This week’s installment of Thursday Night Football is a throwback to the “classic” midweek slogs between two challenged offenses. Throw in one of Cleveland’s patented chilly, windy, rainy evenings, and you have the recipe for an ugly game of football. Cleveland will turn to backup Case Keenum in place of Baker Mayfield, who will sit this one out with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. It’s unclear how much time he’ll miss, but we’re only concerned with his Week 7 absence when it comes to this DraftKings Showdown lineup. To fade or not to fade backups D’Ernest Johnson and Keenum will be top of mind for those in DFS single-game contests this week.
Here’s a quick reminder of the key settings for DraftKings Showdowns: It’s full-point PPR, and there are three-point bonuses for 300 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and 100 receiving yards. The Captain pick costs 1.5 times a player’s original price, but he also gets his point total multiplied by 1.5.
MORE DK SHOWDOWN: How to win a Showdown contest
DraftKings Showdown Picks: Broncos vs. Browns
$50,000 budget, need at least one player from each team.
Captain (1.5x value, 1.5x points): QB Case Keenum, Browns ($14,100)
We’re throwing Keenum straight into our Captain’s role. He’s been in some form of head coach Kevin Stefanski’s offensive system for much of his career, so the adjustment curve shouldn’t be as steep as we’d typically expect for a spot starter. A number of key skill players will be absent or compromised, but there are still enough pieces available to Keenum for him to have a strong performance. We’re confident Keenum can overcome the challenges ahead of him, i.e. run-dominant play-calling and less-than-optimal playing conditions, and we believe the perceived hurdles might keep his ownership and Captaincy tamped down.
FLEX: WR Courtland Sutton, Broncos ($10,000)
We’d like Sutton a little more if Bridgewater wasn’t nursing an injured foot. Still, Sutton’s track record this season is too strong to pass up. He’s eclipsed 20 DraftKings points on three occasions, even flirting with the 30-point plateau in two of those. We’re probably not destined for something quite as lofty in a game with Vegas totals stuck in the low 40s, but his big-play ability remains enticing and worth the investment this week.
FLEX: TE Noah Fant, Broncos ($8,200)
Fant is second on the Broncos in targets (42) and receptions (30). We’d love to see more explosive plays from the third-year tight end (9.1 YPC), but he’s had two separate games of 10-plus targets and has scored in three contests. Even though Bridgewater will be at less than 100 percent, we like including his two top pass-catchers for this matchup.
FLEX: WR Jarvis Landry, Browns ($6,600)
Landry (knee) is expected to make his return to action this week, and he’ll be a welcome addition to a banged-up offense. If Odell Beckham Jr. (Grade 3 shoulder sprain) is sidelined, that will leave the Browns without their top two target-earners (Kareem Hunt is No. 2 with 24 targets). Landry is a reliable pass-catching option who could garner 10-plus looks from Keenum as a safety outlet.
Alternate Consideration: If Landry remains sidelined, there are three Browns pass-catchers tied with 19 targets who are worthy pivots: David Njoku ($5,400), Austin Hooper ($3,800), Rashard Higgins ($3,600).
FLEX: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns ($6,400)
The Browns are likely to continue leaning on their ground game, but we want to tap into the right pieces in the passing attack. We have Landry, who will, in theory, soak up lots of easy targets, receptions, and points in DK’s full PPR format. We’re also going to add Peoples-Jones for his big-play ability. In spite of a robust 17.5-yards/catch average, Peoples-Jones has caught just 13-of-15 targets (86.7 percent) with two touchdowns. All of the absences in the offense should funnel additional opportunity in DPJ’s direction.
FLEX: RB D’Ernest Johnson, Browns ($4,600)
With Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf) sidelined, Johnson will be asked to shoulder a starter’s workload on Thursday night. He had one game in 2020 with more than 10 touches, and he turned 13 carries into 95 yards in that contest. He’ll likely share passing-game work with Demetric Felton, but the Browns run more than they pass, so there should be plenty of opportunities from which Johnson can deliver fantasy profit.