Week 17 MNF Showdown: Cleveland Browns At Pittsburgh Steelers

by Matt Babich · Matchups Start/Sit
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Advanced stats and analytics will be utilized to identify favorable matchups and players to avoid. The purpose of this article is to paint a picture of how the teams play and matchup with one another in less than 1,000 words.

As the season continues, less emphasis will be put on last season and early season’s stats. Vegas trends will also be implemented to help predict the game flow. I’ll conclude the article with a Cliff Notes section and give the readers my prediction for the game.

Welcome to the newest edition of Monday Night Showdown. I’ll be guiding you through the important aspects to watch in each Thursday night matchup.

This will be the last Monday night game of the season! Without further ado, let’s get into this matchup between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, in what will likely be Big Ben’s last home game as a Steeler.

Vegas Trends

  • Cleveland are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cleveland’s last 5 games.
  • Cleveland are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against Pittsburgh.
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 6 games.
  • Pittsburgh are 2-3 ATS in their last 5 games at home.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 6 games against Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield has been a low end QB2 all season, and that won’t change tonight. The Browns establish the run, averaging 30.5 (No. 28) Team Pass Plays per Game. On top of that he’s been inaccurate, with a 7.0 (No. 33 among qualified quarterbacks) Accuracy Rating. He underwhelms in the yardage department, rarely throws touchdowns, and is likely not starting on championship rosters as he prepares for another average outing at best.

Nick Chubb is trying his best to bring his managers a title, scoring 16.3 and 27.4 fantasy points over the last two weeks. The elite playmaker has yet again shown phenomenal efficiency, cracking a 35-percent Juke Rate and 5 True Yards per Carry for the second straight season. He is a lock for a big week against a struggling Steelers rush defense.

Nick Chubb Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Meanwhile, teammate Kareem Hunt has been battling through an injury riddled season. He’s questionable coming into the day, but is a reliable play when healthy. 11.1 Weighted Opportunities is not a lot, but enough to be effective. He earns 1.05 (No. 7) Fantasy Points per Opportunity, making a Flex play if he returns to his usual pass-catching scat back role.

Not every Browns receiver can escape to LA, making it rough for Jarvis Landry to put together solid production. His 6.57 (No. 98) Target Accuracy has led to his 62.7-percent (No. 61) Catch Rate and poor season in total. While he’s been struggling, Pittsburgh does give up plenty of points to receivers and Landry sees a healthy Target Share. Expect a WR2 performance with plenty of upside if the game shoots out.

Neither of Donovan Peoples-JonesDavid Njoku, and Austin Hooper are reliable plays and are all likely to continue their trend of little fantasy production.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The stats tell you Ben Roethlisberger is more than ready to retire. His 49 (No. 1) Danger Plays and 14.9 (No. 23) Fantasy Points per Game do not yield much confidence. However, I’m willing to throw all of that out of the window for Big Ben’s final game at Heinz Field. He has two games of over 20 fantasy points under his belt this season, and that’s what I’m ready for tonight.


Najee Harris is an inefficient workhorse who has been propped up by his 19.83 (No. 2) Weighted Opportunities per Game and 15.5-percent (No. 4) Target Share. He comes in with a disappointing 26.6-percent (No. 29) Juke Rate and 3.7 (No. 59) True Yards per Carry. Still, given his opportunity he has the floor of a high end RB2.

Najee Harris Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

While he’s been slumping recently, Diontae Johnson has been having a career year and has been a consistent fantasy play. He comes in with a 28.6-percent (No. 4) Target Share and turned that into a 33.8-percent (No. 2) Dominator Rating. He has scored at least 15 fantasy points in 10 of his 14 games played, and has a WR1 outlook again tonight even against 3rd ranked Denzel Ward.

The fact for Chase Claypool is that Big Ben cannot deliver him the ball downfield, where he is most effective. He’s struggled to reel in targets, seeing a 7.16 (No. 59) Target Accuracy. He has also only found the endzone one time this season. I expect 10 fantasy points with touchdown upside for the sophomore.

Pat Freiermuth returns tonight as one of Big Ben’s favorite options, with 17 (No. 3) Red Zone Targets and an 87.3-percent (No. 3) Catchable Target Rate. He’s efficient, utilized heavily, and has a path to exploding tonight.

Cliff Notes

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Conclusion

This is projected to be a tight one. The spread is set at 1 point in favor of the Browns. Not tonight. Neither team is special, but this is certainly a special night for the Steelers. The stadium is going to be rocking and this team is going to lay it all on this line for their franchises best signal caller. The Browns are not comfortable when they have to push the pace, and that’s what Pittsburgh is going to make them do. I’m never this confident in a Steelers pick, but I’m locking them in to win tonight.

The point total is set at 42 points. Typically these teams finish under the point total. However, this game does have the makings of a potential small-scale shootout. Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t great, meaning Cleveland is going to find some success pushing the ball through the air and make it a competitive game. 42 points is not that difficult to hit, and I along with 75-percent of the public bets will be taking the over in this game.

Prediction: Steelers 27-20