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Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 11


Thursday Night Football came down to the wire in Week 10, with Melvin Gordon looking like his old self while rumbling for 108 rushing yards and a score on 22 carries. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Chargers, poor clock management from Philip Rivers stymied any hope of surmounting a late Oakland Raiders 18-yard rushing touchdown from Josh Jacobs.

The divisional matchups keep on coming for Thursday Night Football, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns going head to head in an AFC North tilt. There are plenty of fantasy-relevant players to discuss, so let's dive in to Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis for Week 11.

Good luck with your lineups this week RotoBallers!

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Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns

Date and Start Time: November 14 at 8:00 PM ET

Notable Injuries and Status:

 

Offensive and Defensive Rankings in 2019:

Steelers Browns
Passing Yards 27th 19th
Rushing Yards 27th 13th
Pass Defense 12th 7th
Rush Defense 16th 27th

 

Must Starts

Top Performers That Have To Be In Your Lineups

James Conner (RB, PIT)

A full practice from Conner on Tuesday is a great sign for his availability to take on a suspect Cleveland Browns rush defense this week. In his last appearance in Week 8, Conner played 83-percent of offensive snaps and should be a lock to get his usual bell cow workload if he is healthy enough to play.

 

Solid Options and Potential Sleepers

Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?

Solid Option: Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)

Fears that the return of Kareem Hunt would eat into Chubb's workload didn't appear to be founded in Week 10, as Chubb carried the ball 20 times for 116 yards on the ground. The guaranteed carry count makes Chubb a weekly start, albeit with a lower upside against a Steelers Defense on the rise.

Solid Options: Odell Beckham Jr. / Jarvis Landry (WRs, CLE)

While Beckham Jr. has had enough receiving volume to fit the bill for a fantasy WR1 (at least six targets in every game this season and double-digit targets in four of them), poor quarterback play and a reliance on the ground game has led to a significant drop off in his production. Landry has also received a number of looks in recent weeks, with the ex-Dolphin being on a three-game streak of 10 or more targets. Both players will get their fair share of targets, but the question is whether or not Baker Mayfield can provide enough quality targets against a tough Pittsburgh secondary.

Sleeper: Ricky Seals-Jones (TE, CLE)

The former Cardinal draws a juicy matchup against a Steelers Defense that, while stout in most facets, gives up the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Baker Mayfield will likely be forced to attack the middle of the field to avoid the plethora of capable defensive backs in the Pittsburgh secondary, making Seals-Jones an intriguing play for Week 11.

 

Consider Sitting

Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup If Possible

Mason Rudolph (QB, PIT)

The simple truth is that Pittsburgh's offense doesn't give Rudolph enough opportunities to pass the football for him to be fantasy relevant. With the Oklahoma State product having only eclipsed 250 passing yards one time this season against a porous Miami Dolphins Defense, there is simply no reason to consider starting him now.

Jaylen Samuels (RB, PIT)

The return of James Conner means Samuels will be relegated to pass-catching duties which, in all fairness, are his specialty. Unfortunately, he doesn't exclusively occupy that role with Conner having received at least four targets in six of his seven games this season.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

Since an offensive explosion against Miami in Week 8, Smith-Schuster has looked pedestrian with 60 receiving yards on six receptions in his last two games. Cleveland may be a middling defense when it comes to giving up fantasy points to wide receivers, but it is hard to project Smith-Schuster as having one of his boom games here.

Vance McDonald (TE, PIT)

Although McDonald has now had two consecutive games with seven targets, he hasn't returned the yardage or scores that would make him any more than a touchdown-dependent TE2. Look to the other sideline for a potential tight end streaming option.

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

After picking off Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff twice and keeping him under 250 yards passing in Week 10, the Steelers Defense is likely to carry their momentum over to Thursday night. Mayfield has yet to throw for more than two touchdowns in a game this season and has struggled against defenses in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game.

Kareem Hunt (RB, CLE)

In his first action since returning from an eight-game suspension, Hunt played on 38 of 69 offensive snaps and was the definitive receiving complement to Nick Chubb. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh allows the ninth-fewest receiving yards and hasn't given up a receiving touchdown to opposing running backs this season. Without knowing whether or not Hunt will get more of the rushing workload, fantasy owners should be leaving him on their benches.

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