What a wild time NFL Week 8 DFS has been for us. We had people cash out on some sweet GPP lineups during the Thursday game, the NFL DFS Playbook absolutely crushed for Sunday and now we’ve got the Cincinnati Bengals facing the Cleveland Browns for a Monday Night Football DFS Showdown match-up that should have everyone glued to their television sets and smartphones. Joe Burrow may not have Ja’Marr Chase tonight, but the rest of his arsenal looks fantastic. Meanwhile, the Browns have the best running back in the game on their side in Nick Chubb and they’ll look to slow down the high-flying Bengals with a heavy dose of ground-and-pound running. The over has hit in seven of their last nine match-ups, so with a 45 game total, expect a lot of points in this one. That always makes for a fun night of DFS showdown work.
Now before we begin, please take a moment to understand what exactly you are getting yourself into by playing single-game Showdown Slates. We love to have some skin in the game, for sure, but these slates are, for all intents and purposes, a lottery ticket. Sure, there are times when the chalk hits and everyone shares in the prizes, but, more often than not, you need to hit on that random dart-throw that differentiates your lineup from that of the herd in order to claim the top prize. As a result, we encourage you to play responsibly and not over-invest. Stick to the GPP contests (single-entry preferred), don’t blow your whole bankroll, and understand that, unless you are a max-entry player, you should prioritize having fun.
OK. Lecture over. Let’s get to tonight’s action.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Spread: Bengals -3.5
Weather: A few showers early but expected to clear by game-time; temperatures in the low 60s w/ winds blowing S at 8 mph
- David Njoku, TE – ankle (out)
- Pharaoh Brown, TE – concussion (questionable)
- Wyatt Teller, RG – calf (out)
- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB – knee (questionable)
- Denzel Ward, CB – concussion (out)
- Greedy Williams, CB – illness (questionable)
- Greg Newsome, CB – oblique (questionable)
2022 DVOA Defensive Rankings
- vs Pass: 7th
- vs Run: 10th
- vs Pass: 28th
- vs Run: 27th
**Please note that players not listed below are not necessarily a complete fade and any player listed can certainly be used as the MVP/Captain. These are merely suggestions for players to use when setting Showdown lineups.
Joe Burrow, QB CIN – He’s been on-fire over the last two weeks, passing for 781 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s even run two touchdowns in himself during that span. Add to that his 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in three career games against the Browns and the wave of injuries to Cleveland’s secondary and we’ve got ourselves a quarterback!
Tee Higgins, WR CIN – With the injury to Chase, Higgins steps in as the No. 1 receiver for the Bengals and the team shouldn’t skip a beat. As the No. 2, Higgins has 14 grabs for 184 yards and a touchdown over three games against the Browns and their whole secondary is now banged-up. Heading into tonight’s action the Browns ranked 21st in DVOA against the opposition’s top receiver, so look for Higgins to exploit some match-ups.
Nick Chubb, RB CLE – Is there any other Brown more deserving to sit in the captain’s seat than Chubb? He’s run against the Bengals seven times and has three 100-yard efforts and four touchdowns in his last three against them. Wyatt Teller being out does the Browns offensive line no good, but that alone isn’t enough to hurt the No. 1 running back in all of football.
Mid-Tier DFS Value Picks
Joe Mixon, RB CIN – The Browns have given up an average of 135.6 rushing yards per game with 13 rushing touchdowns allowed on the season. In fact, they gave up multi-touchdown games to Gus Edwards and Rhamondre Stevenson over the last two weeks and then over 170 yards and a score to Austin Ekeler the week before. The Bengals usually use the pass to set up the run, but it’s still produced an average of 17 carries per game for Mixon. You know Burrow loves to sling the rock, but we certainly cannot ignore Mixon in this one.
Tyler Boyd, WR CIN – He steps up a level and will be the No. 2 receiver for the Bengals tonight. However, keep in mind that he’s played 84-percent of his snaps working out of the slot and the team likely won’t deviate too much from the plan. He’ll be on the outside in two-receiver sets, but the Bengals aren’t going to need to use much 12 or 21-personnel packages, so expect top see him matched up with Greg Newsome a bunch and there’s nothing wrong with that from a Bengals standpoint.
Amari Cooper, WR CLE – He and his quarterback have put together a solid on-field rapport and Cooper is rolling this season with an average of just over eight targets per game, including four double-digit target games. He’s turned that into two 100-yard efforts and four touchdowns over his last six. He would have had another last week to give him three-straight weeks with a score, but it was called back due to a penalty. If he’s lined up with Chidobe Awuzie, it could be a tough night, but he gets moved around so much, he’ll find himself opposite Eli Apple at some point and we are all here for that one.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR CLE – Expect to see him up against Eli Apple throughout most of the night and that should be a nice physical battle. They match-up well on paper, but Peoples-Jones should have little to no trouble gaining separation down on the field. The Bengals rank 20th in DVOA against the opposition’s No. 2 receiver and the Browns are going to try to exploit that.
Kareem Hunt, RB CLE – The trade rumors continue to swirl around Hunt, so be sure to check the weekly inactives to make sure he’s still ready to go for tonight’s action. Showcasing talent for a trade is not uncommon in the NFL, so Hunt could garner a few extra looks. He’s been seeing decent red zone touches, though once the Browns hit the green zone, it’s all about Chubb, so be careful not to over-invest. He’s a contrarian play to Chubb tonight, so if you’re fading the big man, Hunt could be worth a spot in your lineup.
Jacoby Brissett, QB CLE – He’s been good, but not great. The only way you use him is if you believe the Browns are going to abandon the run and take things to the air in catch-up mode, but even that is a risk. He’s averaged just 226.3 passing yards per game and only has one multi-touchdown game. In fact, he’s only got two touchdown passes to four interceptions over his last four games, so this goes beyond contrarian.
Harrison Bryant, TE CLE – Before getting hurt, David Njoku was averaging just over seven targets per game over his last five which he was turning into six receptions for just under 76 yards per game. He was also playing between 85-90-percent of the snaps. In pure “next man up” fashion, Bryant now steps in and should see a very similar workload, including a piece of those red zone targets vacated by Njoku’s absence. With the lack of name recognition and the fact that the Bengals rank ninth in DVOA against the tight end, we should get him at low -ownership tonight.
Hayden Hurst, TE CIN – We’ve watched Hurst’s snap count go up over the past three weeks and with Chase gone, we may see it creep up even a little more. He’s also averaged six targets per game over the past three weeks and while it hasn’t brought about more than two touchdowns over his last four, we’re seeing a slight bump in numbers in full-point PPR formats. The Browns rank 12th in DVOA against the tight end, so perhaps, with no Chase, some red zone work opens up for him.
Mike Thomas, WR CIN – Obviously, he’s the “new” face in town with Chase out for a few weeks. Thomas hasn’t seen a whole lot of action this season, but should see his snaps and target share increase as the team’s new No. 3 receiver. His specialty has always been the deep ball, so look for the Bengals to deploy him in similar fashion. He’s still a bit of an unknown, so having a home in your primary lineup is risky. If you play multiple lineups, though, you’re going to want a share or two of him.
Dart-Throw DFS Bargains
Samaje Perine, RB CIN – While the Bengals have gotten Mixon more third-down work, Perine still plays a role inside the passing game. With the Browns ranking 27th in DVOA against running back pass-plays, you can throw the dart if you’re a multi-lineup player.
David Bell, WR CLE – He doesn’t see much in the way of targets, but given the limited weapons Brissett has available to him, Bell just might be a Hail Mary play for DFS.