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Fantasy Football Picks: Jets vs. Browns DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

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

Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Imagine being told four months ago that the final Thursday Night Football game of the season would be a matchup between Joe Flacco ($10,600) and Trevor Siemian ($8,800). That’s right. We’re less than a week away from 2024, and Joe Flacco has a price tag well over $10K. What a time to be alive. He’s also leading the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs.

Can the New York Jets play spoiler? Let’s break it all down.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $1.2M Thursday Night Showdown [$300K to 1st] (NYJ vs CLE)


Captain’s Picks

Editor’s Note: Browns WR Amari Cooper (heel) has been ruled out for Week 17 vs. the Jets.

Amari Cooper ($16,800 CP) - Are there reasons to fade Cooper? For sure. He’s the most expensive asset on the slate, he’s currently questionable with a heel issue and, scariest of all, there’s a man named Sauce Gardner wearing green waiting to shut Cooper down. However, the veteran wideout is also less than 96 hours removed from setting the Browns’ franchise record for receiving yards in a single game (265). I don’t really need to wax poetic about Cooper’s immense upside. It’s pretty apparent. Then there’s the obvious connection Cooper’s made with the aforementioned Flacco. Cooper was targeted on a massive 39.5% of his routes in Week 16 — easily the most of any wide receiver with at least 20 routes. Across the past three weeks? Cooper leads all WRs in the NFL in targets (36), receiving yards (451) and DKFP (91.1). In that same span, Cooper also leads the league in air yards (587) and sits second in red zone targets (10). He checks every box and Flacco certainly isn’t afraid to throw the ball up to his best weapon.

Browns D/ST ($8,400 CP) - This almost seems too easy. The Browns have one of the best defensive units in the NFL. In fact, only 23.7% of their opponents’ drives have resulted in a score so far this season, a figure that isn’t just the best in the league, but is in entirely its own class. Cleveland also ranks top 10 in both pressure rate (24.5%) and sacks (44), trends that will likely continue against a decimated Jets offensive line that is allowing 4.1 sacks per contest through 15 games — the second-most in football. Again, I don’t want to make any guarantees, yet it seems hard to imagine Myles Garrett not wrecking havoc on Thursday evening. Plus, we’re talking about a team starting Trevor Siemian. Enough said.

FLEX Plays

David Njoku ($7,400) - I’m hesitant to suggest that New York struggles with opposing tight ends, but that does seem to be the position that has hurt the Jets the most this season. To wit, only Denver has conceded more touchdowns to TEs through 16 weeks. That, in a vacuum, seems like enough of a reason to trust Njoku on Thursday, yet that would also be selling the veteran’s own accomplishments short. While Flacco has peppered Cooper with targets, Njoku has also seen the love from his new quarterback, so much so that the two teammates can co-exist as fantasy assets. Since the beginning of Week 14, Njoku leads all tight ends in DKFP (72.9). He’s also been particularly dangerous in the red zone, hauling in four TDs in that same span.

Xavier Gipson ($3,200) - The Jets are heavy underdogs in the contest. There’s a decent chance that they’ll be playing from behind and needing the throw the football. At receiver, that should mean a lot of work for Garrett Wilson ($9,800), yet there should also be some opportunity for Gipson and Jason Brownlee ($2,800) — especially with Allen Lazard ($2,400; illness) not at 100%. I have no issues going with either cheap wideout, Brownlee did chalk up an 82.2% offensive snap share in Week 16, but Gipson really does feel like the big play threat. The rookie is averaging 11.0 yards per touch and we all remember his game-winning punt return back in Week 1. Gipson has speed to burn and some clear upside.


Trevor Siemian ($8,800) - In what is possibly the softest QB matchup in the league, Siemian was only able to manage 12.48 DKFP in Week 16 versus the Commanders. That was on 51 drop backs, too — the second-most of any quarterback last weekend. That equates out to an anemic 0.26 DKFP per drop back, which makes sense, because Siemian should not be starting for an NFL team. He’s just not very good. His presence and checkdown mentality does assist the value of Breece Hall ($11,000), who racked up an eye-popping 16 targets against Washington, but that’s about it for positivity. Cleveland is surrendering the fourth-fewest DKFP per game to opposing QBs. Expect that number to improve on Thursday.


The Browns have won their last five home games. Meanwhile, the Jets are 1-8 ATS in their last nine. Maybe there’s a chance that New York’s elite defense keeps this game close, and Flacco has been prone to turnovers, yet I simply do not see a scenario where the Jets offense moves the ball.

Final Score: Cleveland 24, New York 10

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $1.2M Thursday Night Showdown [$300K to 1st] (NYJ 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.