Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers: Who to Start in Fantasy?
We’re onto week 13 and the Cleveland Browns will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second time in three weeks. The last time these teams met it turned into a royal rumble at the end, but it likely won’t this time. Expect referees to have a zero policy for any extra curricular activity after the whistle.
Cleveland comes in rolling, winners of their last three games. Needing another win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Browns will come in a slight favorite with the offense playing a lot better as of late. However, they will be without Myles Garrett due to his indefinite suspension.
Pittsburgh has benched quarterback Mason Rudolph in favor of third string quarterback Delvin Hodges. Maurkice Pouncey will be out serving the second game of his two game suspension for his antics in the first meeting between the Browns and Steelers.
Names like James Connor and JuJu Smith-Schuster would usually be sure starts for fantasy owners, but that isn’t the case this week. Connor is still nursing a shoulder injury that had him out of the first matchup early. He didn’t practice Wednesday and reports suggest he will be out this week.
The same goes for JuJu Smith-Schuster, who isn’t 100% either and wasn’t able to practice Wednesday. At best, Smith-Schuster will be questionable for Sunday’s game, but that isn’t promised. Cleveland could have their way Sunday with the Steelers offense potentially. Without their two best players it could be rough sledding against a team that is on a three game win streak.
Now, let’s take a look at some players who will be a possible start on your fantasy football teams or even daily fantasy.
Nick Chubb - Chubb is currently second in rushing yards in the NFL and is building a really solid season. In just his second year in the league, Chubb has made himself one of the most complete running backs in the entire league.
Last week against the Miami Dolphins Chubb found his way with ease. Racking up his third highest outing on the season with over 25 fantasy points, he made fantasy owners happy. Over 160 total yards including 58 of them coming from three receptions. The Dolphins had no chance to stop Chubb from doing what he does best.
This week in fantasy, Chubb could serve best as your second running back option. Two weeks ago against Pittsburgh he was good for 9.2 fantasy points, mainly because he didn’t find the end zone and wasn’t a factor in the passing game. This could potentially change this week but, he will get his yards either way. Projected to go for 18.1 fantasy points, Chubb is a safe start as always.
Jarvis Landry - Jarvis Landry has been the Cleveland Browns most dependable receiver this year and that could be a testament to the attention that his best friend Odell Beckham Jr. draws. Landry is having one of his best seasons and is coming off a big time game.
Last week against his former team the Miami Dolphins, Landry absolutely went off. Notching 10 receptions for 148 yards, the wide out also caught two touchdown passes. This game was a huge one as it had him at 36.8 fantasy points. Landry isn’t always a safe bet to start at the first receiver position, but he did just that plus some last week.
Last time out against the Steelers he only caught four passes for under 50 yards, but he had a touchdown reception that really made the difference for his fantasy owners. He scored 14.3 points and that would be ideal to expect again, nearly to the tenth. Pittsburgh’s defense is tough, but Jarvis and Cleveland should once again find their way.
Browns Defense - The last two weeks the Cleveland defense has been very good to fantasy players, but he Browns will be without Myles Garrett, who they had last time these two teams met up. Oliver Vernon will likely be questionable to return however, which would be a boost for the defense as a whole.
Last time out Cleveland picked up 17 fantasy points on defense. They got after the quarterback, force turnovers and were a wrecking crew majority of the game. Four interceptions and four sacks in the same game is big time and something that defensive coordinator Steve Wilks had to be happy about.
The difference between the two contests is the Browns won’t face Mason Rudolph, who threw four interceptions in the first meeting. Instead, they will face Delvin Hodges, a third string quarterback who Pittsburgh hopes can create a spark. Things shouldn’t change for the Browns if they can generate pressure on the quarterback which could turnovers. That could fuel them to another double-digit performance.