FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 17 Monday Night (Browns at Steelers)
It's likely Ben Roethlisberger's last game in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers play next week on the road. They also don't have a great shot at the playoffs (though they are still alive, FiveThirtyEight's model has their odds at 2%). Still, they'll be playing to win.
The Browns -- already eliminated themselves -- can play spoiler and completely end the Steelers' season for good tonight.
The total here is 43.0 points, and the Steelers are 2.5-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
High-Level Simulation Results
I simulated this game 10,000 times -- using numberFire's projections -- to see some high-level takeaways. Here's what I found.
Across 57 perfect lineups in my database among comparable games (totals between 40 and 45 and spreads of 4.5 or tighter), we see no significant change in the odds that a quarterback finishes as the optimal MVP (around 47.0% in and out of this split), but we do see running backs tick way up (from 28.7% to 40.4%). Receiver odds are effectively cut in half from around 20% to around 10%.
That should push us toward building around the running backs, and the main angle, then, is Najee Harris, who rates as the most likely MVP, per the slate simulations. Even his 30.0% odds, though, underperform historical precedent. Harris has maintained an 84.9% snap rate with an average of 17.9 carries and 5.8 targets. The workload is really hard to pass up in a game such as this one.
In seven post-bye games with both Chase Claypool and Pat Freiermuth active, Diontae Johnson has dominated the passing work in this offense. He has a 30.3% target share (10.3 per game) for an average of 81.3 yards.
Next up in market share is Claypool (17.2%), Freiermuth (14.7%), Harris (12.6%), Ray-Ray McCloud (9.0%), and James Washington (8.8%). Claypool is still a cut above the other receivers in terms of route rate (excluding Johnson, of course) and has a claim to downfield work.
While Roethlisberger himself shows a usual lack of upside, low playoff odds and the last-game-in-Pittsburgh narrative could lead to extra passing work in the red zone. He's the top pivot for me away from Harris as MVP.
In the past two games with Nick Chubb active but no Kareem Hunt (questionable), we've seen a 65/35 snap split for Chubb over D'Ernest Johnson. Either way, we see Chubb at around a 60-to-65-percent snap load at best throughout the season. In his active games, Chubb has averaged 17.3 carries and 1.9 targets for a total of 109.6 yards per game. He's a very viable pivot if you play the angle of a Browns victory, regardless of whether Hunt plays.
In two post-bye games with Jarvis Landry, Landry leads the team with a 25.4% target share (8.5 per game), and Donovan Peoples-Jones is at 19.4% (6.5). Austin Hooper (16.4%), Chubb (11.9%), and Rashard Higgins (9.0%) round out the top five.
Of note, though, only Peoples-Jones (91.8%) and Landry (89.0%) have run at least 60.0% of the team's routes in this sample. It's a lot of guesswork behind the top two receivers. Therefore, keep exposure to the tertiary pieces lower, especially in a low-scoring contest.