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Fantasy Football Picks: Bengals vs. Browns DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Bengals and the Browns with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

BOO! Did I scare you?!

Happy Halloween, loyal reader. Hopefully that intro was the most frightening part of your day. Sadly, I know that won’t be the case if you happen to cheer for the Cincinnati Bengals, as the scariest part of your Halloween will certainly be seeing your team play without Ja’Marr Chase (hip). Still, it’s not like the Cleveland Browns don’t have their own long list of issues.

Let’s break down this AFC North battle from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Monday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (CIN vs CLE)


Captain’s Picks

Joe Mixon ($14,100 CP) - It’s been an odd year for Mixon. On the one hand, he’s been among the least efficient running backs in all of football, averaging putrid marks in both yards per carry (3.3) and DKFP per touch (0.70). However, does efficiency really matter when you entered Week 8 leading all AFC RBs in touches (148) and offensive snap share (76.2%)? It’s a real “chicken and the egg” scenario. When it comes to Monday night, count me on the side of raw volume. The Browns have been a fantastic matchup for opposing backfields, as they’ve given up the third-most DKFP per contest to running backs this season. Heck, since the beginning of Week 5, Cleveland’s surrendering a league-high 2.3 rushing touchdowns per game. If Mixon can’t turn 20 touches into fantasy gold in a spot like this, it might be time for Zac Taylor to go back to the drawing board.

Tee Higgins ($12,000 CP) - This is the obvious route, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the correct one. With the aforementioned Chase on the sidelines, there’s a massive void to fill in the Bengals’ offense. To be specific, a 27% target share and 35% of the team’s air yards through seven weeks. That won’t all filter directly to Higgins — Tyler Boyd ($6,400) is also in a wonderful situation at an even better price — however, the former second-round pick doesn’t need much of a boost to be in legitimate WR1 territory. In the five games Higgins has been able to play in full in 2022, he’s never seen fewer than seven targets and he’s produced a very impressive 0.33 DKFP per snap. Plus, with Denzel Ward still in the concussion protocol, Browns D/ST ($3,800) doesn’t really have anyone to lockdown Higgins. Joe Burrow ($11,400) will definitely miss his LSU teammate, yet Higgins is about as good a replacement as you can find in the NFL.

FLEX Plays

Nick Chubb ($10,400) - The Bengals have been solid enough against opposing RBs this season that I don’t feel entirely comfortable with Chubb in the Captain’s slot. That said, he’s always viable in the FLEX. Chubb entered Week 8 leading the league in rushing yards (740) and rushing touchdowns (8). He’s registered at least 18.0 DKFP in six of his seven games. For an asset as dependant on finding the end zone as Chubb is — he has just nine receptions — the 26-year-old is surprisingly consistent in a DFS capacity. It certainly helps when you’re flirting with the 100-yard bonus every time you take the field and you also happen to rank third in the NFL in red zone carries (21). With Bengals D/ST ($4,200) conceding 163.3 opponent rushing yards per contest across the past three weeks, Chubb will have the opportunity to make a notable impact on this slate.

Mike Thomas ($1,200) - Cincinnati adores 11 personnel. Not quite as much as Sean McVay does in Los Angeles, but pretty close. This isn’t a love that fades when injuries shake up the team’s available wideouts, either. In Week 1, with Higgins forced out, Thomas logged 69 offensive snaps. In Week 5, with Higgins sidelined again, Thomas logged 45 offensive snaps. Last weekend, with Chase briefly unavailable, it was Thomas who stepped in next to Higgins and Boyd for 13 snaps. I guess what I’m trying to say is: Thomas is going to be on the field so, so, so much on Monday — because that’s simply how the Bengals play offense. His target rate will likely be minuscule in comparison to his teammates, yet with a price tag this low, that’s isn’t all that concerning.


Jacoby Brissett ($9,200) - It’s almost remarkable how underwhelming Brissett has been as a DFS asset considering he’s still relatively mobile. Coming into Week 8, the veteran pivot sat ninth among all QBs with 130 rushing yards, even adding a rushing touchdown back in Week 4 against the Falcons. Yet, despite all that, Brissett’s averaged a pitiful 0.39 DKFP per drop back this season, a figure which bests only the likes of Baker Mayfield, Matt Ryan and Davis Mills. Yuck. Brissett’s managed just two passing touchdowns in his past four starts and he’s yet to hit 20.0 DKFP in 2022. With Cincinnati currently one of five teams surrendering fewer than 6.0 yards per opponent pass attempt, I don’t think Brissett is suddenly going to start lighting the world on fire on Halloween night. He’s an easy pass.


The Bengals have owned this matchup in recent years, going 12-3 ATS in their past 15 meetings with the Browns. Location hasn’t mattered at all, as Cincinnati is actually 7-1 ATS in its last eight games in Cleveland. Maybe the Bengals are just road warriors in general, as they’ve covered eight of their past nine contests away from home, regardless of opponent. Missing Ja’Marr Chase isn’t ideal, yet Cincinnati boasts and incredibly deep depth chart at wide receiver. I think they’ll overcome his absence without a sweat.

Final Score: Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 20

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Monday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (CIN vs CLE)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.