To wrap up the Week 17 schedule in the NFL, we have a pivotal AFC North contest between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. The Browns have lost three out of their last four games, which includes a two-point loss on Christmas night to the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, The Steelers are coming off of a blowout road defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The only notable injury for MNF is Browns running back Kareem Hunt, who is questionable with an ankle injury.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Steelers
Many fantasy managers will look to put either rookie running back Najee Harris or third-years wide receiver Diontae Johnson in the captain’s chair. While both of those players would be good choices, it would also be the consensus pick.
Therefore, the next best option for the captain’s chair is rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth. The young tight end missed last week’s game due to a concussion, but has emerged as one of Ben Roethlisberger’s top targets in the passing game. In his last five games, Freiermuth is averaging 10.3 fantasy points per game. When these two teams played each other in Week 8, the former Penn State standout had four receptions (seven targets) for 44 yards, a TD and 14.4 fantasy points.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
If we knew that Kareem Hunt was playing, then he would be the optimal captain’s chair at $8100. However, since he’s listed as questionable for Monday night, we are going to go with veteran wideout Jarvis Landry. Landry has been the team’s unquestioned No. 1 option in the passing game since the team let go of Odell Beckham Jr.
In their last game against the Green Bay Packers, the veteran wide receiver recorded four receptions (seven targets) for 55 yards (9.5 fantasy points). Landry is averaging 12.9 fantasy points per game in his last five games.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Browns — $5,000
The second-year receiver struggled last week against Green Bay, but has been receiving a consistent number of targets over the last five games. DPJ could be a nice value play as he’s facing a Steelers’ defense that is ranked 22nd (OPRK) against wide receivers.
Peoples-Jones has the ability to stretch the field and can create one or two big plays in the passing game. The Browns are hoping that Peoples-Jones can replicate what he did in Week 14 against the Ravens, where he recorded five receptions (seven targets) for 90 yards (14.0 fantasy points).
Ray-Ray McCloud III, WR, Steelers — $3,400
The No. 3 wide receiver spot for the Steelers changes on a weekly basis. Some weeks, we see James Washington makes plays and other weeks it’s McCloud III. For this exercise, we are going to go with the latter, who had four receptions (eight targets) for 25 yards and 6.5 fantasy points last week against Kansas City. It was the third time in six weeks that McCloud had eight targets or more in a game.