The Week 2 Monday night DFS double-header’s second game features an AFC North showdown between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Browns are listed as 3-point road favorites, while the total sits at 38.5 points.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Stud Picks
Nick Chubb headlines the stud section, as he looked like his usual, efficient self in Week 1. He handled 18 carries for 106 yards on the ground while catching four of four targets for 21 yards. His four targets look very promising, as the gripe against Chubb has always been his lack of usage on the ground.
However, he only ran a route on about a third of the team dropbacks, showing that the four targets were likely just a flash in the pan. Jerome Ford‘s usage appeared to be worrisome, as he handled 15 carries for 36 yards. However, eight of Ford’s 15 carries came in the fourth quarter while Cleveland was salting away a big lead.
Christian McCaffrey pulverizes the Steelers on the ground in Week 1, and now Cam Heyward is going to miss this contest. It’s hard not to be excited about Chubb tonight.
Deshaun Watson had a pretty solid fantasy stat line despite a middling performance in Week 1. He had just 154 yards passing with one passing touchdown and one interception while running for 45 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Pittsburgh got shredded through the air (honestly, everywhere) last week, and Watson had a solid start against Pittsburgh last year. He had 230 yards through the air, with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. He also added 22 yards on the ground.
Najee Harris headlines the Pittsburgh side, but he handled just six carries and two targets in Week 1. Pittsburgh was in a very negative game script, as they had an expected pass rate of 78%. What is crazy, and a great sign for Pittsburgh’s confidence in Kenny Pickett, is that they still passed it over expectation, passing on 86% of their plays.
Pickett was inefficient, averaging 5.04 yards per attempt and throwing one touchdown to two interceptions. This Cleveland defense just shut down Joe Burrow and Co. in Week 1. Their prowess is likely overstated, as we’re seeing that there’s some trouble in paradise in Cincinnati. However, Cleveland can get after the passer, and this Pittsburgh offensive line leaves a lot to be desired.
Pickett completed just 44.8% of his passes in his one start against Cleveland last year. He’s unlikely to be efficient, but he is a quarterback on a showdown slate.
Back to Harris, he played on 52.4% of the snaps, compared to 39.7% for Jaylen Warren. Warren is only $3,000, but he’s important in the discussion about Harris, and he looks like one of the top values on the slate. Warren matched Harris’ eight touches with eight as well. Harris ran 24 pass routes compared to 18 for Warren, while Warren earned six targets compared to just two for Harris.
The matchup is above average, as Cleveland allowed 4.4 yards per carry to Cincinnati backs last week. Najee Harris is far more likely to see any goal-line work, but for less than a third of the salary, I far prefer Jaylen Warren. I’m personally going to be off of Najee Harris in this spot.
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NFL DFS Midrange Picks
Amari Cooper tweaked his groin over the weekend and is currently unlikely to suit up for Cleveland. Elijah Moore had solid usage in Week 1 and could be in line for more work with Cooper likely sidelined. Moore saw seven targets, catching three balls for 43 yards. He also saw two carries.
Moore was used all over the field, running routes from the slot and outside. He also saw an 18% first-read target rate, which is very promising. Donovan Peoples-Jones is likely the other every-down receiver, but he saw just a 7% first-read target rate and is less of a priority in the offense. Peoples-Jones saw just two targets, catching one ball for 12 yards. The salary difference between these two isn’t wide enough, as I’m going to find the money for Moore.
Diontae Johnson is out with a hamstring injury, which is bad news for the Pittsburgh passing attack. George Pickens mostly took a backseat in first read targets in Week 1, seeing just an 8% clip compared to 22% for Johnson. However, with Johnson out, it should open up work for Pickens. He ran a route on 92% of the dropbacks last week, seeing seven targets and catching five balls for 36 yards.
Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins could barely get anything going against Cleveland, so it causes reason for concern for Pickens. He caught six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown in his two games against Cleveland last year.
My top target in this Pittsburgh passing attack is Pat Freiermuth. He missed some of the game with a chest injury, running a route on just 50% of the dropbacks. However, he saw a healthy 15% first-read target rate, seeing four total targets and catching one ball for three yards and a touchdown. His price is cheap, and he could see some extra work with Johnson out.
David Njoku had just three targets in Week 1, catching two balls for 24 yards. He ran a route on 69% of the dropbacks, with an 8% first-read target rate and a 12% target share. He shredded Pittsburgh last year with 9/89/1 and 4/42/1. The latter came with Watson under center. I prefer too many options in that price range and am personally uninterested in Njoku.
With Johnson out, Allen Robinson II could see a bump in usage. He had a fine role in Week 1, running a route on 88% of the dropbacks, with a 16% target share and 11% first-read target rate. He saw eight targets last week, catching five balls for 64 yards.
Calvin Austin III also looks to benefit from Johnson’s injury, seeing six targets and catching six balls for 37 yards last week. Austin will likely see lower ownership, but I prefer him to Robinson.
NFL DFS Value & Punt Picks
- Defenses & Kickers: These options are always in play in the single-game format, but make sure to correlate the rest of your lineup around them. Given the expected low-scoring nature, these options may be more appealing than usual.
- Jaylen Warren ($3,000 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): I talked extensively about Warren above, but I think he looks like one of the top values on the slate. Especially if building for a Cleveland victory, Warren makes a lot of sense.
- Harrison Bryant ($2,200 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Harrison Bryant caught two balls for five yards and a touchdown in Week 1. He’s not likely to see a lot of work, but he certainly has somewhat of a role around the goal line.
- Jerome Ford ($400 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Most of his work came in the fourth quarter, but Ford still saw seven carries in the first three quarters. He’s a tough sell on DraftKings but is a viable punt on DraftKings.
- Darnell Washington ($200 on DraftKings, $5,000 on FanDuel): Washington was on the field for 38% of Pittsburgh’s snaps in Week 1. He didn’t see a target, but he is the minimum price on both sites and should see more work in the future.