The NFL season may only have a few weeks remaining in the regular season but that hasn’t stopped DraftKings from introducing a new format! Snake Draft Showdown is now open and ready for you to dive into, kicking off with Sunday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills, which starts at 8:20 p.m. ET.
If you’ve ever played season-long fantasy before, you’re likely familiar with how a Snake Draft works. In short, for these Showdown contests, once the allotted number of entries are filled in a contest, the draft will begin one minute later. The entrants are assigned a random draft order and will commence in that order. The player with the first pick gets dibs on everyone while the player with the last pick will get a double pick, as it’ll end the first round and thus begin the second.
For a full breakdown of rules, please visit our How to Play Classic and Showdown NFL Snake Draft page.
Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills
Snake Showdown Rank: 5th
Starting cornerback Joe Haden will miss this game due to a concussion, yet slot cornerback Mike Hilton still remains the most exploitable option. Hilton has been targeted against 36 times this season and has allowed 28 receptions for 319 yards. That catch rate of 77% is the most generous on the team. Hilton has also allowed a whopping 178 yards after the catch. Broken down by catch, that translates to 6.35 yards, which far surpasses the 4.62 and 4.17 marks for the other cornerbacks.
Beasley has operated from the slot 89% of the time so far this season. He has a catch rate of 80.5% and is coming off a game in which he received 11 targets. He is also tied with Stefon Diggs with eight red-zone looks.
With the Bills likely to have trouble establishing a run game and going up against a blitz-happy Steelers pass defense, Beasley could very well see double-digit targets against a generous cornerback in Hilton.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Snake Showdown Rank: 6th
Is this going to be a battle of the slot receivers? It very well could be, as both slot cornerbacks should be renamed Santa Claus. Taron Johnson defends the slot 92% of the time, has been targeted 71 times and allowed 54 receptions for 572 yards, a 76% catch rate!
Smith-Schuster has been somewhat of a disappointment this season, but he’s still garnered 94 targets and scored six touchdowns. It’s been the yardage that has fallen off a cliff, which can be explained by the shorter routes he’s been running. The 6.4 yards per target is a career low, but at the same time, it’s helped produce a career-high 77.7% catch rate. He also leads all Steelers receivers with 15 red-zone looks.
This is a match made in heaven for Smith-Schuster.
Matchups to be aware of
Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills
Snake Showdown Rank: 7th and 9th
The Steelers have the third-best rushing defense, according to DVOA. They also allow the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game at 100.7. There’s a modicum of hope, though, as the Steelers have allowed 43% of 14 rushes inside the five-yard line to be converted for touchdowns. With that being said, the Bills are 23rd in rushing at 102.4 yards per game, with Josh Allen giving that number a boost.
Either one of these running backs could fall into the end zone and be a nice contrarian play, but this is not the path of least resistance.
Dionte Johnson and Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
Snake Showdown Rank: 2nd and 3rd
Johnson and Claypool will likely be productive, but there is some risk for both. First, JuJu could siphon targets, but the Bills also have Tre’Davious White patrolling the boundaries. Sometimes he stays on the left side, but other times he shadows. Even if he doesn’t shadow, Johnson and Claypool operate from both sides of the formation, so more than a few meetings could be in store for either.
Now, White isn’t at a Revis Island level, but he’s allowed a 65% catch rate and intercepted three passes on the season. He’s good enough to neuter a ceiling game from either Johnson or Claypool. Unfortunately, we don’t know the Bills’ game plan.
Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
Snake Showdown Rank: 10th
Linebacker Robert Spillane has been ruled out. In his place will be Avery Williamson, who has been brutal in coverage. On the season, he’s allowed 41 receptions on 43 targets for 427 yards and 3 touchdowns. A 95% catch rate is absurd!
Now, Knox isn’t a consistent receiving threat, as he only has 21 targets on the season. With that said, since Tyler Kroft succumbed to injury, Knox has played 70%, 61% and 67% of the snaps the past three weeks. During that span, he’s received 3, 1, and 4 targets, but garnered a pair of red-zone looks last week.
Hey, he’s a third-round flier for a reason.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.