Last updated: October 10th at 3:04pm ET.
Team Totals: Browns 24.5, Seahawks 22.5
Seattle visits Cleveland coming off a mini-bye following its thrilling Thursday night win over the Rams to face a Browns team that got eviscerated 31-3 by San Francisco on Monday night and returns home on a short week. While his team’s rest advantage helps, Russell Wilson’s main concern is the Browns’ highly-talented defensive front; Seattle’s creaky offensive line has allowed Wilson to be pressured at the NFL’s eighth-highest rate (38.3%) and hit at the seventh-highest clip (17.8%), while Cleveland ranks sixth in sacks (16) and will line up game-wrecking AFC sack leader Myles Garrett over turnstile RT Germain Ifedi for most of Sunday’s affair. Even amid valid protection concerns, I’ll keep riding Wilson as an elite every-week QB1 with top-five fantasy scores in three of his last four starts. It helps that Cleveland has allowed the NFL’s eighth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks and plays zone coverage at a 73.1% clip; Wilson has shredded zone looks for five touchdowns, zero picks, and a fiery 9.6 yards per pass attempt this year. … Rashaad Penny’s Week 5 return dealt Chris Carson’s workload a mere glancing blow; Carson out-touched Penny 28 to 8 on season highs in snaps (85%) and routes (30) and (double) caught what proved the game-winning touchdown from five yards out. With 18-plus touches in 4-of-5 games and a robust 48-reception pace in a Seahawks offense that has shown true dedication to feeding him more targets, Carson should be treated as a matchup-agnostic RB1. Creamed by Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman last Monday night, Cleveland does not present a worrisome run-defense draw, anyway, having allowed 117/586/3 (5.01 YPC) rushing to enemy backs.
Wilson’s target distribution: Tyler Lockett 36; D.K. Metcalf and Will Dissly 26; Carson 17; Jaron Brown and C.J. Prosise 13; David Moore and Malik Turner 6; Penny and Luke Willson 3. … Including playoffs, Lockett has 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in seven of his last eight games, silencing concerns about his consistency. Lockett runs 72% of his routes inside, where Cooper Kupp (11/101/2) and Willie Snead (2/61/1) beat expectations against Cleveland within the last three weeks. The weakest link in Browns DC Steve Wilks’ secondary, slot CB T.J. Carrie has been cooked for 20 completions on 29 targets (69%), 239 yards (8.2 YPA), and three touchdowns. … Metcalf has drawn more Air Yards (429) than Lockett (397), leads the NFL in end-zone targets (9), and has shown relative consistency with 60-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games. I’m still treating Metcalf as a boom-bust WR3/flex option facing a Browns secondary that should get back boundary CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams from hamstring injuries. … The Seahawks are manufacturing plays to feed Dissly, who padded his stats on a seven-yard pitch play last week, played a season-high 89% of Seattle’s offensive snaps, and ranks sixth among tight ends in yards (250) and first in touchdowns (4) over the last month. Opponents have completed 23-of-32 passes (72%) for 223 yards (7.0 YPA) and four touchdowns when targeting tight ends versus the Browns.
Even for as atrocious as Cleveland looked last Monday night, this is a traditional bounce-back spot for an NFL team returning home after a national-television massacre on the road. I expect Baker Mayfield to play his best game of the season against a Seahawks pass defense that has supported high floors by surrendering top-16 quarterback results in 4-of-5 games – including top-12 finishes to Andy Dalton, Kyler Murray, and Jared Goff – while ranking 26thin sack rate (4.9%) and dead last in QB Hit Rate (9.4%). In what I believe can be a back-and-forth shootout game, I like Mayfield as an extremely low-owned DFS-tournament play and upside QB1 streamer. … Nick Chubb was fortunate to survive last week’s 31-3 rout for 99 yards from scrimmage, logging his second-highest snap rate of the season (83%) and 17 of the Browns’ 18 running back touches. Since Hue Jackson was fired midway through last year, these are Chubb’s touches/yardage/TD counts in games immediately following Browns losses: 23/90/1 > 23/209/2 > 17/83/1 > 22/98/1 > 23/183/3. It helps that Chubb is quietly on pace for 48 receptions, while Seattle has yielded the NFL’s sixth-most receiving yards to running backs (271). Per Sports Info Solutions, Chubb leads all NFL running backs in screen-pass targets (14); Pete Carroll‘s defense has surrendered league highs in catches (23), yards (257), and touchdowns (3) on screen plays. I’m personally going to run at least one Browns team stack in DFS tournaments featuring Mayfield, Chubb, and a Cleveland receiver.
Mayfield’s 2019 target distribution: Odell Beckham 43; Jarvis Landry 39; Chubb 20; Damion Ratley 15; D’Ernest Johnson 7; Ricky Seals-Jones and Demetrius Harris 6; Dontrell Hilliard 5; Rashard Higgins 3. … Some notable wide receiver lines allowed by Seattle: John Ross (7/158/2), Cooper Kupp (9/117/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (5/84/0), Tyler Boyd (8/60/0), Michael Thomas (5/54/1). Despite his painfully slow start, Beckham ranks top ten in targets and No. 11 in Air Yards (518), and he is set up to rebound from back-to-back sub-30-yard clunkers based on opportunity and matchup. OBJ is popping as this week’s No. 6 buy-low receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Landry has been Cleveland’s most-stable receiver with 60-plus yards in 4-of-5 games, and he is due for positive-touchdown regression with zero touchdowns on the year. … Callaway had a nightmarish return from his four-game suspension in San Francisco. He was on the intended-receiving end of both Mayfield picks – including a Callaway end-zone drop – and goose egged on three targets. The Browns desperately need Higgins (knee) to return.
Score Prediction: Browns 27, Seahawks 24