Last updated: October 3rd at 9:45pm ET
Team Totals: 49ers 25, Browns 21.5
Suddenly atop the AFC North, the 2-2 Browns draw San Francisco on an abnormally long week following the 49ers’ Week 4 bye. Even as Cleveland’s road demolition of the Ravens was fun to watch, it’s a little concerning that so much was due to Nick Chubb’s run-game explosion (20/165/3) ahead of facing a rested 49ers defense that held enemy backs to 54/180/0 (3.33 YPC) rushing before its off week. Chubb remains an obvious every-week RB1 with 100-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in 10 of his last 12 games, but the Browns still need more from their passing attack. … Baker Mayfield’s to-date fantasy results are QB24 > QB16 > QB29 > QB14 facing a 49ers defense that will come after him, ranking No. 9 in sack rate (7.9%) keyed by red-hot rookie DE Nick Bosa, interior dominator DeForest Buckner, and underrated nickel rusher Ronald Blair. Mayfield’s 43.4 under-pressure QB rating ranks 25th among 27 qualified passers at PFF. He also may be without reliable possession target Jarvis Landry (concussion). I’d call Mayfield a boom-bust fantasy option, but we haven’t seen him boom since December of 2018.
Mayfield’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Odell Beckham 37; Jarvis Landry 33; Chubb 19; Damion Ratley 13; D’Ernest Johnson 6; Ricky Seals-Jones and Dontrell Hilliard 5; Demetrius Harris 4; Rashard Higgins 3. … One reason for Mayfield optimism is how well this game sets up for Beckham to rebound from last week’s 2/20/0 clunker. Tyler Boyd (10/122/0), John Ross (4/112/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (3/81/1), Chris Godwin (3/53/1), and Diontae Johnson (3/52/1) all delivered useful fantasy production versus the 49ers in their first three games, while RCB Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle) is out after a hot start to the season. LCB Richard Sherman never moves, and fill-in RCB Emmanuel Moseley is a second-year UDFA Browns coach Freddie Kitchens can specifically game plan to attack. … If Landry can’t get cleared, I think we will see Higgins return from his knee/ankle injury to start in the slot with a rotation of Ratley and Antonio Callaway at third receiver. … Kitchens hiked Cleveland’s Week 4 use of two-tight end 12 personnel with incredible results; per Sharp Football, the Browns averaged 17 yards per pass attempt and 10 yards per carry from the tight end-heavy formations, which most benefited Seals-Jones (3/82/1). RSJ still only ran 15 routes on 30% of the snaps, but it’s enough to put him in play on one-game DFS-tournament slates.
The 49ers come off their bye as one of fantasy’s toughest offenses to parse with Tevin Coleman (high ankle sprain) tentatively due back to give coach Kyle Shanahan four legitimate tailback options along with smallish playmaker Matt Breida, underrated jack of many trades Raheem Mostert, and north-south goal-line/short-yardage specialist Jeff Wilson. Particularly against a highly-talented Cleveland defensive front that has a significant advantage on San Francisco’s LT Joe Staley-less (broken fibula) offensive line. In season-long leagues, this is a wait-and-see week to gauge how usage is allocated. For one-game DFS slates, I’d rank the 49ers’ running backs Breida > Mostert > Wilson > Coleman. … Jimmy Garoppolo’s Weeks 1-3 fantasy results were about as uneven (QB28 > QB6 > QB27) as Weeks 1-4 scores allowed by the Browns (QB10 > QB29 > QB19 > QB3). Cleveland has successfully overcome the absences of first-team CBs Greedy Williams (hamstring) and Denzel Ward (hamstring) by generating up-front disruption with the NFL’s fourth-most sacks (14) and eighth-highest QB Hit Rate (17.7%). Garoppolo is a weak streamer, and I would take Mayfield’s projection over Jimmy G straight up as a one-game DFS play.
Garoppolo’s Weeks 1-3 target distribution: George Kittle 21; Deebo Samuel 14; Marquise Goodwin and Richie James 8; Kendrick Bourne 7; Mostert and Dante Pettis 6; Breida and Kyle Juszczyk 5; Coleman 3. … Opponents have completed 15-of-22 passes (68.2%) for 156 yards (7.1 YPA) and three touchdowns when targeting tight ends against the Browns, positioning Kittle to bust his frustrating scoring slump. Leading the 49ers in Air Yards by a 26-yard margin over runner-up Goodwin, Kittle also has yet to break off one of his trademark catch and runs for a monster gain. They’re coming. … The 49ers’ wideout corps is similar to their backfield as a massive committee wherein five members have shared time. This is how routes were divvied in San Francisco’s pre-bye win over the Steelers: Goodwin 21; Samuel and James 18; Pettis 14; Bourne 11. Situations like this are not conducive to bankable fantasy results. Hopefully for fantasy purposes, Shanahan emerges from the open date with a tighter wideout rotation.
Score Prediction: 49ers 23, Browns 20