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Steelers at Browns NFL DFS Showdown: Can Chubb Repeat a Three Touchdown performance?! Week 3 TNF (September 22)

Eric MacPherson

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NFL Week 3 Thursday Night Football: Steelers at Browns with Najee Harris and Nick Chubb (September 22)

Tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup should be interesting with the different strategies that can be employed in what is projected to be a low-scoring game. Stokastic is bringing plenty of NFL DFS tools and information for all of the different slates, game formats and sites.

This column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks. There is loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown analysis to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 3 Thursday Night Football slate featuring the Browns welcoming the Pittsburgh Steelers into Cleveland for this divisional grudge match.

NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 3 Thursday Night Football

Cleveland will be without defender DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle), while DE Chase Winovich, CB Greedy Williams and LB Chris Odom are all on the injured reserve. Offensive linemen Nick Harris and Elijah Nkansah, along with TE Jesse James, are also on that list. The only new injury for Pittsburgh is LB T.J. Watt (pectoral) being placed on the injured reserve.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 17.0 Points

Quarterback

For the full Week 3 Stokastic fantasy projectionsMitch Trubisky ranks in the bottom-five, with only two fantasy points separating him from being in last place. Cleveland has a middle-of-the-pack rushing defense, but to their credit, they rank in the top-third of the league against the pass. Trubisky is on borrowed time as a starter, though rookie Kenny Pickett likely needs a few more weeks in practice before coach Mike Tomlin bestows him with the mantle of QB1.

Through two weeks, Trubisky is averaging 35.5 pass attempts. Though he has yet to top 195 yards, at least he has only one interception against his two touchdowns. The shaky offensive line play has led to four sacks and Trubisky really has not contributed much in the way of rushing production since his second season in Chicago back in 2018.

Running Back

Najee Harris has played on around two-thirds of the snaps this season with rookie Jaylen Warren picking up the remainder of the running back activity. Fullback Derek Watt has played on only seven snaps and he rarely sees offensive opportunities.

Harris has 25 of the 33 running back carries, though he has not been particularly effective with just 72 yards on the ground. In the opener, he did find the end zone, connecting with Trubisky on a short pass. The second-year back should continue to see 80% of the backfield workload with Warren seeing around half a dozen opportunities.

Wide Receiver

Diontae Johnson has 22 of the 41 targets to wideouts with Chase Claypool getting 12 and rookie George Pickens six. That basically sums up the pecking order for this group. The talent is there for this trio, however, conservative playcalling and a weak offensive line combined with a subpar signal-caller limits their fantasy opportunities.

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth is seeing the benefits of playing in a Pittsburgh offense that has always kept the tight end position involved for the past two decades. Through the first two tilts, the former Penn State stalwart has seen 10 and seven targets, ranking second behind only Johnson in each matchup.

In the first game, he had 75 yards and in the second game, he had just 22 but scored a touchdown. Though he has a lofty salary for a tight end on both DraftKings ($7,000) and FanDuel ($10,500), if he is thought of as a WR2, then it is actually reasonable for his projected production.

Defense/Special Teams

Pittsburgh has a decent defense and they are likely to see a handful of combined sacks and turnovers, which keeps them in play for what projects to be a low-scoring affair.

Cleveland Browns: 21.5 Points

Quarterback

Jacoby Brissett is a capable backup and if not for a complete meltdown of the Cleveland defense last weekend against the Jets, the Browns would have a 2-0 record. While Brissett is near the bottom of the full-week quarterback pool, he is one of the better options for this single-game slate.

The veteran knows when to pick his spots and run when the defense loses track of him, and he has 10 carries for 53 yards. He can do just enough in the passing game to keep the offense moving and even in this top-notch unit, he should throw for 200 yards and at least one score.

Running Back

Nick Chubb of course is the primary option in this throwback offense. In Week 1, he rolled up 141 rushing yards in Carolina, then last Sunday he had 113 combined yards and three touchdowns in the disappointing home loss to the Jets. The only concern with Chubb is that he has been on the field for only two more snaps than his counterpart Kareem Hunt. Demetric Felton is the only other running back to see action this season and he has been on the field for 11 and 12 offensive plays through the first two weeks.

