Game Overview ::
By mjohnson86 >>
- Narratives gone wild in this game: revenge, comeback, scandal, coaching hot seat . . . it’s got it all.
- Cleveland should lean into their strength on the ground to attack a Carolina defense that is at a big disadvantage up front.
- The Browns offense with Jacoby Brissett should resemble what we saw last year with an injured Baker Mayfield.
- Carolina’s offensive line is a question mark but they will likely use the strengths of their offensive personnel to mask that deficiency.
- Explosive plays may be hard to come by in this game as both teams will lean heavily on their running game and short-area passing.
How Cleveland Will Try To Win ::
Last season, the Panthers were one of the bigger “run funnel” defenses in the league as they played heavy coverage schemes and defended the pass very well, forcing passes underneath, but getting gashed up front often as a result. The Panthers have the same defensive coaching staff in place this year and haven’t significantly changed their personnel, making it likely that their defense looks very similar this year to what we saw last year . . . this is great news for the Browns.
Cleveland’s offense sputtered through the end of last season as they struggled to get things going with a clearly injured and limited Baker Mayfield. This year with Jacoby Brissett under center to start the year, we should expect a similar approach to last year when they had the 6th lowest pass-to-run ratio in the NFL. The Browns continue to have one of the top 5 offensive lines in the NFL and it should be no secret to anyone on either side of the field that they are going to look to leverage that strength into offensive success. They have a trio of talented running backs who have all shown the ability to carry the load when necessary, but should have the luxury of rotating those backs and pounding the Panthers into submission while protecting their “adequate, but not a world-beater” fill-in QB.
On the perimeter, the Browns offense will look different this year with explosive downfield options in Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones starting on the perimeter, and the uber-athletic David Njoku taking over as the starting tight end in place of the “catch and fall down” style of his predecessor, Austin Hooper. Long-term, there will likely be some very fun periods from this team. However, this week in a matchup against a high-end pass defense it is unlikely we see anything close to a ceiling performance from the passing game. During the preseason, the Browns did show a propensity to use more misdirection and horizontal concepts than we’ve seen from them in the past. Specifically, they ran some jet sweeps and quick pitches to receivers in motion as a way to try stretching the defense horizontally since they are likely going to struggle to stretch defenses vertically until a QB upgrade happens.
Overall, this side of the ball should be relatively predictable for a Week 1 NFL game. The Browns are going to run the ball at a very high rate, and likely do so in an efficient manner. When they do take to the air, they may take the occasional deep shot but will mostly focus on the short, middle of the field, screen game, and horizontal concepts as a means of moving the chains. The Browns have an above-average defense and clearly based on their actions this offseason they don’t have a lot of confidence in Baker Mayfield’s ability to go out and beat a team so their game plan here will likely be very conservative so as to not beat themselves.
By Alex88 >>
- Tied for the lowest Vegas game total on the slate (41.5)
- Live spread is only 2.5 pts
- CLE’s offensive line is ranked 2nd by PFF (CAR’s defensive line ranked 24th)
- In his lone preseason appearance, Brissett was 13/23-109-0-1
- He’s scored 20+ DK pts once in the past two seasons
- He costs only $5,200 on DK
- CAR ranked 4th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (16.5)
- Only three opposing QBs scored 25+ pts vs. CAR: Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Tom Brady
CLE Passing Attack
- The CLE WR depth chart is now Amari Cooper ($5,900 on DK), Donovan Peoples-Jones ($4,400), & David Bell ($3,600)
- After three straight seasons of 15+ DK ppg, Cooper averaged just 13.9 pts last year
- His YPRR was also at a four year low (1.65)
- He still managed 20+ DK pts three times
- DPJ scored 15+ DK pts twice with Baker Mayfield at the helm (including 29.1 vs. ARI)
- Bell’s preseason line: 6/7-82
- CAR ranked 6th in DK ppg allowed to WRs
- Notable opposing WR scores: Antonio Brown 23.1 // Brandin Cooks 23.7 // Mike Evans 26.9 // Adam Thielen 32.8
- David Njoku ($3,900) signed an extension recently to become the fourth-highest paid TE (per USA Today)
- He’s scored 15+ DK pts once in the last three years, but that came in a 30.9pt explosion vs. LAC
- CAR ranked 11th in DK ppg allowed to TEs
- Only Rob Gronkowski scored 15+ DK pts vs. CAR
CLE Rushing Attack
- PFF’s #1 ranked RB room
- Last season, Nick Chubb ($6,500) was tied for 2nd in YPA, 2nd in yards after contact per attempt, & 5th in breakaway percentage
- He averaged only 1.8 targets per game
- His 17 DK ppg ranked 11th
- He scored 25+ DK pts four times in 14 games
- Kareem Hunt ($5,700) was 9th in YPA, 8th in yards after contact per attempt, & 11th in breakaway percentage
- He averaged 3.4 targets per game
- He scored 25+ DK pts twice in 8 games
- CAR ranked 4th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (20.9)
- Only three RBs hit 20+ DK pts (Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, & Ezekiel Elliott)
- In his final season for CLE, Mayfield ($5,300) finished 23rd in PFF passing grade, 16th in YPA, 4th in ADoT, & had the highest percentage of his pressures turned into sacks (29.1%)
- He averaged 14.5 DK ppg and scored 20+ DK pts once
- CLE ranked 10th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (17.8)
- Notable opposing QB scores: Kyler Murray 25.8 // Patrick Mahomes 36.3 // Justin Herbert 45.8
CAR Passing Attack
- DJ Moore ($6,000) ranked 4th in target share (27.2%), 20th in YPC (12.4), & 11th in YAC/rec (4.8)
- He averaged 14.4 DK ppg
- He scored 20+ DK pts three times (21.9 // 23.5 // 34.9)
- Robby Anderson ($4,800) had a target share of 18.4%
- He scored 15+ DK pts twice (18 // 21.4)
- CLE ranked 10th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (34.2)
- Notable opposing WR scores: DeAndre Hopkins 20.5 // Brandin Cooks 22.8 // Davante Adams 36.4 // Tyreek Hill 40.1
- Tommy Tremble ($3,100) scored double digit DK pts once in his rookie year (10.7 vs. HOU)
- CLE ranked 18th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (13.1)
- Notable opposing TE scores: Mark Andrews 16.5 // Hunter Henry 19.7 // Travis Kelce 25.6 // Andrews 31.5
- McCaffrey’s DK game log in every game with 30+ snaps in the past two seasons: 24.7 // 24.8 // 24.9 // 26.1 // 27.7 // 28.5 // 37.1
- That’s an average of 27.7
- Take away the 37 pt game, and his average would be 26.1
- Leaders in DK ppg in the past two seasons (min 10 games): Jonathan Taylor 24.7 // Dalvin Cook 26.1
- His $8,500 DK salary in Week 1 is the third highest
- CLE ranked 13th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (22.4)
- Notable opposing RB scores: Joe Mixon 28 // Austin Ekeler 33.9