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Fantasy Football Picks: Steelers vs. Ravens DraftKings NFL DFS SNF Showdown Strategy

Pearce Dietrich gives his top DraftKings NFL Showdown picks for Sunday Night Football.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

The Week 17 Sunday Night Football contest features a matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

Let’s look at this game from a DraftKings NFL Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1M Sunday Night Showdown [$250K to 1st] (PIT vs BAL)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Pick

Najee Harris (CP $15,900)

It’s just not in the cards. An exciting DFS matchup in prime time is not going to happen. Deal with it, accept it and lower the bar. DFS expectations for the 2022-23 showdown slates must be dialed back. Najee Harris is the poster child for low expectations. In his first two seasons, Harris has received a ludicrous workload. It is maddening how little he has done with the volume. Poor quarterback play and below-average blocking has not helped, but Harris has not been dynamic either. However, lower the bar. Harris gets the bulk of the carries and the goal line carries. He’s an above-average receiving back in an offense that struggles to get the ball downfield. Baltimore has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to receiving running backs and that’s having allowed only one receiving touchdown to RBs. In a game with a low total (35 over/under), lean on the running backs.

FLEX Plays

JK Dobbins ($10,000)

Will this be a Dobbins game or Gus Edwards ($5,400) game. It could be both. The only certainty is that 2022-23 primetime football is 1992-93 primetime football. Offensive flare is non-existent. This is going to be another ground-and-pound night with plenty of failed third down conversions. The total is 35. That’s as low as they come. In their Week 14 matchup, the over/under was set at 36.5, and the teams managed 30 points.

The question isn’t whether the Ravens’ backfield is a key target on Sunday night. The problem is that the winning lineup may only feature one Baltimore RB — the more efficient rusher. In that scenario, which one is it? Dobbins isn’t 100% but he looks good. Coach Jon Harbaugh says neither of his backs are on snap counts. He’s riding the hot hand and following the flow of the game each week. Dobbins has not played a snap in the fourth quarter in the last two games. That’s not good if that happens again. However, if he gets a full game of work, then he should be a top candidate for qualifying for the optimal lineup on Sunday night. Also, Baltimore leads the NFL with 80 big rushes (rushes greater than 10 yards).

George Pickens ($8,400)

Similar to the Ravens RB question, there is a Steelers WR question. Pickens is cheaper, but Diontae Johnson ($8,600) is better. However, any discernible talent advantage that Johnson has, is negated by the lack of talent at the Steelers’ QB position. Paying up for Johnson can work, but it’s not a pick with a noticeably higher success rate. Johnson is the possession receiver (82 receptions for 799 yards with a 10.1 aDOT). Pickens is the flashy rookie (47 receptions for 700 yards with a 14.5 aDOT). Johnson seems safer on the surface, but that’s not really the case. Johnson needs consistent volume to work. This offense is anything but consistent. Pickens doesn’t need volume. He just needs to hit some big plays. What’s more likely to happen on Sunday night in an AFC North matchup with a total of 35? Ugly games don’t feature teams that are consistently moving the chains. Long consistent drives favor Johnson. It’s more than likely that this game is defined by a couple big passes and big runs. This is a Pickens week.

Baltimore has the No. 12 pass defense in terms of DVOA, but those numbers are suspect. Football Outsiders also believes that the Ravens have played one of the toughest schedules this season. A quick scan through their game log, and that’s obviously not the case. This is a long way of saying that Baltimore’s defense is not very good. They have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Steve Sims Jr ($1,000)

His presence on the field has grown in the second half of the season. Sims is now up to a 50% snap rate. What has he done with the snaps? Nothing. What has any Steeler done? What has any Raven done? Lower the bar. Sims, and most of the players available on this showdown slate, would not be targets on a main slate. This isn’t a main slate. It’s another ugly showdown slate. It’s the AFC North in January. The total is in the low 30s. Get ugly. Pick Sims.


Fades

Steelers DST ($4,600)

This might seem perplexing. This game sets up to be a low-scoring, defensive battle. Real life defensive showdowns aren’t necessarily great for DFS. The highest scoring DST on a slate usually is not the best defense. It’s the team that piles up stats. Sacks, turnovers and TDs are key. Wins, limiting yards and third-down conversation rates are not applicable in DFS. The points on the scoreboard matter, but not that much.

The Steelers can pile up stats with their pass rush, but they need opportunities. They’re better suited playing with a sizable lead or in a shootout. In a grind-out affair, both teams will sit on the ball and the clock. Tyler Huntley attempted 17 passes last week. That’s not enough. He attempted 12 against the Steelers in Week 14. He left that game early, but 12 passes in two and a half quarters is minuscule. There just wont be enough opportunities for the Steelers’ defense to score on Sunday night.


THE OUTCOME

Most of the primetime games have been duds this season. This Sunday night, the lack of offense will be tolerable. This is an old school AFC North battle. It would be nice to have better quarterback play, but we will take what we can get. The teams are pretty evenly matched and have fared well against inferior opponents. Both of the teams are inferior. At home, Baltimore survives with their solid rushing attack.

Final Score: Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 18

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1M Sunday Night Showdown [$250K to 1st] (PIT vs BAL)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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.