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Week 5 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Finally, a decent Monday night game. Well, at least on paper. The Cleveland Browns come across the entire country from Baltimore to take on a 49ers team coming off a bye. Pretty unfair but it is the NFL, so it is par for the course.

San Francisco is undefeated at 3-0 despite George Kittle not putting up numbers like last year. This is due mainly to a better-than-advertised defense and being extremely lucky to not blow games with their seven turnovers. The Browns, on the other hand, have looked bad this season until last week. It was a divisional showdown in which they were supposed to be smashed by a “good” Ravens team. Instead, they controlled the game from start to finish with Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry taking it to the Baltimore defense.

This will be a game of two teams looking to keep the momentum going in their favor as the season continues. Hopefully, it turns into a good game, like the Rams vs Seahawks game from Thursday.

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Cleveland Browns vs San Francisco 49ers

Game Time: Monday, October 7, 2019 @ 8:15 pm EST
Game Line: San Francisco -3.5 O/U 47
Cleveland Browns: 2-2
San Francisco 49ers 3-0


Must Starts

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

Even last week was not great for Mayfield in what was his best game of the year. If he keeps playing this bad, we may have to change his name to Barky - a 90s reference for you "Step by Step" fans.

Yes, he had over 300 yards. But he still only had one touchdown pass and still threw an interception, which he's done in every game so far. He has seemingly bought into the preseason hype and it isn’t good, especially in what could be a surprisingly tough matchup. Or is it?

Richard Sherman is playing reinvigorated this season but age is set to catch up with him eventually. The rest of the secondary is lacking to say the least. Nick Bosa and co. are getting a pass rush, but if last week is a sign, the Browns offensive line is finally coming together as a unit. This should mean a more comfortable pocket for Baker Mayfield and he should have multiple touchdown passes in this game. He may not be a top-10 QB but he can be started in 12+ team leagues.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

His fans say he is playing great. His critics say not so much. Either way, he has the 49ers at 3-0 and looking to remain undefeated. One thing we all can say is he needs to cut down on the turnovers. He was lucky to get the win in Week 3 against the Steelers with five turnovers. It is sad to say these words but the Browns are more talented than the Steelers. If the turnovers come here, the Browns will take advantage.

Using this bye week to prepare, Garoppolo should be much better in this one. The turnovers should regress and with Dante Pettis gaining confidence, the weapons should be improving as well. I don’t expect Jimmy G to throw for massive yards and four touchdowns. But if you are looking for a solid baseline, he could be a great streaming start. 250 yards and two touchdowns are not out of the question against this Cleveland defense who has been lackluster at best in 2019.

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)

165 yards and three touchdowns in Week 4. No, not Ezekiel Elliott or even Christian McCaffrey. Nick Chubb.

Chubb made it his personal mission to prove to the Ravens last week that other teams in the NFL can run the ball as well. He ran all over Baltimore, from the stadium to the all-you-can-eat crab restaurant afterward. Now, with an extra day to prepare, he faces what should be a more difficult challenge in the 49ers Defense which has been solid this season. But you still start him no matter what.

Unlike a player such as Silas Gray, we have seen this type of performance before from Chubb. He is one of the best running backs in the league and he is not going to go back to irrelevance this week. There are going to be plenty of touches. Kareem Hunt is still out until Week 10 and this means the backfield fully belongs to the man from Georgia at least four more weeks.

If he is your RB1, be confident he will get you close to 20 points. If he is your RB2, be really happy you got him in the second round and enjoy the rewards.

Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

Obviously this is entirely dependent on him playing but he appears to have cleared the concussion protocol, which makes him a must-start.

Landry had his first 100-yard game since joining the Browns last week against Baltimore. There is no better feeling for a Cleveland team to crush the Ravens, or old Browns as it were. Jarvis was a big reason why this happened before having to be removed from the game.

Working in the slot again after a disappointing 2018, it is good to finally see Landry get back into form. In the absence of David Njoku with a wrist injury and concussion, the short routes are going to be controlled even further by the man from LSU. No, not Beckham, the other one.

Assuming Landry doesn't experience a setback, he should be fired up as a WR3 or a flex play.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)

He had a good game against the Jets. But who hasn’t?

Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best receivers in the league. For this reason alone, you cannot afford to sit him. Besides that, he is going to look to show he is not slipping. Last week was the Jarvis Landry show but this cannot be relied upon on a weekly basis, especially behind such a trash offensive line. If Baker Mayfield wants to show he was not a flash in the pan last season, it will start and end with getting the ball to the best player on the field.

Matt Breida (RB, SF)

Matt Breida looks to be a solid start, especially if Tevin Coleman misses another week. The 49ers have the third-most rush yards in the NFL so far this season. Not per game, but total. This, despite already having their bye week.

