Kickoff Sunday, Nov 7th 1:00pm Eastern

Browns (
22.75) at

Bengals (
24.75)

Over/Under 47.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Browns Run D
26th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
30th DVOA/23rd Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
21st DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
26th DVOA/7th Yards per pass
Bengals Run D
9th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
2nd DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
8th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
6th DVOA/27th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By MJohnson86 >>
  • Both of these teams play at a plodding pace, meaning this game will need the offenses to be very efficient in order to take off.
  • There is a lot of uncertainty on both sides of the ball in how they will choose to attack, and how successful they will be with those strategies.
  • Cleveland’s defense has been “Jekyll and Hyde” this season and has been extremely matchup sensitive in its performance.
  • Cincinnati is a team that has evolved throughout the season and is still in the process of settling on an identity.

How Cleveland Will Try To Win ::

The Browns have what many teams aspire for — an offensive identity. They rely on their running game, which is ranked #1 in DVOA and #1 in yards per carry, to wear teams down and control the clock. Even without Kareem Hunt the last few weeks, D’Ernest Johnson has stepped in admirably and allowed Cleveland to maintain their favored approach of using multiple backs which lets the Browns heavily rely on their backfield without running one player into the ground. The Browns also play at a plodding situation-neutral pace of 33.40 seconds per snap — 29th in the league. Their ability to run the ball, which keeps the clock moving, and take their time between plays makes for long drives that shorten games with fewer possessions. 

Through the air, Baker Mayfield is quietly 2nd in the league in average intended air yards, at 9.1 yards per attempt. Cleveland’s offense leverages the success of their running game by using high amounts of play-action passing and taking deep to intermediate shots. You will often hear of teams “using short passes as an extension of the running game”, but Cleveland’s offense is not designed like that — at least usually that’s not the case. However, the Browns primarily have two players who have more explosive abilities that can be used effectively down the field: Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (DPJ). OBJ has essentially been kicked off the team and DPJ is nursing a groin injury that has kept him out of the last two games. 

After watching Mike White and the Jets dice up the Bengals by spreading them out and peppering them with short passes, perhaps the Browns look to employ a similar attack this week. It is a strategy that would make sense as they have good pass catching tight ends, solid options out of the backfield, and their wide receiver room is made up of possession-style receivers. Also, the Browns will be without All-Pro tackle Jack Conklin, which means they will likely have less success than usual running the ball. The lack of downfield threats for the Browns will make it more difficult to take shots down the field through play-action, thereby forcing them to spread the field and stretch the defense horizontally through quick passes and misdirections.

How Cincinnati Will Try To Win ::

Cincinnati’s yearlong stats don’t necessarily tell the whole story of the team they currently are. The Bengals started the year relying on their running game and protecting their franchise QB, Joe Burrow, who was returning from an ACL injury. They have gradually picked up the pace with their passing, however, and have thrown at the 4th highest rate in the league over the last two weeks. Now they are entering a Week 9 matchup with a Browns defense that provides some clear “pass funnel” features and whose performance has been very matchup dependent so far this season. What I mean by that is this:

  • KC, ARI, and LAC vs Cleveland defense — 39 points per game (ppg)
  • HOU, CHI, MIN, DEN, PIT vs Cleveland defense — 12.6 ppg

The Browns defense as a unit has some talent and can be very good. However, they have been torched by some of the better offenses in the league. This makes sense, as a unit that relies on personnel outplaying their opponents will be able to overwhelm outmatched teams. Unfortunately, when their talent advantage is neutralized, this appears to be a team that has a lot of schematic flaws and communication issues that well-coached teams can take advantage of. Cleveland ranks 3rd in DVOA against the run while struggling to the tune of the #25 ranking against the pass. The way things line up, Cincinnati is going to be incentivized to continue their recent increase in pass rate in this matchup. What we want to figure out is how successful they will be in taking to the air, which it appears depends on which group from above you think they belong in. If we break those teams down by quarterback, this is what it looks like:

  • Mahomes, Murray, Herbert — 39 ppg
  • Tyrod, Fields, Cousins, Bridgewater, Roethlisberger — 12.6 ppg

In my opinion, Joe Burrow is clearly better at this point than every quarterback in the bottom group and is playing at a level recently that would put him at least very close to the top group. My lean is that the Bengals, with their talented receiving corps and backfield, will be able to have a lot of offensive success and move the ball against this Browns team.

