Yahoo Single-Game DFS Breakdown: Browns at Steelers

Jan 03, 2022
Yahoo Single-Game DFS Breakdown: Browns at Steelers

It appears tonight is Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game as a Steeler, and he gets to go out with a matchup against a division foe, the Cleveland Browns.

It is vital to remember that single-game slates are not simply a “max salary, play as many big names as possible, and submit” format, especially in larger tournament fields. We need to identify players that can be pieces in their offense’s success, whether in the lead or trailing, as well as the players that could be focal points in a neutral game script. The ability to then take those players and identify which will succeed in the single-game format will put us in a better position to succeed as daily fantasy players.

Vegas Total and Spread

Pittsburgh is a 2.5-point home favorite with an Over/Under of 43 points. The Steelers have an implied team total of 22.75 points, while the Browns have an implied team total of 20.25 points.

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

Y’all ready to establish it?

This game has Nick Chubb ($33) versus Najee Harris ($23) written all over it. Neither Ben Roethlisberger ($25) nor Baker Mayfield ($20) has played well enough to be trusted to throw their team to a victory and the easiest way to open the passing game is by running with your star running back. Chubb and Harris have roles in the passing game too, which keeps their fantasy floors relatively high and keeps them on the field. Chubb’s passing role is potentially limited by D’Ernest Johnson ($15) and Kareem Hunt (Questionable - Ankle, $19). If Hunt is held out Week 17, Chubb should see a handful of targets with only a 1-2 punch in the Browns backfield.

Big Ben has the opportunity to get more through the air with the Browns missing three players in the secondary. The Browns entered Week 17 fourth in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) in half-point PPR to opposing wideouts. The Steelers have been playing from behind a lot, which has led to an elevated passing rate. That said, Pittsburgh has been throwing the ball 55% in neutral game scripts and 75% of the time in the red zone since Week 12. Part of the red zone passing is due to playing from behind, but part of it is defenses keying in on Harris when the Steelers are on the verge of scoring.

Baker Mayfield will have to be better if the Browns plan on spoiling Roethlisberger’s alleged farewell game. Over the past 10 weeks (7 starts), Mayfield has thrown 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and has not eclipsed 250 passing yards in any game. The Steelers defense ($13) has the ability to slow down an opponent’s top wideout and allow secondary options to produce. That is potentially bad news for Jarvis Landry ($15) and good news for Donovan Peoples-Jones ($11), Rashard Higgins ($10), and Anthony Schwartz ($10).

Close, low-scoring game

Nick Chubb

Kareem Hunt (if active)

D’Ernest Johnson (if Hunt is inactive)

Browns defense

Najee Harris

Diontae Johnson

Steelers defense

Close, high-scoring game

Baker Mayfield

Nick Chubb

Kareem Hunt

D’Ernest Johnson

Jarvis Landry

Donovan Peoples-Jones

David Njoku

Ben Roethlisberger

Najee Harris

Diontae Johnson

Chase Claypool

Pat Freiermuth

Blowout for home team

Ben Roethlisberger

Najee Harris

Diontae Johnson

Chase Claypool

Ray-Ray McCloud

Pat Freiermuth

Steelers defense

Nick Chubb

Kareem Hunt

D’Ernest Johnson

Jarvis Landry

Blowout for road team

Baker Mayfield

Nick Chubb

Kareem Hunt

D’Ernest Johnson

Jarvis Landry

Donovan Peoples-Jones

Rashard Higgins

David Njoku

Austin Hooper

Browns defense

Najee Harris

Diontae Johnson

Pat Freiermuth

Cheap/Unique Stacking Option

Traditional stacks such as QB/WR1 or WR2, QB/TE, and RB/DEF are stacks seen used in winning lineups. The obvious choice is not always the winning choice. Below is a cheap stack with at least one unique quality that could break the slate.

Pat Freiermuth ($17), Steelers Defense ($13), and Browns Defense ($14)

The majority of DFS players will focus on the running games and fill in with defenses and whatever else makes sense salary-wise. Roethlisberger has utilized his rookie tight end a lot this season and what better way than to go out targeting your tight end, a position that Big Ben has loved throughout his career. TE/DEF is not a traditional correlation but this game could end 13-7 with Freiermuth getting the only score for Pittsburgh. The Browns are 24th in aFPA against opposing tight ends.

Both teams rank 21st or worst in aFPA allowed to opposing defenses.

Low-Priced Volatile Plays

Donovan Peoples-Jones ($11)

DPJ’s salary is a product of Baker Mayfield’s inconsistencies because he is the team’s best wideout and deep threat. Despite low reception totals, DPJ has at least five targets in five straight games. Peoples-Jones is also on 4fof4’s Week 17 Breakout Receiver Model.

Ray-Ray McCloud ($10) and James Washington ($10)

To save digital ink I will combine these two because both can show up at any point. With Chase Claypool in the lineup, McCloud has been the receiver to get more targets between him and Washington. When Claypool has been out, both have been targeted like they are normal cogs in the offense. Washington is the aDOT option, while McCloud is the catch and run wideout.

Harrison Bryant ($10)

Bryant has only seen 12 targets since October 31, but he has caught all of them. He has two touchdowns over his last two games (three catches total). The red zone usage is his only reason to be rostered Week 17.

Superstar Picks

Ben Roethlisberger ($25)

Go out with a blaze of glory.

Najee Harris ($23)

The Browns are 20th in running back aFPA and his success could be the key to Roethlisberger finding a rhythm in the passing game.

Nick Chubb ($33)

Chubb is a top-five pure runner in the NFL and his expanded role in the passing game makes him an elite usage option in all fantasy formats. Without him, the Browns' offense would be Jacksonville North.

Diontae Johnson ($22)

Johnson has not had a double-digit target game the past two weeks. That could change Monday night especially after he saw 13 targets in the first matchup between the two teams. He finished that game with an inefficient 13-6-98, but the only way a receiver can produce is with targets.

Browns Defense ($14)

This is the last Yahoo single-game column of the season, and what better way to go out than with a similar blaze of glory as Roethlisberger? The Browns defensive line is healthy and has a favorable matchup in the trenches against Pittsburgh. Big Ben may get a statue outside Heinz Field one day, but until then he is the living, breathing version of it when he plays.

About Author