Baker Mayfield should be one of the most popular quarterbacks today but he is not. No one has faith in young Baker against the full strength Steelers Defense at Home … but Baker has an entire city on his shoulders and you can’t help but route for the underdog. However in DFS, underdogs don’t always mean the pick to go with. With Lamar Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Tannehill and Drew Brees all on this slate, Mayfield is going very underowned today. The Steelers are 1st against QBs and 2nd against the pass and even at a less than full roster of Steelers last week in a must win, Baker threw for under 200 yards and only 1 score. He did rush for 44 yards though. The one plus I will say on Baker is that he has all of his weapons on the field. Jarvis Landry, Rashard Hollywood Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones … hmmm maybe take a pause. Ok but he also has Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant and Kareem Hunt to pass too. Ok, take some pepto and call me in the morning.
If I am playing Baker I am going full stack. Landry – Higgins – Hooper or if you want to replace Higgins with Peoples-Jones and Hooper with Bryant, I don’t have issue with it. The reality is the Browns are facing a Steelers team who feels robbed of the #2 seed and are at home and all of their defensive studs will be playing. It isn’t to say they can’t win this game – I just want to stack Baker with as many of his pass catchers as I can however because I think he will be spreading the ball around today out of necessity. See an open guy, throw to that open guy. Landry is the priority here in the stack but the other pieces you can use your judgment. #Analysis
The Brown I am most interested in however is Nick Chubb. Chubb is coming in today at literally half of the ownership of Kamara and Henry and if there is a way to beat the Steelers it is on the ground. If the Browns can establish the ground game with Nick Chubb it can open up the play action passing game that Baker loves. So to me this whole offensive game plan has to start with Chubb. Chubb did not play in the first meeting with this team in week 6 but last week he had 14 carries for 108 yards and a score. In fact all season long only 2 times has Chubb failed to have less than 15 rushing attempts. The Steelers rank 15th against running backs and are allowing over 111 yards on the ground. As a true pivot from the chalk of Kamara and Henry, I like Chubb a lot today. I do realize the narrative that if the Steelers take a big lead it will be Kareem Hunt and not Chubb seeing the work.. but I am not as much of believer on that. In both games against the Steelers this season Hunt has scored UNDER 10 Fantasy points, so I think the underlying thing here is that even if Hunt is getting some looks, he hasn’t really been doing enough to warrant fading Chubb. I won’t be.
Big Ben Roethlisberger is the second highest owned Quarterback behind Lamar Jackson and I am not surprised. Only once all season long has Ben thrown the ball less than 30 times and most recently over the back half of the season Ben has averaged a whopping 39.7 Pass Attempts per game. Wow. The Browns did present a challenge to Ben in Week 6 though holding him to 162 and 1 score. But Week 6 was a LONG TIME AGO for Big Ben who has clearly become more comfortable back in the game after a season long injury. The one pause I have here on Ben though is that Week 6 represented a season high for James Connor on the ground taking 20 carries for 101 yards and a score. So I do wonder if the Steelers buck every trend they have shown this season and try and get Connor going early and often. It makes Connor a very interesting and very contrarian (like under 10% owned contrarian) James Connor play today. I for one am not as high on Big Ben as the rest of the field. He offers zero in the running game and you really need him to break the 300 yard passing mark to make a dent in the scoring and I am not convinced he does that. I will be underweight on Ben but probably overweight on Connor, relative to the field.
I think the priority in the Steelers offense though is Diontae Johnson who has really emerged as the #1 Target in this offense. The Browns offer little resistance to wide receivers. I also like Chase Claypool a lot today in Tournaments. While Johnson offers that Cash security floor, Claypool has multiple TD upside and I like that a lot. Don’t sleep on JuJu either – especially in tournaments. Ju-Ju has red zone appeal and has seen 5 targets per game consistently. No one is playing JuJu and especially in Showdowns, I like JuJu as a contrarian play. I also think Eric Ebron should be looked at for Tight End. The lowest owned of the big 4 starters today (Andrews, Cook, Hooper, Ebron) the Browns have been terrible against Tight Ends all season and Ebron coming off of an injury may be primed to step back into his 4-5 target role. Ebron has 8 games of double digit fantasy points this season and is a sneaky TE play today. If you are playing showdowns tonight I would keep James Washington and Anthony McFarland in your player pool too….
Good Luck in your Contests!