Likeliest Game flow ::

This is a big game for both teams and they are both average to above average on both sides of the ball. However, it is also true that none of the four units (CLE D, CLE O, CIN D, CIN O) are juggernauts that will clearly dictate how this game plays out. These teams rank 29th and 30th in situation-neutral pace and both are also top-10 in the league in run rate. However, there are clear signs laid out above that would lead us to believe that at least one of those things (run rate) will change on one or both sides of the ball this week. 

The Browns are going to slow this game down if they can — that’s just how they are built and how they’d prefer to play. Ultimately the pace, scoring, and volume that this game sees will depend on the success of the Bengals — specifically their passing game. You can look at the splits I laid out in the Cincinnati section and, based on where you feel the Bengals passing game fits in, that should give you a decent idea of how to approach this spot. If the Bengals are able to move the ball efficiently and vertically early in the game, they could build a quick lead and force the Browns to copy the Jets attack from last week with quick, spread passing. There is also a chance that the Browns lean that way from the start — when the 28th ranked offense in the league just dropped 34 points on the team you are about to play, you may want to take notice and attack similarly. In either regard, if the Browns pass rate rises and the Bengals have early success throwing the ball this game could greatly exceed expectations. The Jets, who have been one of the more plodding offenses this season, had a whopping 78 offensive plays last week against the Bengals.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Dwprix >>

Overview:

  • Sixth highest total w/ CIN favored by 2.5
  • Total opened at 46 & has been bet up to 47
  • Totals from last seasons matchups: 71 // 65
  • CLE won both matchups: 35-30 // 37-34
  • Baker Mayfield & Joe Burrow played in both games
  • Nick Chubb & Joe Mixon missed the second matchup
  • CLE has scored just 10, 17, & 14 pts the last three games
  • CIN has scored 31, 41, & 34 their last three

Baker Mayfield:

  • Mayfield has a torn labrum & fractured humerus in his non-throwing shoulder
  • CLE ranks 30th in pass atts/g (30.0), 26th in pass yds/g (221.4), & 24th in sacks allowed (2.4)
  • Mayfield has yet to attempt more than 33 passes in a game: 31 // 28 // 32 // 33 // 31 // 21 // 28
  • He has two games over 300 pass yds: 225 // 234 // 305 // 155 // 246 // 213 // 321
  • Mayfield has no games w/ three TDs but three games w/ zero TDs
  • He has just six passing TDs in seven games
  • Mayfield ($5.4k) is the cheapest he’s been all season
  • CIN allows the 16th most DK pts/g to QBs (20.5), most pass atts/g (41.0), 10th most pass yds/g (266.9), & rank T-5th in sacks/g (2.8)

CLE Rushing:

  • CLE rushed for 35:215:3 TDs Week 2 vs CIN last season
  • Nick Chubb: 22:124:2 TDs rush, 1:9 rec, 29.30 DK pts
  • Kareem Hunt (IR): 10:86:1 TD rush, 2:15:1 TD rec, 24.1 DK pts
  • Last week w/o Hunt: Chubb-16:61, 1:8 // D’ernest Johnson-4:22, 1:7
  • Chubb’s salary this week ($6.7k) ties his cheapest salary on the season (Week 5 vs LAC)
  • In eleven full games last season, Chubb topped 100 yds in six games
  • This season he has 100+ yds in two of six
  • Chubb hasn’t broke 30 DK pts since Week 6 of the 2019 season
  • However, he has broke 25+ DK pts six times in the same time period
  • CIN allows the sixth most DK pts to RBs (28.2) but 7th least rush yds/g (94.4)

CLE Receiving:

