers. His first task will be to keep the Bengals' AJ Green in check. While you can't bench Green in fantasy, you shouldn't expect another monster performance out of him either. However, if you have to face Joe Haden, catching him when he's gone five weeks without any game action is the way to go.

Haden won't propel the 0-5 Browns to become a playoff threat, but he'll help them lose in a less embarrassing fashion.
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