Monday Night Football NFL DFS Breakdown For DraftKings – CLE @ PIT

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Monday Night Football NFL DFS Breakdown For DraftKings - CLE @ PIT

CLE (20) @ PIT (23)

We have a matchup between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last Monday Night Football of the year. The game has little meaning for the playoffs, with both teams close to eliminated from contention. The spread is tight, and the total is low. Although the temperature should be a bit below freezing, there are no other weather concerns. There shouldn’t be a ton of offensive fireworks, but hopefully, we get an exciting game otherwise.

Cleveland Browns Overview

The upside of Baker Mayfield is severely capped by both his lack of ability and the Browns’ run-centric offense (which came first?) With the Steelers struggling more against the run than the pass, I’d expect nothing to change tonight for Cleveland. Mayfield has to be considered due to his position, but he’s not a standout option tonight.

Nick Chubb is the primary back for Cleveland. Still, Kareem Hunt (questionable) may return from injury and cut into Chubb’s upside tonight. Still, Chubb should be considered one of the top options on the slate and will carry substantial ownership. I think we also need to look at Kareem Hunt at just $5,400. He should be pretty owned also, and I don’t mind playing them together, which many will shy away from. D’Ernest Johnson should be all but irrelevant in the running game unless Hunt cannot suit up.

The Cleveland passing game centers around Jarvis Landry as WR1, with Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins serving as WRs 2 and 3. It is not a dynamic passing attack, and they don’t get much volume. None are great options, but it is a one-game slate. Landry and Peoples-Jones should get ownership around 20-30%, while Higgins should be very under-the-radar. Anthony Schwartz at WR4 is an extreme value punt option hoping for a big play or two.

On top of every other questionable thing about this Cleveland passing game for DFS is the tight-end timeshare. Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and even to a lesser extent, Harrison Bryant share work, making them hard to trust. However, this should be reflected in ownership, making them decent GPP plays.

We should see reasonably low ownership on the Browns’ DST and kicker Chase McLaughlin. Since this may be a low-scoring affair and there isn’t a lot to love outside of the running backs, both are solid options here by default.


Pittsburgh Steelers Overview

This will be Ben Roethlisberger’s last home game if you care about narratives (I don’t). This should be one of the NFL’s main ploys to pump up this otherwise meaningless game in terms of playoff implications. You would wonder if that puts a little extra juice in Ben’s now largely juiceless arm. Realistically, we should essentially expect what we’ve seen all year: a Steelers offense focused on running the ball and the short passing game. Any quarterback is playable in showdown contests, but Big Ben is not a huge priority here outside of simply being a quarterback on a one-game slate.

That brings us to running back Najee Harris. He has been a top fantasy option all year based on pure volume in a league now dominated by RB timeshares. His work in the passing game is the icing on the cake. He is a top choice tonight, and ownership will reflect that. No one else in the Pittsburgh running game should get enough work to be relevant, barring an injury to Harris. Cleveland has been a middle-of-the-road defense against both the pass and the run. There is no particular lean in terms of how to target them.

Diontae Johnson is the only consistently reliable piece in the Steelers’ WR corps. I’d expect him to get his usual workload tonight, and he is a top option that should be pretty chalky. Still, his upside is capped a bit by Ben’s lack of ability to get the ball downfield. The second most relevant option is Chase Claypool, yet his big-play upside is even more hindered. Ancillary options Ray-Ray McCloud and James Washington are tournament darts at best.

Pat Freiermuth (probable) has been a reasonably reliable fantasy asset as tight-ends go. He is a decent GPP option and shouldn’t be too high-owned at $6,600.

The Steelers’ DST and kicker Chris Boswell should be firmly considered in a game that may not feature a lot of big plays or scoring. Ownership projections as of the moment have kickers and defenses at very reasonable levels, making them more appealing, particularly in a game with this total and a lack of other great options.


Conclusion

Despite being only slight favorites, the Steelers should be the more popular team here. The running game on both sides should be favored over the passing game by the field. Using a more pass-centric approach on either side, particularly the Browns, is an excellent way to get leverage in large-field GPPs. If using a more conventional run/Steelers-centric construction, I’d look to leave salary on the table, play unusual combos, and mix in low-owned pieces. I do like using all three of Harris/Chubb/Hunt (if healthy) to play three of the best plays on the slate in a more unique way. Much of the field may shy away from playing two running backs from the same team and three overall.

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