The Read Option, Week 12: Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos


The Read-Option is Adam Pfeifer’s weekly fantasy football game-by-game breakdown, covering everything a fantasy manager needs to know before setting or building lineups for the week. And this week it’s all free! Below, check out his breakdown of the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos game for Week 12.


Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos

DEN -2.5, O/U 36.5
Pace: CLE: 25.6 sec/snap (5th), DEN: 28.4 sec/snap (29th)

FTN Data Breakdown

  • The Broncos are allowing the second-most yards before contact per attempt in football (1.97).
  • Courtland Sutton is tied for seventh in the league with 10 end-zone targets.
  • He is sporting a 30.2% target share against man coverage.
  • David Njoku is averaging 10.0 targets per game in three contests alongside Dorian Thompson-Robinson.


Dorian Thompson-Robinson will once again start at quarterback for Cleveland on Sunday. In two starts this season, DTR has completed 54.3% of his passes, averaging just 143 passing yards per game. He’s not on the fantasy radar, especially against Denver’s red-hot pass defense that has slowed down Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in two of the last three weeks.

Running Back

Over the last three weeks, Jerome Ford has played 60% of the snaps, handled 52% of the rushing attempts and is averaging 19 touches per game. He has also been on the field for 83% of Cleveland’s long down-and-distance snaps, as well as 81% of the snaps in the two-minute drill. Cleveland will continue to rely on Ford and the ground attack, and this is a great matchup for just that. Denver is allowing the second-most yards before contact per rush attempt this season (1.97), while 13.7% of the runs against this defense have gained 10-plus yards, the third-highest rate in the NFL. Denver is also coughing up the most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, as well as the most rushing yards per game to running backs (138). Ford is a low-end RB2 with upside for 20-plus touches in a great matchup.

Wide Receiver

Amari Cooper WR Cleveland Browns

Given the quarterback situation in Cleveland, Amari Cooper has become a boom/bust WR3 in fantasy. He caught half of his eight targets for 34 yards last week and is now averaging just under 10 PPR points per game in contests without Deshaun Watson this season. Cooper will now face a tough matchup with Pat Surtain and the Broncos, who have been the league’s sixth-best defense in terms of EPA per dropback since Week 7. 

Tight End

David Njoku had a whopping 15 targets last week, catching seven passes for 56 scoreless yards. He is now averaging 10 targets per game alongside Thompson-Robinson this season, and since Week 7, Njoku is sporting a 27% target share, while drawing a target on 26% of his routes. He has a stellar matchup this week, facing a Broncos defense that is surrendering the most fantasy points (16.5), fourth-most receptions (6.3), sixth-most targets (8.0) and most receiving yards per game (72.2) to opposing tight ends on the season. 


Russell Wilson QB Denver Broncos

Russell Wilson continues to do most of his damage with an insane touchdown rate of 6.4%, the second-highest rate in the league. That touchdown rate has helped Wilson average 0.50 fantasy points per dropback, the 10th-most among all quarterbacks, though he has failed to throw for 200 passing yards in five of his last six games. There hasn’t been much down the field from this passing game, as 21.8% of Wilson’s pass attempts have been behind the line of scrimmage, the second-highest rate in the league. His 63 checkdowns are also the third-most in football. Wilson is a middling QB2 against an elite Cleveland defense that is allowing the lowest completion rate in the league (55.3%).

Running Back

Since Week 8, Javonte Williams has handled 72% of Denver’s rushing attempts, averaging 22.6 touches per game during that span. He has only played two total snaps in the two minute drill over the last three games, however, as that role still belongs to Samaje Perine. Cleveland is a slightly above-average run defense, though they are allowing the fewest yards before contact per attempt in the league (0.80). But Williams is seeing terrific volume, keeping him in the mid-range RB2 discussion. 

Wide Receiver

Courtland Sutton found the end zone again last week, giving him eight touchdowns on the season and one in each of his last five games. Sutton is tied for seventh in the league with 10 end-zone targets, while accounting for 32.5% of Denver’s red-zone targets on the year, the 10th-highest rate in all of football. Sutton will face a tough Cleveland defense that is deploying man coverage 35% of the time, the fourth-highest rate in the league. Sutton, meanwhile, is sporting a 30.2% target share against man coverage, while averaging just over 2.0 fantasy points per target against the defense. Sutton is a low-end WR2 against Cleveland.

Tight End

Adam Trautman had 33 yards last week, his second-most in a game this season. He has just an 8% target share over the course of the season, while averaging just 3.3 fantasy points per game. Trautman is hardly on the fantasy radar, especially against a Cleveland defense that is allowing 5.8 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, easily the fewest in the NFL.

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