Kyle Shanahan wants to run the ball and he is doing just this with the three-headed monster of Breida, Wilson, and Mostert. But it is Breda who is getting most of the touches while the other two are filling in the voids extremely well. In neutral game scripts, Breida is the main early-down running back. This makes him the one to play this week as it should be a close game one way or the other. A blowout in either direction is not what should be expected here and it could be a heavy ground game on both sides of the ball here. For these reasons, plus coming in fresh off the bye, Breida should be a great start at flex and could possibly reach RB2 value if he can reach the end zone.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

Last year was a major boom for anyone who grabbed George Kittle late in drafts. The new record holder for yardage in a season at the tight end position, Kittle was nothing short of spectacular. This season? Not so much, at least not yet.

Coming off three semi-disappointing weeks, Kittle will look to finally break out into 2019 with a game against the Cleveland Browns on Monday. He is still the number one target on the offense. This has not and will not change anytime soon. But the connection he had with Nick Mullens last season has not developed yet with Jimmy G. It will.

It is clear that Kittle is among the elite tight ends in the NFL today. Last season was not a mirage and he could and should break out of his funk this week. Much like with other stars who have been a shell in early weeks, you are going to start him. You are not going to sit DeAndre Hopkins or Odell Beckham. And George Kittle has also established himself to the same level. Don’t even think twice. Just start him and hope for the best.


Consider Sitting

Tevin Coleman (RB, SF)

Short and sweet - he is probably not going to play. If he does, he will be limited in his first game back. Breida, Mostert and Wilson have filled in great and it is not smart to rush Coleman back if he isn’t needed. But he does need to be rostered so if he is on your waivers, go and pick him up for the future.

Antonio Callaway (WR, CLE)

Coming back off a four-game suspension to start the season, Callaway is not someone to start this week. Much like all other players coming back from an extended absence, it will take a bit of time to see what part he will play in the offense. This part may be bigger if Jarvis Landry were to sit out but that seems unlikely now. It is still not a part you want a piece of in this game. Odell Beckham is going to get fed, as will Nick Chubb. A player like Antonio Callaway is not going to be in line for much work in what should be limited action.

Getting into football shape and game speed is a real issue. Let him sit this one out. There will be better days to come as long as he can stay on the straight and narrow.

Ricky Seals-Jones (TE, CLE)

He may have had his entire season total of touchdowns last week. One. He was simply a play of opportunity last week. This week, there is only one tight end you want to play in this game and it is the one listed in the must-start section for San Fran.

No one saw a top-15 week coming from Seals-Jones last week. Don’t expect it to happen again. There are far better plays in the tight end sea than Seals-Jones and if you, for some reason rostered him after last week? Why? Drop him now and get someone with upside.


Potential Sleepers

Jeffery Wilson (RB, SF)

In Week 1, Wilson was not even on the active roster. After the injury to Tevin Coleman, he was brought back off the practice squad and instantly became the red zone RB of choice. Now, he has four touchdowns in the past two games and looks to be a true boom-or-bust player.

It is likely that Tevin Coleman sits again. If this happens, there is a good chance Wilson garners another goal-line touchdown in this matchup which could be somewhat high-scoring. If he does not get the work, this is going to be a huge dud for your roster. But if he does, it could be another, and possibly the last, good scoring game for him.

Dante Pettis (WR, SF)

He finally had a touchdown in the last game against the Steelers. This could help to bring confidence. Not only confidence in himself, but also confidence from the coaching staff.

After the game in which he scored a touchdown, the bye may not have been the best thing. But it also could have allowed San Francisco to draw up more ways of getting him involved. If this is the case, he could become the number one receiver for Garoppolo in the coming weeks.

Coming into this season, Pettis was on par with Curtis Samuel and Mike Williams when it came to expectations. Much like both of the others, he has disappointed. But he has a chance to go up against a weak secondary in Cleveland who has not looked good. Even with last season's rookie sensation, Denzel Ward, and this year’s draft steal, Greedy Williams, the secondary play has been bad. Pettis could take advantage of these struggles to break out of his own.

Deebo Samuel (WR, SF)

In a game like this one, where the run game will get most of the coverage, it may be a hard sell to use a receiver other than the main guys. However, in this offense, Samuel has become that main guy. Outside of George Kittle, Samuel is looking to be the player whom Garoppolo has shown the most confidence in. That confidence is only growing on a weekly basis.

Whether it be Pettis or Samuel, one of these receivers will have a touchdown this week. The difficulty will be deciding which one to flip the coin on. Neither of them should be trusted as a top-25 WR in any league. But as a flyer WR3 or a flex, it could be the boom play needed for a Monday night miracle.

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