Thursday Night Football DFS Preview

Source: USA Today

Thursday Night Football DFS Preview

  • Jets at Browns
  • Browns -7, Over/Under 35.5

The New York Jets travel to Cleveland to take on the surging Browns, winners of three straight games under the leadership of veteran QB, Joe Flacco. The Browns are averaging 29 points per game during their win streak, a significant increase from the 21.5 points they were averaging before that. The Jets are playing for pride, at this point, but Cleveland is in playoff contention and a win this week would solidify their playoff hopes. In fact, the Browns have an outside chance to get a first round bye, so they will be highly motivated. 

Since Flacco took over, Cleveland has the led the league in passing yards. New York, however, has the second best pass defense in the league, behind the Browns. I’d say it’s a given that the Jets won’t have much success throwing the ball, but it will be interesting to see if Cleveland can continue their passing prowess this week. 

Showdown Strategy

Vegas currently has this line at -7 for the Browns and the total set at 35.5. For starters, I think the total is too low. Last week, I bet the “over” on 15 games and won 12 of them. The trend seems to be continuing this week, as most of my early bets are also “overs.” So I’m not quite as down on the Jets offense as the oddsmakers are. However, with an implied total of just 14.5, there aren’t many playable options for New York. I’m most interested in their defense and kicker, which I expect can provide some leverage for my lineup in a GPP. 

For the Browns, aside from Flacco, I’m most interested in the pass catchers. Obviously, Amari Cooper is coming off a career game and David Njoku seems to be vibing well with Flacco. Cleveland went from being a run-heavy team, to one of the pass-heaviest teams the last three weeks. The Browns play at a fast pace and run more offensive plays that any other team. I think we’ll continue to see them relying on Flacco’s arm again this week. 

Here are the players I’m considering for my lineups this week. 


Captain Choices (1.5x salary, 1.5x points)

Amari Cooper, WR, Browns ($16,800)

As I mentioned above, Cooper had an insane day against Houston, catching 11 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. In his last three games with Flacco at QB, Cooper has 22 catches for 451 yards and three scores. This is what we call upside and Cooper has plenty of it. The Jets have been very good at shutting down opponent’s top receivers this year, but Cooper is still more likely to hit his ceiling than his floor. 

Breece Hall, RB, Jets ($16,500)

The Browns give up the 9th fewest points to running backs, and Hall’s usage has been inconsistent, but I think there’s an argument for his upside. In 15 games, he’s scored 18 or more DraftKings fantasy points in seven of those and double-digits in 11 games. Hall is having an unremarkable season on the ground, but his receiving ability puts him in play. Even more so in a game where the Jets are a full touchdown underdog. 

Joe Flacco, QB, Browns ($15,900)

The man of the hour is Joe Flacco. He’s out here winning league championships for managers and it all seems like he’s for real. He’s thrown for 300+ yards in three straight games, something he has never done before in his 16 year career. As unlikely as it seems, until Flacco shows us differently, I’m going to assume he’s a late bloomer who has finally reached his peak. He’s averaging 23.8 DK points in his four starts and is QB-3, overall,  in those games. I’m willing to ride his hot hand this week against a tough Jet’s defense. 

Top Flex Options

Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets ($9,800)

I could make a case to consider Wilson for a Captain spot since he is the Jets most explosive player on offense. It’s his floor that worries me, however. I’m not only looking for a high ceiling with the Captain slot, but also a safe floor and Wilson has had more floor games than ceiling games. It’s not his fault, of course, but as talented as he is, I’m only confident using him as a flex option. 

Jerome Ford, RB, Browns ($8,400)

Ford appears to be the one Cleveland player who is not benefiting from Joe Flacco’s resurgence. After a string of six straight games with double-digit fantasy points, Ford has scored 7.1 and 9.3 points the last two weeks. He has 23 carries for only 55 yards in those games and only nine receiving yards. We typically see 50%+ ownership for the lead back of a home favorite, but I’m thinking owners be more likely to fade Ford this week. Even so, I’m not sure there will be enough leverage for me to insert him in my lineups. The only caveat is if you think the Browns will win this game easily, then Ford should get a lot of work and be safe to use. 

David Njoku, TE, Browns ($7,800)

Njoku has been on fire since Flacco took over with games of 27, 29, and 16 fantasy points in his last three starts. He leads all tight ends in targets and is second in yards in that span. He also has three touchdowns in those games. Njoku is one of the best values this week, and will be highly owned, but I’m comfortable playing him and finding pivots somewhere else. 

Elijah Moore, WR, Browns ($6,600)

To me, Moore is a pivot play from Njoku if you need the salary relief. I think he’s going to be a popular pick this week, but he’s going to need a touchdown to pay off for owners. He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but with Cleveland throwing the ball so much, he could get lucky with some additional targets. 

Browns Defense ($5,600)

The Browns have the best defense in football. The Jets have the worst offense in football. Sure, Cleveland’s defense will have very high ownership, but I wouldn’t overthink this one too much. 

Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns ($5,200)

The one area the Jets are vulnerable on defense is against the run. They allow the 5th most fantasy points to running backs. While Hunt hasn’t had a good year rushing, he does have eight rushing touchdowns. He also has twice as many red zone rushing attempts as Jerome Ford. The Browns have been moving the ball effectively the last few weeks and I expect to see Hunt get a few shots at the end zone this week. 

Tyler Conklin, TE, Jets ($5,000)

Conklin is my favorite Jets receiver to target this week. He has a low salary and should have low enough ownership to give your lineup some leverage. He’s not going to get you a ton of points, but he’s consistent. In a low-scoring game, his safe floor allows you to fill out your lineup without having to take a flier on a cheap, risky player. 

Greg Zuerlein, K, Jets ($4,600)

Zuerlein has a similar projection to Dustin Hopkins, but costs a little less and will be lower-owned, so I would use him for leverage. 


My Lineup


  • Joe Flacco (Captain)

  • Kareem Hunt

  • Tyler Conklin

  • Greg Zuerlein

  • Amari Cooper

  • Browns Defense

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