Kickoff Thursday, Sep 22nd 8:15pm Eastern

Steelers (
16.75) at

Browns (
21.25)

Over/Under 38.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Steelers Run D
15th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
3rd DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
12th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
11th DVOA/27th Yards per pass
Browns Run D
30th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
18th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
18th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
26th DVOA/15th Yards per pass

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

Week 3 begins with what looks like one of the more boring weeks of the season as the Steelers visit the Browns. This game has a total of just 38.5 points with Cleveland favored by 4.5, giving the Browns an implied total of 21.5 while the Steelers clock in at just 17. Yikes. 

Cleveland

Cleveland is the more exciting team here and should draw most of the ownership so we’ll start there. Nick Chubb had a massive Week 2 performance with three end zone trips, though he’s played just 54% of the snaps so far this season. Despite the low snap count, Chubb is getting the ball when he’s on the field, with 20+ running back opportunities in each game, a workload he only saw in seven out of his 14 games last year. Kareem Hunt has played about 51% of the snaps with 15 opportunities per game, pretty close to what he saw in his healthy games last season. The Browns, as they have for a few years now, are heavily focused on the run game with a passing play percentage of just 45.3% on the young season (ranked 30th in the NFL), while Chubb and Hunt are a 1A/1B pairing who will both see plenty of work in a given game. Surprise surprise, Cleveland doesn’t want to put the ball in Jacoby Brissett’s hands. They’re happy to run all game as long as the game script allows for it. Despite the modest snaps, the Brissett at QB situation has resulted in Chubb seeing larger workloads so far vs. his norms, and we should expect that to continue until DeShaun Watson returns. I’m comfortable playing Chubb and Hunt together, though I would probably run a max two of Chubb/Hunt/Brissett rule, and would definitely do so for any roster in which one of them is in the captain spot unless you’re trying to bet on a one-sided beatdown. Behind the two primary guys, Demetric Felton will get a touch or two and can be used as an MME punt play with upside should something happen to Chubb or Hunt during the game.

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In the passing game, Brissett has averaged 30 attempts per game so far. So, while he isn’t at Justin Fields levels of low pass volume, there isn’t a lot to go around in this offense, especially once you notice that he’s only averaging 6.2 yards per completion. Brissett is a short-area QB who can be reasonably accurate but isn’t going to throw up many deep balls, meaning you’re going to need volume, touchdowns, or broken plays for receivers to pay off here. Amari Cooper is obviously your best bet here, as he leads the team with 16 targets on the season. Cooper is coming off of a big game, which has driven up his price, and $9,400 is a lot to pay for a receiver whose likeliest projection is six or seven short targets, but you can view him as a pay-up to be contrarian play. Behind Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones looks to have seized the second WR spot. DPJ saw 11 targets in Week 1 and just one in Week 2, showing the volatility and low floor of this passing offense. But, at just $5,400, I’m willing to take shots on his ceiling, even if a broken play is one of the only paths to pass-catcher ceiling on this team. I want to bet on the guys who are fast enough to take advantage of a lapse in coverage (or just burn the defender). David Bell and Anthony Schwartz round out the WR group, with Bell’s role likely to grow through the season as Schwartz’s diminishes. But, this is a team that runs 12 personnel at a very high rate so these two guys are just MME dart throws at best. At tight end, David Njoku is playing almost every snap, and so far it has resulted in just six targets. Harrison Bryant is playing behind him and has eight targets. Slim pickings down here, my friends, but TE3 Jesse James is out and that might offer Bryant a bit of additional opportunity. The entire Cleveland passing attack is in the “tournament only” pool and should all be viewed as low floor, modest ceiling options. Njoku and Bryant are almost the same prices, and Njoku is clearly the better option to me as he’s been on the field more but the field will likely build this way as well so Bryant could potentially come in lower owned than he should be for a guy who is one of the few legitimately involved players on this offense. 

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Jacoby Brissett:

  • Brissett had 5 games of 15+ DK pts in 2017 (IND), but just 3 of 20+ DK pts (pass att): 22 (34) // 23.5 (30) // 27.8 (24)
  • Brissett had 9 games of 15+ DK pts in 2019 (IND), but just 4 of 20+ DK pts (pass att): 22.6 (36) // 23.5 (46) // 23.8 (37) // 31.6 (39)
  • Brissett had 3 games of 15+ DK pts in 2021 (MIA), but just 1 of 20+ DK pts (pass att): 20.3 (49)
  • Brissett has 10.9 & 16.5 DK pts on 34 & 27 att in two weeks as CLE starter
  • Stefanski’s rank in pass att as OC or HC: 30 // 28 // 28
  • PIT allowed the 10th fewest QB DK pts/g in 2021, and so far have allowed 3 TDs to 5 INT in 2022 (though now without TJ Watt for the time being)

