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

Garion Thorne preps you for Sunday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Steelers and the Bills with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

As the old saying goes, they love you until they don’t. That must be how the Pittsburgh Steelers are feeling this week after watching their undefeated season go down the drain last Monday. Despite coming into Week 14 with an 11-1 record and an 8-4 mark against the spread, no one appears to be on Ben Roethlisberger’s ($10,800) side in his team’s matchup with the streaking Buffalo Bills. In fact, while the Steelers actually opened as road favorites in this spot, the line has drastically swung in the Bills’ favor on the DraftKings Sportsbook.

What does this all mean for fantasy? Let’s dive in and break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Sunday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (PIT vs BUF)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Stefon Diggs ($15,000 CP) - The thing everyone needs to understand about Diggs is that 2020 isn’t simply a matter of volume. Yes, the former Vikings WR did enter Week 14 sitting second in the NFL in targets (117) and tied for first in receptions (90), but the recent efficiency has been jaw-dropping. Dating back to the beginning of Week 9, Diggs has converted a whopping 87.8% of his pass-catching opportunities into receptions, a span of time where the wideout has averaged 19.8 DKFP per game. Doesn’t exactly track with all those old Josh Allen ($12,200) accuracy takes, does it? Diggs also has the unique skill-set and opportunity to exploit a Steelers D/ST ($4,200) that’s starting to get pretty banged up on the backend. Joe Haden and Robert Spillane have already been ruled out, while Spillane’s back up, Vince Williams, was added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list a few days back. For Diggs, who’s run 33% of his routes this season from the slot, the chance for a big performance is definitely on the table.

Diontae Johnson ($13,500 CP) - I never really thought I’d be comparing these two players, but Johnson has been giving me some serious Alvin Kamara vibes in recent weeks. Heck, you could even say he’s sort of become Pittsburgh’s version of J.D. McKissic. Sure, Johnson’s not a running back, but he’s basically been serving as the Steelers’ faux rushing attack over the past month. While Roethlisberger has been asked to throw on an insane 71.7% of downs in his last three starts, he’s not trying to stretch the field. In fact, for the season, the QB is averaging just 6.9 intended air yards per attempt — a figure that is amongst the lowest in football. So, because of that, Johnson’s become the mayor of checkdown city. The Toledo product leads the league in targets going back to the beginning of Week 9, a stretch of time where Johnson’s registered double-digit targets in every single game and an aDOT of only 7.0 yards. It’s possible the conservative route tree limits Johnson’s ceiling a little bit, yet you can’t be ignoring that type of volume in a full-point PPR setting.


FLEX Plays

Josh Allen ($12,200) - Allen might be a little too expensive to Captain in a matchup with a Pittsburgh defense that’s allowed the fewest DKFP to opposing QBs, but that certainly doesn’t mean I’ll be avoiding him on this slate. As mentioned above, the Steelers are dealing with a few injuries in their coverage unit and that could be a weakness that Brian Daboll looks to exploit — especially with Pittsburgh conceding a league-best 3.28 adjusted line yards per opponent rushing attempt. If that’s truly the case, and Allen gets to drop back more that usual in this script, you’ll need to have the former first-round pick in your lineup. So far in 2020, when Allen’s thrown at least 30 passes in a contest, he’s averaged an insane 30.4 DKFP. These are the kinds of things that can happen when you have a cannon attached to your right shoulder and you’re your team’s goal line back. Allen is almost always viable.

Eric Ebron ($6,400) - While you could simply make the case that a rising tide lifts all boats — the “rising tide” in this scenario being Roethlisberger throwing the ball 50-plus times every game — Ebron’s been highly involved in Pittsburgh’s offense as of late. The veteran TE has 22 targets in the Steelers’ past two contests, with four of those opportunities specifically coming in the red zone. I don’t think Pittsburgh will suddenly be changing its approach, either, as the matchup dicates this should be a pretty good spot for Ebron. For the season, Buffalo has surrendered the seventh-most DKFP and the sixth-most targets to opposing tight ends. On top of that, if you trust the line movement, there’s decent chance that the Steelers will be playing from behind on Sunday night. That just means more passing.

Steelers D/ST ($4,200) - There’s some risk in using a defense against an offense as potent as Buffalo’s, but Allen’s been known to supply both teams with fantasy goodness throughout his career. While the QB has been unquestionably playing the best football of his life in 2020, Allen’s still managed 14 turnovers in his 12 starts and he’s taken as many as seven sacks in a single game. Basically, there’s some upside and some downside to being the quarterback that holds on to ball longest after the snap. This is also the cheapest Steelers D/ST has been on a Showdown slate all season long, which makes sense when you look at the production. The unit has scored double-digit DKFP in half of its games and comes into Week 14 ranked no. 1 overall by DVOA. That’s pretty good.


Fades

Chase Claypool ($8,400) - I think there’s some legitimate reason to be concerned with the rookie phenom. After logging just a 43.7% snap share on Monday — his lowest mark since all the way back in Week 2 — Claypool didn’t practice on Thursday due to an illness. Now, Claypool is expected to be active on Sunday, yet this doesn’t sound like all that promising a situation. Not to mention that Claypool is technically the “deep threat” on a team that doesn’t throw deep anymore and that the Canadian will likely be seeing a lot of direct coverage from Tre’davious White. I think I’d rather take my chances with James Washington ($2,600) at a much cheaper price point, hoping he continues to soak up some of the snaps that Claypool is forfeiting.


THE OUTCOME

While I’m always a little hesitant to be in lockstep with the betting public, it really does seem that these are two teams headed in opposite directions. The Steelers are banged up and have essentially been allowed to coast since Week 9 with victories over Dallas, Cincinnati, Jacksonville and a COVID-stricken Baltimore. Meanwhile, the Bills are 4-0 ATS in their last four games and look unstoppable on offense. Look for Buffalo to get out to an early lead with Pittsburgh not having faced an elite opponent in well over a month.

Final Score: Buffalo 28, Pittsburgh 20

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Sunday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (PIT vs BUF)


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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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.