Kickoff Sunday, Oct 10th 4:05pm Eastern

Browns (
22.25) at

Chargers (
24.75)

Over/Under 47.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Browns Run D
20th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O
14th DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
11th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O
3rd DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
Chargers Run D
32nd DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
2nd DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D
23rd DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
19th DVOA/27th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Two teams with fairly different approaches to trying to win games
  • A whole bunch of fringe plays, with no one play truly standing out as a solid mix of floor and ceiling
  • One of those spots where I’ll happily let the field chase previous production on low volume plays
  • Higher likelihood we see this game play to a slugfest when compared to chances at a shootout

How Cleveland Will Try To Win ::

The Browns continue their relentless rushing attack to start 2021, checking in second in the league in situation-neutral rush rates at 53% and 26th in situation-neutral pace of play. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has pass attempts of 28/21/31/33 on the young season, with only one game over 300 passing yards (Week 1 against the Chiefs). His two passing touchdowns on the season are the fewest in the league amongst quarterbacks who have started every game (only Jacoby Brissett, Davis Mills, and Andy Dalton have fewer touchdowns of quarterbacks with at least 40 pass attempts). It’s quite clear how Cleveland wants to win games and they have largely been successful, currently sitting tied atop the AFC North with a 3-1 record (their only loss was Week 1 against the Chiefs in Arrowhead, a game they lost by four points). Jarvis Landry remains out for the Browns having been placed on the IR following Week 2. Not only are the Browns highly conservative, but they are also highly spread out. Only three players have even played over 75% of the offensive snaps in a single game this season: Donovan Peoples-Jones with 80% in Week 1 and 75% in Week 2, Jarvis Landry with 86% in Week 1, and Odell Beckham, Jr. with 79% in Week 4. That’s it! This is a team that is perfectly comfortable relying on a split backfield to carry the load on offense while their prevent defense keeps the opposition out of the end zone.

Speaking of a split backfield, running back Nick Chubb has been held between a 47% snap rate and 57% snap rate in every game so far, with Kareem Hunt landing between 38% and 53% in every game. Nick Chubb has “upside” for 20-22 running back opportunities in only the most positive game scripts while Hunt typically lands in the 14-18 opportunity range. There will be random games this season in which Chubb scores multiple touchdowns, but he’s going to need to hit the bonus to go along with it to provide a GPP-worthy score. Hunt’s receiving usage brings along an elevated floor, but he’ll need a highly efficient game to reach ceiling. The matchup on the ground yields a borderline elite 4.87 net-adjusted line yards metric, but it’s simply a case of a lot having to go right for either to reach ceiling against a Chargers team ceding 24.0 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.

This pass game is a veritable mess. OBJ is the only player worth consideration from a floor perspective and even then he is typically held below double-digit targets. Seven to nine can be expected on a standard week. Another hurdle this week is a Chargers defense built in a similar way to these same Browns, which focuses on staying behind the game and swarming the ball at the point of reception. The Chargers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers but the fourth most per game to opposing tight ends, highlighting the soft spots in this zone-heavy scheme. All of Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant have played meaningful snaps in each game this season. Keep an eye on the Browns injury report throughout the week as multiple members of the offense did not practice on Wednesday, including tight end David Njoku.

How Los Angeles Will Try To Win ::

The Chargers utilize an uptempo offense, power run game, and heavy “X” and “Y” wide receiver involvement to wear down a defense over the course of a game. Joe Lombardi’s forward-thinking offense runs primarily through Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen and has proven extremely effective against heavy zone defensive schemes. Thus far, the Chargers rank fifth in situation-neutral pace of play and 10th in situation-neutral pass rate (62%). The Chargers’ 64% 11-personnel rate fall slightly above the league average in 2021 of 58% (down from 60% in 2020), with the team in 12-personnel at a league average rate of 22%.

The run game draws its stiffest test of the season against a defense allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backfields on the backs of 3.1 yards allowed per carry and only one total touchdown allowed to the position. For comparison’s sake, the Jets allow the most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields through four weeks at 34.4. The Browns are all the way down at 12.3 allowed per game, second only to the Broncos at 10.2. The matchup yields a paltry 3.715 net-adjusted line yards metric primarily due to Cleveland’s third-ranked 3.01 adjusted line yards allowed. Austin Ekeler leads the backfield, and rightfully so, with no fewer than 58% of the offensive snaps in any game this season. That has led to running back opportunity counts of 15/18/17/20, clearly indicating a desire to limit the wear and tear on his undersized body throughout the season. After seeing zero targets in his first game of the year, Ekeler has averaged 6.67 per game in the subsequent three. Behind Ekeler, expect some combination of Larry Rountree III and Justin Jackson to rotate through, but neither can be counted on for even double-digit opportunities.

The pass game matchup appears just as difficult as the run game does for the Chargers as the Browns have allowed a stifling 57.72% completion percentage against and moderate 10.4 yards per completion against. The low completion rate against is a testament to second-year defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ 4-2-5 zone-heavy defensive scheme, which finally has the healthy personnel to be effective. This creates an interesting matchup against the now-potent “X” wide receiver for the Chargers in Mike Williams and veteran route technician Keenan Allen, who have both proven adept at finding the space against zone coverages. This setup historically favors Keenan Allen’s abilities, but the truth is both Williams and Allen are lethal in this new-look offense. Keenan and Williams serve as the only borderline every-down pass-catchers, with all of Jaylen Guyton, Jared Cook, and Donald Parham typically residing in the 50-65% range. 

