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Fantasy Football Picks: Washington vs. Steelers DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Zach Thompson preps you for Monday’s 5:00 p.m. ET DraftKings Showdown contest between Washington and the Steelers with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After having their game rescheduled three times last week against the Ravens, the Steelers were given an extra day after playing on Wednesday, which is why they’ll take on the Washington Football Team in a Monday afternoon matinee. On the other extreme, Washington has had 10 days off since their last contest, which was a convincing win on Thanksgiving Day over the Cowboys.

Will the extra rest be enough for Washington to be the first team to beat the Steelers this season or will Pittsburgh improve to 12-0 and remain the only undefeated team in the NFL? Let’s break it all down from a DraftKings Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $400K Showdown Special [$100K to 1st] (WAS vs. PIT)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Diontae Johnson ($14,100 CP) - Both these defenses are tough matchups across the board, but Washington’s secondary has played a pretty easy slate. The strength of the defense is definitely the pass rush, which could lead to shorter drops and quicker throws for Ben Roethlisberger ($10,600; knee, questionable). If the Steelers are trying to get their playmakers in space, Johnson will likely be near the top of that list. While Chase Claypool ($9,200) made a huge splash and gets plenty of attention as a newcomer to the league, Johnson has actually been getting more looks lately and has double-digit targets in four straight games. He has averaged eight catches per game over that four-game stretch with just one touchdown but an average of 19.9 DKFP. While Claypool has been the home-run threat, averaging 12.7 yards per target, Johnson has been the shorter option, averaging 7.7 yards per target, so he could be a better option for Ben to get the ball to if he’s under pressure in this matchup.

Steelers DST ($8,700 CP) - Pittsburgh’s defense has really been the key to their success this season, and the Steelers have also been a really good DST option. They have at least 7.0 DKFP in 10 of their 11 games this season and have averaged 14.3 DKFP over their past three contests. They haven’t allowed more than 19 points in four straight and have totaled 11 sacks and 10 takeaways over that stretch. Washington’s running game is strong, but Alex Smith ($9,000) doesn’t exactly lead a high-flying attack. The defense has even scored a touchdown in three of their past seven games. They will have to adjust after the loss of Bud Dupree, but they have a lot of depth and the attitude to continue to find success. As far as the matchup, Washington has allowed multiple sacks in every one of their games and has turned the ball over eight times in their four games since their bye week.


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FLEX Plays

Terry McLaurin ($8,800) - McLaurin is the top WR for Washington and has been hauling in plenty of PPR production over the past few games. He has at least seven catches in five of his past six games and has over 13 DKFP in each of those six contests. His reliability makes him a solid flex option and he has been playing through the ankle issue that has him as questionable, so that’s not a major concern. The Steelers have given up 14 WR touchdowns, so far this season, which is tied for the fourth-most in the NFL, so they have been beatable on the outside despite all their defensive success.

Eric Ebron ($6,800) - Ebron has one of the most favorable matchups in this game since Washington has allowed the seventh-most DKFP to TEs this season. Even though Pittsburgh is loaded with WR talent, Ebron has been working his way into a bigger role with the team over the past few weeks and had a season-high 11 targets last week in their win over the Ravens. He hauled in seven of those passes for 54 yards and a touchdown on his way to 12.4 DKFP. He also had a key score in the Steelers’ narrow win over the Cowboys in Week 9 and has at least 11.0 DKFP in five of his past six games. As a mid-range option, he comes with a high floor along with a good ceiling if he finds the end zone.

Anthony McFarland Jr. ($2,600) - With James Conner (reserve/COVID-19) still expected to be sidelined for this contest, McFarland seems to be very underpriced. Even though Benny Snell ($7,600) handled almost all the work last week against Baltimore, McFarland did play a season-high 19% of snaps. He caught his only target for 17 yards but only ran for nine yards on his three carries to finish with 3.6 DKFP. McFarland has been brought along slowly in his rookie season, but he could get more work in tandem with Snell in this contest.


Fades

Alex Smith ($9,000) - Smith has led Washington to back-to-back wins over Cincinnati and Dallas but did so without reaching double-digit DKFP. While his story is truly inspirational, he hasn’t hit 20 DKFP in any of his games this season and a brutal matchup with the Steelers’ defense doesn’t seem to be the place to bank on him turning in his first big game of the season. Pittsburgh has given up the fewest DKFP to opposing QBs this season.

JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,400) - JuJu’s target share has shrunk this season with the emergence of Johnson and Claypool. He has posted over 17 DKFP in three of his past four games, but he has become very touchdown-reliant. While he still has upside, the Steelers may not have to throw as much against Washington, so he is very boom-or-bust in this matchup.


THE OUTCOME

The two defenses are both some of the best in the NFL, so it will likely be a low-scoring contest. The Steelers do have big-play potential, though, and so does McLaurin for Washington. For DraftKings Showdown purposes, I would build around scary Terry and lean into the Pittsburgh side for the most part, since I have more confidence in their offense. Even with the extra time to prepare, I don’t think Alex Smith and Washington’s offense will be able to get enough going to give the Steelers their first L of the season.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 23, Washington 10

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $400K Showdown Special [$100K to 1st] (WAS vs. PIT)


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