Hunt has made the most of his opportunities, rolling up 104 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Additionally, he leads the backfield with six targets, converting all of them into receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. Chubb has also brought in all four of his targets tallying 28 yards. While Chubb is clearly the preferred option, Hunt is not far behind and likely would start for nearly half of the teams in the league. Felton has two targets for one catch and three yards while gaining four yards on his lone carry.

Wide Receiver

Amari Cooper had a strong Week 2 with nine receptions for 101 yards and a score. In Week 1, it was Donovan Peoples-Jones who led the way with six receptions for 60 yards. Veteran Anthony Schwartz and rookie David Bell have two and one targets, respectively. With the running backs and tight ends also active in this limited passing game, Cooper and Peoples-Jones are the only viable Cleveland options at this position.

Tight End

At first glance, Harrison Bryant looks like he is the leader at this position with four targets in each of the first two games. However, veteran David Njoku has played on 89% and 94% of the snaps, while Bryant is on the field for just less than half. Jesse James was working in as the third tight end, though he is now on the injured reserve. Bryant and Njoku are at similar salaries on both DraftKings and FanDuel, so it will be interesting to see where their projected popularity ends up landing closer to kickoff.

Defense/Special Teams

Any defense is in play against the erratic Trubisky and the Browns do have a significant home-field advantage with the Dawg Pound. This unit has six sacks through the first two games with one interception and one fumble recovery. Conceivably, they could match that production against Trubisky tonight.

Thursday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.

Week 3 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Nick Chubb: Chalk Donkeys Unite!
  2. Jacoby Brissett: Trust in the veteran who at least plays within his capabilities.
  3. Mitch Trubisky: Ugh, this is going to be a slogfest tonight. Fortunately, DFS and sports wagers have a way of making any game interesting.
  4. Diontae Johnson: Volume gets him into the top five on DraftKings with the full-PPR scoring format. On FanDuel, the two running backs below easily could outrank him.
  5. Najee Harris: Heavy workload will need to continue with 25 touches in the cards, otherwise he is unlikely to reach double-digit fantasy points.
  6. Kareem Hunt: Sees a 25% discount on FanDuel when compared to Chubb, however, the $4,400 savings on DraftKings is MASSIVE and for those looking for differentiation, definitely use him in the multiplier slot over Chubb.
  7. Cleveland D/ST: Anything less than five combined sacks and turnovers will be disappointing tonight.
  8. Donovan Peoples-Jones: The $4,000 salary savings on DraftKings and $4,500 on FanDuel make him the easy selection over Cooper.
  9. Cade York: Rookie fourth-round selection has made all five field goal attempts this season.
  10. Amari Cooper: Clearly the best wideout in Cleveland, but he has been assigned a salary that equates to actual WR1 production, which is a tall order.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Pat Freiermuth: Clearly a key member of the offense after just one season.
  2. Chase Claypool: Could get lucky with some carries and he can score from anywhere on the field. Volume as always will be the question.
  3. Pittsburgh D/ST: Would be at the top of this section if this game was in Steel City.
  4. Chris Boswell: 78% career success rate from fifty yards or more, 88% on all field goals.
  5. David Njoku and Harrison Bryant: Let personal preference be your guide, or take the least popular member of this duo for differentiation.

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Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. George Pickens: Reasonable ceiling expectation is four targets for 40 yards. Six targets for two catches and 26 yards through the first two weeks.
  2. Jaylen Warren: He likely needs Harris to be incredibly ineffective or get dinged up. Both are possibilities.
  3. Anthony Schwartz: Four opportunities in the opener, but did not see the ball on any of his dozen snaps last Sunday.
  4. David Bell: Rookie has just enough upside for a rock bottom salary to warrant his own line.
  5. Demetric Felton: DraftKings only at $400. Returns punts and could get a target or carry as the third running back.
  6. Zach Gentry: One or two targets are his ceiling as the second tight end.
  7. Gunner Olszewski: Returns punts and kickoffs for Pittsburgh, unlikely to see any offensive snaps.
  8. Miles Boykin, Benny Snell Jr. and Derek WattHard Pass!

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].


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