Fantasy Football: Week 11 Thursday Night Preview (Steelers vs. Browns)

In this Week 11 Thursday Night Football Preview, senior fantasy football expert Dr. Roto runs down the viability of the game's fantasy stars.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield & Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Dr. Roto—November 14, 2019

Week 11 Thursday Night Preview

Quarterbacks

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers

I thought Rudolph was going to be better when he first got a chance to start, but in truth he has looked overmatched at times. The good news is that he has four games of multiple passing touchdowns, but the bad news is that he has four games of under 200 yards passing. I foresee a rough night on Thursday, so I recommend benching him.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Mayfield might be my biggest Fantasy blunder this season. I truly expected him to have 30-plus passing touchdowns and well over 4,000 passing yards. He’s been an unmitigated disaster thus far and I don’t see it improving tonight. In fact, Mayfield has more interceptions (12) than touchdown passes (nine). If that doesn’t say everything about the Browns’ season in a nutshell, I am not sure what does. I am not playing him tonight. Maybe he burns me and plays well, but I have little to no trust in him (or the coaching staff) right now.





Running Backs

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

Conner is expected to be active and I think the biggest question is how many touches he gets. The Steelers work best when he touches the ball 20 times, but I am not sure he is ready for that type of workload. I would absolutely play Conner and hope that he can give you 20 touches for 100-plus total yards from scrimmage and a TD.

Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers

With Conner back, it will be interesting to see what the Steelers do with Samuels. In Conner’s absence, we realized that Samuels is not much of a runner, but he is a very good receiver out of the backfield. The problem is that Rudolph fell in love with throwing to him that he forgot to throw to his receivers! Don’t be shocked to see the Steelers scale back Samuels’ touches significantly this week. 

Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

Nick ChubbKareem Hunt’s return has put a slight damper on Chubb’s star, but that would not dissuade me from starting him in the least. Chubb is a virtual lock for 15-20 touches and the Browns offense always plays better when he is having a good game. 

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

Hunt only had four rushes last week, but he had seven receptions. I think that these numbers are what we can expect from Hunt moving forward. He might have a few more touches depending on game flow (if the Browns are behind), but if all things are equal, 8-12 touches seems about right. Hunt is a very good start in PPR formats.

Wide Receivers

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

Sadly, JuJu is no longer a must-start in my lineups each week. I still love him as a player, but Rudolph has not been able to get him the football consistently. He’s had one 100-yard game all season and has had 16 yards or less in three of the last six weeks!  Those numbers would be horrific for a WR4 let alone a WR1. I won’t tell you to bench Juju, but I will say that I would consider it if you have equal options.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

Just wait on Diontae. When Big Ben comes back next season, he will love throwing to Johnson, who runs some of the crispest routes on the team. Unfortunately, Rudolph cannot always take advantage of Johnson’s skills and has made him a boom or bust player. Tonight feels like a low-scoring divisional rivalry game, so I might pass on the youngster.

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

We all know by now that Rudolph and Washington have a connection from their Oklahoma State days, and I don’t think that can be overstated enough. New quarterbacks tend to lock on to player(s) they trust, so if Rudolph is comfortable looking Washington’s way, then there is a chance that he could make a play or two. Washington has 10 receptions on 11 targets in his last two games and I think he could see another 4-5 passes thrown his way tonight.

Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns WRs Odell Beckham Jr. & Jarvis Landry

OBJ always seems to play his best games when everyone is watching. He has struggled to connect with Mayfield for most of the season, but it was good to see that the Browns made a concerted effort to get him the football last week. If that continues, OBJ could have a breakout game.

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

I have always liked Landry, but it seems as if this season that either he or OBJ has a big game, but not both. Plus, with Hunt back in the lineup, there may be fewer targets available. I would start Landry, but I see a 5-reception, 50-yard night on tap and not much more.

Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns

Higgins is a better real-life player than a Fantasy player and I cannot endorse using him.

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

With Rudolph starting, we have rarely seen the WRs and TEs both have a big game. The Browns are not particularly good at covering opposing tight ends, but at the same time, I don’t see a huge day in store for McDonald. Think 5 for 40 and hope for better.

Demetrius Harris, Cleveland Browns

I can’t imagine having to play Harris this week unless you are desperate for 2 catches for 22 yards and a .08% chance at a TD.


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