  • Jarvis Landry has played just three full games 
  • Landry tgts: 10 // 8 // 5
  • Odell Beckham has played six games
  • OBJ tgts: 1 // 6 // 8 // 3 // 7 // 9
  • CLE has only had two players reach 100+ rec yds
  • Week 6 Donovan Peoples-Jones-4:101:2 TDs, 29.1 DK pts // Week 5 David Njoku-7:149:1 TD, 30.90 
  • CIN allows the 13th most DK pts to WRs
  • CLE TE snaps:routes run last week: David Njoku-38:19 // Austin Hooper-38:17 // Harrison Bryant-23:10
  • Njoku saw 3 tgts (3:39 yds) // Bryant saw 2 (2:33 yds)
  • TE RZ tgts: Hooper-8 (leads team) // Njoku-3
  • Mayfield number of targeted receivers by week: 10 // DNP // 10 // 7 // 9 // 8 // 10 // 10

Joe Burrow:

  • Burrow lit it up last season against CLE:  35:47:406:3 TDs:1 INT (38.64 DK pts) // 37:61:316:3 TDs (28.54 DK pts)
  • He’s scored 20+ DK pts in five straight: 21.26 // 30.64 // 23.84 // 20.34 // 25.32 
  • His highest score (30.64) this season was against division rival BAL
  • DK pts: @ NYJ-21.26 // @ BAL-30.64 // @ DET-23.84 // vs GB-20.34 // vs JAX-25.32 // @ PIT-18.58 // @ CHI-13.28 // vs MIN-18.64
  • In ten games last season, Burrow scored 20+ DK pts four times 
  • His best DK pt outing last season was vs CLE (38.64)
  • Burrow vs division rivals: @ BAL-30.64 // @ PIT-18.58 // @ PIT 12.52 // vs CLE-38.64 // @ BAL-18.58 // @ CLE-28.54
  • Burrow’s season high price was last week vs NYJ ($7.1k)
  • It fell to $6.8k this week, second highest of the season
  • CLE allows the 9th most DK pts to QBs (21.9)

CIN Rushing:

  • Joe Mixon has 72% of CIN rush yds playing 66% of snaps
  • Rush Market Share: Mixon-68% // Perine-15% // Burrow-9%
  • Perine only played 14 snaps last week w/ 0 carries & 2 tgts
  • Mixon saw 14 rush atts & 5 tgts
  • He’s the most expensive he’s been all season ($7.1k) & the fifth highest priced RB on the slate (Kamara, Ekeler, Cook, Jones)
  • Mixon has three 20+ DK pt games
  • The two most recent 20+ DK pt games (Week 8 & 6) came against NYJ (allowing the most DK pts to RBs) & DET (allowing the third most DK pts to RBs)
  • CLE allows the fifth least DK pts to RBs (19.1)

CIN Receiving:

  • Boyd led CIN in rec yds in both games vs CLE last season: 7:72:1 TD, 8 tgts // 11:101:1 TD, 13 tgts
  • Higgins vs CLE last season: 3:35 // 5:71:1 TD
  • Higgins missed Weeks 3 & 4 this season
  • Tgts w/ all three WRs playing: Tee HIggins-49 // Jamar Chase-46 // Tyler Boyd-36 
  • RZ tgts: Chase-8 // Higgins-8 (in 6 games) // Boyd-6 
  • Chase’s price is up to $7.6k, 4th highest WR (Hill, Samuel, Diggs)
  • He’s had a great game in every other game this season: 13.1 // 37.10 // 13.70 // 30.90 // 13.70 // 22.50 // 13.40 // 23.90
  • Chase has a TD in all but two games w/ one 2 TD game
  • His NFL rec ranks: 4th in rec yds/g (98.3) // 2nd in 20+ yd catches (14) // T-4th rec TDs (7) // 10th in Air Yds (789)
  • Chase tgts by game: 9 // 10 // 6 // 10 // 9 // 5 // 4 // 7
  • Boyd: 8 // 7 // 3 // 5 // 11 // 6 // 9 // 4
  • Higgins: 6 // 15 // 6 // 7 // DNP // DNP // 10 // 5
  • Boyd’s price has been between $4.7k & $5.3k all season & is $5.0k this week
  • Higgins price this week ($5.3k) is the second most expensive this season going up $100 from last week
  • CJ Uzomah tgts: 4 // 3 // 3 // 2 // 6 // 1 // 2 // 2 
  • Uzomah has only two RZ tgts but 5 TDs w/ 6 plays of 20+ yds
  • CLE allows 37.4 DK pts to WRs (14th most) & 9.6 DK pts to TEs (9th least)