October 13, 2023, 2:44 pm
San Francisco 49ers (5-0) @ Cleveland Browns (2-2) Best Lines Available
49ers (-450) @ Browns (+400): O/U 35.5 (-110)
49ers -9.5 (-108), Browns +9.5 (-110)
Bet: 10-9 +1.12u
Lean: 3-5 -1.27u
Deshaun Watson was recently ruled out for what looked before the season like it could be a clash of two juggernauts. The injuries have piled up for the Browns, but their defense remains strong. In any situation, the Browns defense led by Myles Garrett will need to be lights out for Cleveland to have a shot against the undefeated Santa Clara juggernaut.
Main Storylines to Watch
P.J. Walker was named ahead of Dorian Thompson-Robinson earlier this week: With Watson unable to play earlier in the year, it was DTR who found himself starting, but had a terribly rough performance. Now the Browns have elected to let former XFL star Walker call the signals.
Who’s turn is it to win the TD roulette in SF? Last week saw George Kittle with three TDs while prior weeks have seen Brandon Aiyuk as the favorite target. Then with Aiyuk injured, it was Deebo Samuel who took over. Is the only constant, reliable fantasy option in this offense Christian McCaffrey?
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San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy: Mr. Irrelevant has been anything but for fantasy this year. There is no reason to think his production will drop off unless the Niners see significant injuries to their pool of weapons. Purdy’s job is often easy by NFL QB standards, dumping to CMC for big pickups, but he goes above and beyond and has made great use of the two leading receivers as well as George Kittle. Purdy is a safe option with high upside, although the Browns matchup is harder than average.
Christian McCaffrey: It should come as no surprise that CMC is the RB1 on the year and the top scoring player in all of fantasy in half and full PPR. He is locked and loaded any time he is active regardless of matchup. Last week’s performance was disappointing and he still broke 11 points in standard. The highest floor and ceiling of any player in fantasy belongs to this man. It is worth noting that Elijah Mitchell is returning from injury. While that will not eat into CMC’s role, it is possible Mitchell swipes a TD here and there.
Brandon Aiyuk: Aiyuk is just behind his teammate Samuel in fantasy points but has played in one fewer game. I think it is safe to say he is the preferred option for Purdy when they are both healthy. Aiyuk’s game is typically up and down, but he should be started where available.
Deebo Samuel: Samuel has about the same breakdown as Aiyuk. His performances will be up and down, but his biggest games came with Aiyuk injured. The ceiling of whichever of the three 49er receiving threats is chosen to do the damage each week is so high, so it is hard to shy away from any of them. Just remember that the floor is low for these players and act accordingly for what your fantasy team needs.
George Kittle: After a monster week, Kittle went from middle of the pack to the TE6 on the year. It was finally his turn to shine as Purdy found him for three TDs. Kittle’s biggest issue is how good he is at blocking. He is a crucial piece of this championship contending team and the Niners are going to use him however fit to win games. This means some games he will not receive hardly any targets and it makes for a tough game to play. That being said, Kittle is still an above average TE option and can be started, just know that rarely do these Niner pass catchers go back to back as HC Kyle Shanahan loves to keep the opposition honest.
P.J. Walker: So here we are with a Walker start in Week 6 against one of the strongest defenses in the league. Last season he started five games with the Panthers and had one big week through the air, but was mostly held in check. The expectations should be set low for Walker. He is likely a safer stream than DTR was the first time Watson missed action, but it would be terribly risky to start Walker outside of a SuperFlex emergency. An argument could certainly be made for starting a skill position player in that slot over Walker.
Jerome Ford: Coming off the bye, Jerome Ford has filled in admirably for Nick Chubb, but obviously lacks the ceiling talent of the latter. Ford finds himself in a tough spot this week and a pivot away might be for the best as the Niners have been stout against the run and will be comfortable stacking the box against an unproven QB. The Browns will want to control the clock if possible, so if the ball bounces their way early, he may see a ton of volume this week.
Amari Cooper: Cooper has the unfortunate situation of being completely reliable on QB play that cannot be trusted. In the game DTR started, Cooper was held to a single catch after putting together two very solid games in Week 2 and Week 3. Cooper may be a necessity to start for a fantasy team given bye weeks, but moving to a streamer matchup could be wise in a game that is certainly not in the Browns’ favor.
Elijah Moore: Moore should be benched in fantasy this week. He was receiving a ton of targets prior to the Watson injury, but cannot be trusted with the backups in place, being held to two catches for 20 yards in Week 4 with DTR.
David Njoku: Njoku has worked lately in PPR leagues with high volume, but his yardage totals have yet to eclipse 50 in any game this year. Njoku is a risky start, but there is always a chance Walker finds him frequently underneath as the Niners keep everything in front of them and rally for tackles.
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.
I expect the Niners to go to Cleveland and take care of business. A fully healthy Browns team would surely give them some trouble, but without their starting QB, the Browns will have trouble keeping up and the Niners will pour it on like they do.
BET: San Francisco 49ers -9.5 (-108) 1.08u to win 1u (FanDuel)
BET: Brandon Aiyuk Any Time TD Scorer (+180) 1u to win 1.8u (FanDuel)