NFL Week 3 gets underway with a Thursday Night Football matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are listed as 4.5-point favorites in the AFC North battle, and the total sits at 38.5 points.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
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
This slate is pretty uninspiring from a stud perspective. Only one player is priced above $10,000 on DraftKings: Browns running back Nick Chubb. Chubb is currently the top scoring running back in fantasy, averaging 23.8 PPR points through the first two weeks. He opened the season with 18.3 DraftKings points vs. the Panthers, and he followed that up with 32.3 DraftKings points vs. the Jets.
Chubb relies on efficiency more than volume. He’s racked up just 39 of the Browns’ 76 carries through the first two weeks, which is about as low of a mark as you’ll see for a stud running back. However, he’s averaged 5.8 yards per attempt, and Chubb has averaged at least 5.0 yards per attempt in each year as a professional. Through the first two weeks, he ranks ninth in missed tackles generated and seventh in broken tackles per attempt. Chubb flies a bit under the radar from time to time, but you can make a case that he’s the best running back in football.
He’s in a decent spot this week vs. the Steelers. Chubb has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.83 as a home favorite (per the Trends tool), and the Steelers have been slightly vulnerable against the run. They rank 18th in Football Outsiders rush defense DVOA, so there’s no reason to expect much different on Thursday.
Najee Harris will headline the Steelers’ backfield, and volume typically isn’t an issue for him. He led the team with 370 touches last year, and he tallied 15 carries and six targets last week. He turned those opportunities into 13.9 DraftKings points despite failing to find the end zone.
Harris has seen a bit more competition for touches this season, but his role in the passing game gives him a solid floor. He draws a strong matchup this week, with the Browns ranking 20th in rush defense DVOA and 22nd in pass defense DVOA vs. opposing running backs.
The Steelers offense is the only real red flag. They’ve managed just 37 points through the first two weeks, and seven of them came from the defense. The Steelers have generated minimal red zone opportunities, but Harris continues to get the bulk of them. He has 25% of the team’s red zone targets and 80% of the carries, so he should have some big games if the Steelers can generate a bit more offense.