When the Steelers and Browns face each other in Cleveland to begin Week 3 on “Thursday Night Football” (8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video), there should be limited fantasy football points on the table. The game has a very low Vegas total of 38.5, but there are still some players that can get you on your way to winning your matchup.
The good news is neither team has offensive skill injuries of note going into the matchup. The bad news that quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Jacoby Brissett and the defenses limit the scoring upside of both teams.
With all that in mind, here’s breaking down the entire start ’em sit ’em picture for Thursday night, including a couple DFS lineup suggestions for FanDuel and DraftKings:
Steelers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Sit: QB Mitchell Trubisky
Trubisky has no streaming appeal at all given he’s struggling to pass for at least 200 yards in a game without much TD potential. Fantasy owners can continue to wait for rookie Kenny Pickett to help Pittsburgh’s receivers and also have some standalone value.
Start: RB Najee Harris
Harris has been battling his foot injury to keep playing, but the numbers haven’t been there so far. He has one TD from Week 1, but he’s totaled just 115 scrimmage yards on 32 touches in two games. The blocking hasn’t been improved inside as expected, and it’s been easy to load the box with no threat of a deep passing game. You still play him again because of volume, but keep in mind Cleveland has a tough run defense, so receiving and scoring will be key.
Start: WR Diontae Johnson | Sit: WRs Chase Claypool and George Pickens
Johnson hasn’t put up big numbers with Trubisky, catching a combined 13-of-22 targets for just 112 TD-less yards. That volume and target share make it clear he’s the No. 1, though, and he should have a better game against the Browns’ secondary. Claypool and Pickens can remain big-play afterthoughts until Pickett is in there.
Start: TE Pat Freiermuth
Freiermuth is off to a hot start. He caught five-of-10 targets for 75 yards in Week 1. He was quiet in Week 2 with only four catches on seven targets for 22 yards, but he found the end zone. In a landscape where there’s a major tight end drop-off after the top-tier studs, he’s an easy (almost) every-week TE1.
Sit: Steelers D/ST
Pittsburgh’s defense was amazing in Week 1 vs. Joe Burrow, but that was with T.J. Watt (pec) healthy and wreaking havoc for most of it. Things got a lot tougher minus Watt in New England. Given the Browns are so run-heavy, there will be limited chances for sacks and takeaways.
Sit: K Chris Boswell
You cannot start a field-goal artist on the road attached to this offense.
Browns: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Sit: QB Jacoby Brissett
As expected, Brissett has been a caretaker with Deshaun Watson out. He’s there to make a few clutch intermediate throws playing off the run when needed while the running backs dominate.
Start: RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt
Chubb has smashed early with 228 yards rushing with three TDs. Hunt scored twice in Week 1 and has 144 scrimmage yards over two games. They are the bread and butter of the Browns attack until Watson returns. The Steelers’ defense remains very vulnerable against the run, even more so without Watt.
Start: WR Amari Cooper
Cooper had a terrible Browns debut with three catches for 17 yards in Week 1. He looked more like himself in Week 2 with nine catches, 101 yards and a TD on 10 targets vs. the Jets. The Steelers have given up some big wideout games early to Ja’Marr Chase and Nelson Agholor. Cooper should produce a solid night.
Sit: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
This offense is incapable of supporting multiple receivers per week until Watson returns. DPJ led the team easily in Week 1 with 6 catches for 60 yards on 11 targets. In Week 2, he was blanked on one target, which was in the end zone.
Sit: TEs David Njoku and Harrison Bryant
Njoku has gone from having preseason hype to being the same old committee tight end with Bryant this time instead of Austin Hooper. Bryant is getting more run all of a sudden. You’re rolling the dice on a TD playing either of them.
Start: Browns D/ST
Myles Garrett has three sacks in two games. The Browns’ defense has looked dominant half the time and average in allowing the Panthers and Jets to come back in games. The Steelers don’t have that kind of firepower, and Garrett should lead the attack going to town up front.
Start: K Cade York
York is tied for fourth in kicker points so far with Boswell, but in this particular matchup, the rookie is the easier one to trust, likely being on the winning and higher field-goal scoring side.
Steelers vs. Browns: FanDuel single-game lineup
- MVP (1.5X): RB Nick Chubb $16,000
- AnyFLEX: RB Kareem Hunt $13,000
- AnyFLEX: WR Diontae Johnson $12,000
- AnyFLEX: TE Pat Freiermuth $10,500
- AnyFLEX: K Cade York $8,500
Chubb has the be the centerpiece here with a strong side of Hunt. Johnson and Freiermuth have been the only viable Steelers offensive assets early. York figures to be busy in a field-goal game.
Steelers vs. Browns: DraftKings Showdown lineup
- Captain (1.5X): RB Nick Chubb $18,000
- FLEX: QB Jacoby Brissett $8,800
- FLEX: RB Kareem Hunt $7,600
- FLEX: TE Pat Freiermuth $7,000
- FLEX: TE Harrison Bryant $4,600
- FLEX: Browns D/ST $3,800
Here’s the Chubb-Hunt-Freiermuth combination against with some variety. Brissett and Bryant is an interesting stack given the latter’s increased usage in Week 2. The Browns’ defense should rack up some numbers vs. Trubisky with Garrett (neck) set to be active.