November 17, 2023, 5:13 pm
Pittsburgh (6-3) at Cleveland (6-3)
ML Steelers (+100) @ Browns (-120): O/U 33
Steelers +1.5 (-110), Browns -1.5 (-110)
The Browns are coming off a divisional upset over the Ravens last week and they’re looking to carry that momentum into this week against another division rival. However, news broke this week that Deshaun Watson has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and they will turn to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson at QB.
The Steelers held off the Packers last week for a 23-19 win. They won the first meeting against the Browns this season 26-22 in Week 2.
Main Storylines to Watch
What does the loss of Deshaun Watson do to this offense? Dorian Thompson-Robinson will start this week. In his lone start earlier this year against the Ravens, he threw for just 121 yards and no touchdowns.
Does Jaylen Warren being listed as the starter mean anything? The coaching staff announced this week that Warren would be the starter for this game against the Browns. Is this just a ceremonial thing for hard work put in at practices or could we see more carries and touches for Warren this week?
Kenny Pickett: Pickett hasn’t thrown for more than 160 yards in his last three games and has only one touchdown in his last four. He now faces a Browns defense that allows the fewest fantasy points to QBs and only allows 136 yards passing per game. I would start other position players over Pickett this week even in a 2QB and SuperFlex league.
Jaylen Warren/Najee Harris: Warren’s role continues to grow and has been more productive lately. Here was their week 10 production:
Jaylen Warren: 52% snaps, 15 carries, 13 routes, two catches on four targets (110 total yards, TD)
Najee Harris: 50% snaps, 16 carries, nine routes, three catches on four targets (96 total yards, TD)
The Browns present a tough run defense, but I would start both of these backs given the team’s probability of leaning on the run game in a contest they shouldn’t be behind in. I would have Warren ranked a couple of spots higher than Harris.
Diontae Johnson/George Pickens: Johnson had an off week last week, getting only one catch for 17 yards. But before that, he was a top-25 WR in three straight games. Pickens has had a rough stretch of games over his last three weeks. He has only had six catches in those games and finished as the WR53, WR93, and WR44. The Browns allow the fewest fantasy points to WRs this year. I would look to bench both of these options in a game where the Steelers should lean heavily on the run.
Pat Freiermuth: Pat Freiermuth looks to return this week from his hamstring injury. But he is probably an avoid this week in his first game back against a Browns defense that gives up the fewest fantasy points to TEs this year.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson: Thompson-Robinson finished as the QB30 in his only start earlier this year. The Steelers allow 259 yards passing per game, but much like Pickett, there are probably other safer options for you to start in a 2QB and SuperFlex league this week in a game where the Browns could struggle to put up points.
Jerome Ford/Kareem Hunt: Ford has dominated rush attempts over the last two weeks, getting 37 carries to 24 for Hunt. Ford has also been the preferred choice in the receiving game getting eight targets to Hunt’s one. But Hunt has been the goal-line specialist as he has now scored in five straight games. The Steelers give up the seventh most fantasy points to RBs this year. Even with a rookie at QB, I would start Ford as an RB2, while Hunt would be more of a desperation flex play.
Amari Cooper: Cooper is the only WR on this team worth consideration in fantasy lineups this week with the change at QB. Cooper has seen a high target volume in the last three weeks to finish as the WR26, WR4, and WR18. In week 2 against the Ravens with this QB, Cooper was held to one catch for 16 yards. This is a Steelers defense that allows the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to WRs. I think with a full week to prepare, the staff will figure out ways to get Cooper the ball but Cooper is just a fringe WR3 start this week.
David Njoku: Njoku has been a top-seven TE in two out of his last three games. But the Steelers have only given up one receiving touchdown to TEs this year and allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position as well. Thompson-Robinson did target him though seven times in week 4 where he caught six balls for 46 yards. I would just keep Njoku in lineups instead of trying to find a streaming option.
- Betting Insight
PLEASE NOTE: This is intended for entertainment purposes. This is not intended as gambling advice. If you are looking for gambling advice from professionals, please sign up for the SportsEthos WagerPass. These are the thoughts of our fantasy football division experts, and some are sure to be better than others.
In the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers are 23-8-2 against the spread as underdogs. This feels like a similar game for the Brown’s rookie QB that he had against the Ravens earlier in the year.
Bet: Steelers +1.5 (-110) (DraftKings)