CLE WRs:

  • WR tg through 2 weeks: Cooper (6, 10) // DPJ (11, 1) // Schwartz (2, 0) // Bell (0, 1)
  • Production through 2 wks: Cooper (3:17 // 9:101:1) // DPJ (6:60 // 0:0)
  • TY Hilton finished with 60+ yds in in 4/16 games in 2017 (3g of 20+ DK pts)
  • TY Hilton finished with 60+ yds in 4/10 games in 2019 (2g of 20+ DK pts)
  • Waddle & Parker finished with 60+ yds in 1 of 5 Brissett games each in 2021 (0g of 20+ DK pts)
  • Cooper’s two career games vs PIT: 7:88:1 (2015, 15th def pass DVOA) // 5:67 (2020, 1st def pass DVOA)
  • WRs vs PIT in 2022: Chase (10:129:1), Boyd (4:33:1) // Agholor (6:110:1), Meyers (9:95)
  • Cooper had just 3 games of 20+ DK pts with DAL in 2021: 21.5 (WAS) // 29.2 (MIN) // 41.9 (TB)

CLE TEs:

  • TE targets through 2 weeks: Njoku (1, 5) // Bryant (4, 4)
  • Production through 2 weeks: Njoku (1:7 // 3:32) // Bryant (2:18 // 3:45)
  • Playing against Hurst, Henry, & Jonnu in the first two weeks, only TE production allowed so far by PIT: Hurst (5:46)
  • 2017 (IND): Doyle had 40+ yds in 9/15 g
  • 2019 (IND): Doyle had 40+ yds in 4/16 g
  • 2021 (MIA): Gesicki had 40+ yds in 5/5 g with Brissett
  • Bryant had as many games of 40+ yds (2) as Njoku did in all of 2021

CLE RBs:

  • Rush att through 2g: Chubb (22 // 17) // Hunt (11 // 13)
  • Targets through 2g: Chubb (1 // 3) // Hunt (4 // 2)
  • Total yds:TD through 2g: Chubb (143 // 117:3) // Hunt (70:2 // 74)
  • DK pts through 2g: Chubb (18.3 // 32.3) // Hunt (23 // 9.4)
  • RBs vs PIT (touches:yds:TDs): Mixon (36:145) // Harris (17:87:1), Stevenson (11:51)
  • Chubb’s career yds:TDs vs PIT: 21 // 75 // 92 // 79 // 108:1 // 145:1 // 69 // 58
  • Hunt’s career yds:TDs vs PIT: 110 (KC) // 80:1 (KC) // 58 // 65:1 // 57 // 41 // 61:2

Mitchell Trubisky:

  • Trubisky has yet to reach just 200 pass yds in first 2 games with PIT
  • QBs vs CLE: Baker (235:1:1) // Flacco (307:4:0)
  • Flacco was a Chubb slide away from finishing with 184 yds, 2 TD
  • CLE ranked 7th in def pass DVOA in 2021
  • Trubisky yds/att in 2022: 5.1 vs CIN // 5.1 vs NE

PIT WRs:

  • Targets: Diontae (12 // 10) // Claypool (6 // 6) // Pickens (3 // 3)
  • Yards: Diontae (55 // 57) // Claypool (54 // 26) // Pickens (3 // 23)
  • DK pts: Diontae (12.5 // 11.7) // Claypool (9.4 // 6.6) // Pickens (1.3 // 3.3)
  • PIT WRs vs CLE in 2021: Diontae (98 // 31:1) // Claypool (61 // 17)
  • WRs vs CLE: Anderson (102:1), Moore (43) // Wilson (102:2), Davis (83:1), Moore (41)
  • Diontae has 9 tg over 10+ yds // Claypool has 1 tg over 10+ yds

Pat Freiermuth:

  • Freiermuth has 10 & 7 tg through 2 games
  • Production: 5:75 // 4:22:1
  • Vs CLE in 2021: 4:44:1 (7) // 5:22 (6)
  • TEs vs CLE in 2022: Ian Thomas (2:53) // Conklin (6:40)
  • Freiermuth has 6 tg over 10+ yds
  • Freiermuth has 2 RZ targets

Najee Harris:

  • Touches through 2g: (10 att, 2 tg) // (15 att, 6 tg)
  • Total production through 2g: 12:26:1 // 21:89
  • Harris has 5 RZ touches through 2g
  • Harris vs 2021 CLE: 29:120:1 // 31:206:1
  • RBs vs CLE: CMC (14:57:1) // Carter (12:50), Hall (8:60:1)