If you’re making Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL DFS picks for Thursday Night Football in Week 3, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.
The following recommended fantasy football lineup (for tournaments, 50/50, or head-to-head competitions) aims to lock in a relatively high floor while maximizing upside.
Browns vs. Steelers DFS picks
Today, we’re playing two FanDuel lineups, each of which includes one player who earns 1.5 times his scoring output (“MVP”), plus four Flex players. The following NFL betting recommendations are based on proprietary PFN predictive analytics pulled from decades of NFL historical data.
Using this data, I’ve built dozens of models showing actionable probabilities of better-than-expected and worse-than-expected outcomes. Criteria such as age, durability, shifting personnel, schedule, and other factors help shape these final assessments.
Browns DFS considerations
It’s too soon to know whether Pittsburgh’s defense can contain Cleveland’s backfield. But we do know that this battle is inevitable, and this outcome should determine the game’s outcome.
The Browns are both predictable and difficult to shut down. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt belong in DFS lineups most weeks. Volume is everything in DFS, and Chubb/Hunt are good bets to combine for 30+ touches and 150+ total yards. With 10 days’ rest coming, Cleveland has little incentive to manage their workloads as long as this contest remains close.
In the passing game, Jacoby Brissett probably can feed only one receiver per game. While Pittsburgh can be beaten through the air (the Patriots’ Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers looked like top-20 WRs on Sunday), I doubt the Browns will press the issue unless a negative game script forces them to take risks downfield. So our lineup shouldn’t include more than one receiver — a roll of the dice based on price and upside.
Steelers DFS considerations
If we invest in Pittsburgh’s top receiver (Diontae Johnson), we won’t have much left over to round out our lineup. But if we go too cheap, we’re not capitalizing on high ceilings. Keep in mind that Cleveland held Christian McCaffrey and Michael Carter largely in check on the ground, and aside from one nice run, Breece Hall was merely “good.”
The expensive Najee Harris brings risks that some Pittsburgh receivers don’t. And by going fairly big on Steelers receivers, we’ll need to go relatively cheap with our remaining roster spot.
Recommended Browns vs. Steelers DFS picks/lineup
I’m assuming most DFS bettors will pick Chubb as their “MVP” at $16,000. But this is a situation where we’re zigging while others zag.
I’m recommending Hunt ($13,000) instead. Chubb is on pace for 366 touches this season, the most of his career. His all-time high in 2019 culminated in his two worst ypc games in Weeks 16 and 17. While he’s not exactly getting overworked, Chubb is carrying this offense more than anyone, and coming off a short week, I’m betting that the comparably talented Hunt takes the reigns a bit more.
That leaves enough funds under the salary cap to invest in Diontae Johnson ($12,000) and Pat Freiermuth ($10,500). Both are good bets to lead Pittsburgh in targets. I simply don’t trust Harris at $13,500, which would force us to downgrade Johnson or Freiermuth.
Finally, we’re going with Donovan Peoples-Jones, who led all Browns with 11 targets in Week 1. What happened last week? Brissett locked in on Amari Cooper and took what the defense gave him. We can’t afford Cooper without abandoning Johnson, so we’re rolling the dice that Brissett once again locks eyes repeatedly with Peoples-Jones.