Immediate fantasy football takeaways from NFL Week 17 Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 26-14 on the last regular Monday Night Football game of the season.

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Pittsburgh dominated the time of possession with Najee Harris runs and short passes. Harris' performance Monday night enabled him to break Franco Harris’ record for most rushing yards by a Steelers rookie. The Steelers offense only had a few successful drives.

The Browns couldn’t get anything going on offense throughout the game, as their first score came on a drive that started in Pittsburgh territory while the second came on a drive with multiple Pittsburgh penalties.

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Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties like offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Najee Harris: 28 carries, 188 yards (159 yards after contact), 1 TD, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards
  • Diontae Johnson: 8 receptions, 31 yards, 1 TD (33.3% threat rate)
Cleveland Browns Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Donovan Peoples-Jones 64 45 5 0
Jarvis Landry 50 33 7 1
Rashard Higgins 41 26 5 0
Anthony Schwartz 24 19 1 0
Demetric Felton 1 1 0 0
David Njoku 51 31 4 0
Austin Hooper 35 22 5 0
Harrison Bryant 19 12 1 0
D'Ernest Johnson 39 24 3 5
Nick Chubb 30 17 1 12
Total 71 48 32 19
Pittsburgh Steelers Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Diontae Johnson 72 45 15 0
Chase Claypool 71 42 9 0
Ray-Ray McCloud III 53 36 9 0
James Washington 15 9 1 0
Pat Freiermuth 62 37 6 0
Zach Gentry 41 15 2 0
Kevin Rader 5 0 0 0
Najee Harris 78 37 3 28
Benny Snell Jr. 3 2 0 1
Total 81 48 45 31

Nick Chubb’s quiet day: Kareem Hunt missed his third-straight game tonight with an ankle injury. That and the Steelers' run defense should have led to a big game from Chubb. He broke a 32-yard run in the middle of the first quarter, but only ended up with four total carries in the first half. D’Ernest Johnson played the receiving back role, as he had in recent weeks, but Cleveland was mostly in passing situations. The Browns only ran 17 offensive plays before the first two-minute drill, and by that point, they were already down two scores.

Cleveland tried to get Chubb more involved, but it was too little too late. He gained 58 yards on 12 carries. Chubb will be hard to trust next week when the game script is expected to be even worse.

Browns shift at wide receiver: Anthony Schwartz was a third-round pick who started the season as the Browns third wide receiver. Rashard Higgins surpassed him on the depth chart and has maintained it for the season, until Monday night. Schwartz play ahead of Higgins Monday night, and the two players ran a similar number of routes. Higgins finished ahead in snaps largely because of two-minute drills.

Higgins is an unrestricted free agent after the season, so this could be a sign that Cleveland will let Higgins walk in free agency. Cleveland can also save $15.1 million against the cap by releasing Jarvis Landry. The Browns wide receiver room could look very different next season, but Schwartz should be somewhere on the depth chart.

Steelers' wide receiver decision: The Steelers are set at the top of their wide receiver depth chart with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Both players were heavily targeted tonight, but neither finished with a lot of yards.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ray-Ray McCloud and James Washington are all unrestricted free agents this offseason. Smith-Schuster has missed most of the season, and his contract will void. McCloud has played ahead of Washington on the depth chart for over a month now, and that was more apparent than ever tonight. McCloud had double-digit targets while Washington only had one. It seems pretty likely Washington won’t be back in Pittsburgh while there is a decent chance McCloud returns.


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