NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Week 3: The Grind Down - Browns vs. Steelers

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is a FAST and EFFICIENT preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.

Every game will be broken down with a DFS AND DFS Prop Site mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS and Prop cheat sheet of props to bet, stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.

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Expert Rankings: Consensus best plays.
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Sports Betting Lines and Overview

Cleveland Browns DFS Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team DKSal FDSal Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Jacoby Brissett CLE $8,800 $14,000 14.5 QB30 31.71 206.44
RB Team DKSal FDSal Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Nick Chubb CLE $12,000 $16,000 14.44 RB16 58.46% 3.91%
Kareem Hunt CLE $7,600 $13,000 9.68 RB37 26.02% 10.56%
Jerome Ford CLE $200 $5,500 #N/A #N/A #N/A #N/A
WR/TE Team DKSal FDSal Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Amari Cooper CLE $9,400 $12,500 12.87 WR34 24.18% 7.67
Donovan Peoples-Jones CLE $5,400 $8,500 7.69 WR72 15.30% 4.85
David Bell CLE $1,400 $6,000 4.35 WR103 8.95% 2.84
Anthony Schwartz CLE $2,800 $5,000 2.97 WR112 5.07% 1.61
David Njoku CLE $5,200 $7,500 8.02 TE17 15.95% 5.06
Harrison Bryant CLE $4,600 $8,000 3.72 TE39 7.71% 2.44

Pittsburgh Steelers Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team DKSal FDSal Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Mitchell Trubisky PIT $8,600 $14,500 16.15 QB25 34.39 238.69
RB Team DKSal FDSal Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Najee Harris PIT $9,800 $13,500 16.45 RB11 56% 14%
Jaylen Warren PIT $3,200 $7,000 2.52 RB75 11% 2%
Derek Watt PIT $1,000 $5,000 0.72 RB96 0% 1%
WR/TE Team DKSal FDSal Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Diontae Johnson PIT $9,200 $12,000 14.73 WR20 28% 9.51
George Pickens PIT $4,800 $7,500 10.26 WR45 17% 5.98
Chase Claypool PIT $6,200 $10,000 9.64 WR53 16% 5.41
Gunner Olszewski PIT $800 $5,500 1.13 WR133 2% 0.78
Miles Boykin PIT $200 $5,000 1.29 WR131 2% 0.78
Pat Freiermuth PIT $7,000 $10,500 9.35 TE11 15% 5.02
Zach Gentry PIT $3,000 $5,000 0.73 TE77 1% 0.41
NFL DFS and Prop Site Analysis

— After blowing one of the biggest late-game leads in NFL history (up 14 on the Jets with less than two minutes to play), the Browns will look to bounce back at home against the struggling Steelers. Jadeveon Clowney has been ruled out of this game, but Cleveland will have the services of Myles Garrett. This game currently features a spread of 4.5 points and a total of only 38 points, which is the lowest of any game on this week’s schedule. Given the fact that both offenses could struggle in this one, defenses and kickers have more fantasy appeal for this showdown slate.

Jacoby Brissett hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in his first two starts with the Browns, but he’s been a decent game manager for a run-first team. Quarterbacks are always viable in showdown slates, even this one. He currently has the highest projection of any player on the Browns. His upside is certainly capped given the lack of rushing upside, which makes him a better option at utility rather than captain. The Browns don’t use a lot of three receiver sets, which hurts the appeal of David Bell and Anthony Schwartz. There are essentially only three viable options in the passing game — Amari Cooper (28% target share), Donovan Peoples-Jones (21% target share), and David Njoku (11% target share). Cooper will draw the most attention after his big game against the Jets, but Njoku has seen two redzone targets already this season, including one in the endzone.

— Even though Nick Chubb doesn’t play as many snaps as the other elite running backs in the league, he is still getting workhorse like usage in this Brissett-led offense. Through the first two games of the season, he has averaged 21.5 opportunities which he has turned into 256 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. He has slate-breaking upside and deserves consideration at captain. He also correlates well with the Browns defense, who is facing a turnover-prone quarterback. Kareem Hunt is often thought of as a backup, but he gets as much work as many starters in the NFL. He has averaged 15 opportunities per game and is the best pass-catching back on the team. He correlates negatively with Chubb in the long run, but I don’t mind playing the two running backs together on this particular slate.

Mitchell Trubisky led the team to a win in Week 1, but it had very little to do with his play. The defense created five turnovers and he did just enough to not let the Bengals come from behind and win the game. He looked lost in Week 2 against the Patriots and now has to go on the road and face a tough Browns defense. We haven’t seen his usual rushing upside as a member of the Steelers and many are already calling for him to be benched. He’s viable given the fact that this is showdown and they might be playing from behind, but we could see some big mistakes out of him in this matchup. Trubisky’s favorite target through the first two games has been Diontae Johnson, who has commanded 31% of the targets and 39% of the team’s air yards. He projects as the best wideout in this game, but he’s significantly more expensive than Chase Claypool and George Pickens. The Steelers continue to say they want to get Pickens more involved and he’s certainly been on the field a ton (78% snap share). Pat Freiermuth is very talented and is currently third among tight ends in targets per game (8.5). He’s a redzone threat and the Browns have given up decent fantasy outings to Tyler Conklin and Ian Smith in the first two games of the season.

— There were so many warning signs that Najee Harris and the Steelers could struggle to run the ball this season. For starters, they were expected to have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Through the first two games, they have lived up to the hype. They are a bottom 10 run-blocking unit and Harris has averaged less than three yards per carry thus far. It doesn’t help that he’s been dealing with a Lisfranc injury or that Trubisky doesn’t dump the ball off to him nearly as often as Ben Roethlisberger did last season. Clowney being out improves this week’s matchup for Harris a little, but there are more questions than answers with this running game. If Harris were to re-aggravate the injury, Jaylen Warren would step in and nearly be a full-time back. He deserves consideration in MME.

Strong Projections: Jacoby Brissett, Nick Chubb, Mitchell Trubisky

Strong Stack Options: Nick Chubb + Browns D/ST, Mitchell Trubisky + one or two pass catchers

Strong GPP Differentiators: David Njoku, George Pickens

Roster Construction Punts/Values: Browns D/ST, Cade York, Chris Boswell, Jaylen Warren (MME)

Favorite Prop Site Bet: Najee Harris under 77.5 rushing + receiving yards (Underdog)

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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