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

The Browns are going to dictate the game flow for as long as they are allowed to. Put another way, we know with a high degree of certainty how Cleveland will be looking to win here, and they will continue to do so for as long as they remain within striking distance. This plan of attack will slow the game down and reduce the total number of offensive plays run from scrimmage for each team. The Chargers are likeliest to counter the slow pace and heavy rush rates with uptempo play and moderate to high pass rates. With that in mind, this is one of the more difficult matchups for the Chargers up to this point in the season. That is to say, they are less likely than a standard matchup to find the same level of success they have enjoyed against lesser opponents, not that we should expect them to completely fail here. When you add up all the pieces of this game and how they come together, we’re much more likely to see a game of two top dogs in the AFC battling for field position and trying not to be the first to make a large mistake than we are to see this game blow up.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Dwprix >>

Overview:

  • Total opened 48.5 & has moved down to 46.5 (7th highest) as of Tuesday evening
  • LAC has held all of their opponents to their lowest pt totals of the season
  • LAC pts allowed: LV-14 // KC-24 // DAL-20  // WAS-16 
  • This ranks 7th best in pts allowed/g (18.5)
  • CLE D has held two of four opponents to their lowest pt totals of the season
  • CLE pts allowed: MIN-7 // CHI-6 // HOU-21 // KC-33
  • This ranks 4th best in pts allowed/g

Baker Mayfield:

  • Faced LAC at home his rookie season going 22:46:238 yds:1 TD:1 INT
  • Mayfield has yet to top 33 pass attempts this season
  • His highest yardage output (321 yds) came Week 1 against KC who ranks 27th in pass yds allowed/g (291.8)
  • LAC ranks 5th best in pass yds allowed/g (192.5/g)
  • Mayfield has just 2 pass TDs to 2 INTs
  • Last week, he attempted a season high 33 passes but had his lowest pass yds of the season (155)
  • Due to low pass atts & also spreading his tgts out, no CLE player has a game with 10+ tgts
  • Mayfield targeted players/week: 9 // 8 // 10 // 10
  • Mayfield DK pts: MIN-9.3 // CHI-16.9 // HOU-18.5 // KC-16.6
  • LAC allows the 5th least DK pts/g to QBs (15.0) having faced Derek Carr, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, & Taylor Heinicke/Ryan Fitzpatrick

Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt:

  • CLE ranks second highest in rush rate (53%)
  • Team Rush %:Team Target %: Chubb-49%:4% // Hunt-31%:14% 
  • Hunt is third in team tgts (15), first in rec yds (121), & first in total TDs (4)
  • Chubb has 3 TDs & avgs 90.5 rush yds/g
  • LAC allows a middling 24 DK pts/g to RBs

WRs:

  • In two games, Odell Beckham has 16 tgts but caught just 7
  • OBJ team tgt share in those two: 23% // 31% 
  • CLE WR season tgt share: OBJ (2 games)-15% // Rashad Higgins-10% // Anthony Schwartz-7% // Landry (IR)-6% // Donovan Peoples-Jones-4%
  • Peoples-Jones has played the most snaps on the team outside four lineman & Mayfield
  • LAC allows the 2nd least DK pts/g to WRs (26.3)

TEs:

  • TE snaps have been split between Austin Hooper, David Njoku, & Harrison Bryant
  • Hooper-66% // Njoku-62% // Bryant 40%
  • TE targets: Hooper-16 (tied for most with Beckam) // Njoku-10 // Bryant-10
  • LAC allows the 4th most DK pts/g to TEs (17.4) having faced Waller and Kelce 

Justin Herbert:

  • Herbert has only cracked 30+ DK pts in one game this season (@ KC)
  • Weekly DK pts: 21.3 // 30.8 // 19.7 // 18.4
  • LAC is the 10th pass heaviest team
  • Herbert atts by game: 47 // 41 // 38 // 3
  • CLE has allowed the 6th fewest pass atts/g (30.8)
  • They’ve allowed the 10th least DK pts/g to QBs (22.0) having faced Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, Tyrod Taylor/Davis Mills, & Patrick Mahomes 

LAC RBs:

  • RB rush share last week: Austin Ekeler-44% // Larry Rountree-32% // Justin Jackson 9%
  • Target share last week: Ekeler-13% // Rountree-0% // Jackson-11%
  • Rush share first 3 Weeks: Ekeler-49% // Rountree-18% // Jackson-10%
  • RZ carries: Ekeler-12 // Rountree-6 // Jackson-2 (Herbert-2)
  • Ekeler is 4th on the team in tgts w/ 20 
  • Three tgts came in the RZ w/ two leading to TDs
  • His DK pts by week: LV-32.5 // KC-22.7 // DAL-22.5 // WAS-11.7
  • CLE ranks first in run defense DVOA, third in opponent rush yds/g, second in rush yds/att, & give up the second fewest DK pts/g to RBs (12.3)

LAC WRs:

  • Mike Williams’ four TDs have all came in the RZ
  • Williams is second on the team in tgts (35) & 2nd in RZ tgts (8) 
  • Keenan Allen leads team in tgts (44) & RZ tgts (10) but has just 1 TD
  • Jalen Guyton has played the 3rd most WR snaps behind Williams & Allen but seeing just 2.5 tgts/g
  • CLE D ranks 13th in pass DVOA & allow the sixth least DK pts to WRs (31.8)

LAC TEs:

  • Jared Cook is third on team in tgts w/ 23 behind only Allen (44) & Williams (35), good for a 14% tgt share 
  • Cook tgts by week: 7 // 3 // 5 // 8
  • Six tgts have came in the RZ