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Saturday Night Showdown DFS Preview, Week 16: Raiders at Steelers

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The Saturday night prime-time game for Week 16 turned from a celebration of the Immaculate Reception anniversary to a celebration of the life of former Steelers running back Franco Harris, who will have his number retired. Both the Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers are “in the hunt” for a playoff spot, but I believe the pride is going to be more important in this one, while the weather could be a factor for one last time on the day. Let’s talk about who we like in the cold for this DFS showdown. 

 

Be sure to check out David Jones’ “General Rules” article for Showdown Strategy and his piece for each game, along with the DFS Showdown Strategy articles for each slate. Additionally, the FTN Livestream every game night will provide the latest insight for each slate. 

NFL DFS Saturday Night Breakdown: Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers 

Steelers -2, O/U 38 (Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)

Las Vegas Raiders Plays for Week 16 DFS – Saturday Showdown and Primetime Slates

Quarterback

Weather has been one of the most talked-about aspects of this week, and I can tell you this much with certainty – the weather sucks in Pittsburgh right now. It’s every bit as brutal as the forecast would say. and once that sun goes down, the temperature is going to be lower with the stadium close to the river. It’s almost always windier on the field as well, and that’s the larger concern for the passing games, Derek Carr included. The matchup itself is solid as the Steelers are just 18th in DVOA against the pass and 22nd in points allowed per game. They are a very boom-or-bust pass defense since they only allow the fifth-lowest completion rate but the fifth-highest yards per attempt while Carr is 11th in yards, 18th in points per dropback, and 16th in points per game. He’s second in deep attempts and if the wind isn’t going to be an issue, the deep ball is a strong aspect for Carr in this game. He’s accumulated a 108.1 passer rating and the Steelers have allowed the seventh-most yards when they’re faced with a deep pass. Carr has also been solid against the blitz with a 96.0 passer rating and a 59.8% completion rate, which matters since the Steelers are in the top five in blitz rate. He’s a strong play if we can get there. 

Running Back

The Steelers are going to have their hands full in this game with Josh Jacobs, as he’s been one of the best backs in football. Now, Pittsburgh is generally more stout against the run with the 11th-highest stuff rate, the third-lowest gash rate, the sixth-lowest yards per attempt and the 11th-fewest points per game. Jacobs is going to counter that by leading the league in rushing yards and he’s also second in points per game, sixth in touchdowns, ninth in receiving yards and ninth in receptions. They’re not going to hesitate to give him a ton of work either as he’s recorded 24, 29, 28, and 39 touches in the past four games. It may not be the best matchup but Jacobs has been too strong of a player to eschew totally and we’ll see if the weather makes him more appealing. 

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams Week 16 Saturday Night DFS Showdown Breakdown

It’s not hard to see why Davante Adams is so expensive, given that he’s sixth in points per game, first in touchdowns, first in unrealized air yards, fourth in receiving yards, fifth in receptions and second in deep targets. He’s not in any alignment more than 39% of the time and that means he’ll see all three of Cameron Sutton, Arthur Maulet and Levi Wallace. Maulet (72% catch rate) and Wallace (0.32 points per route) are the “easiest” matchups, but it’s not like I’d fear Sutton either. Three out of the last four games have been very disappointing for Adams but the only reason I wouldn’t roster him this week would be the weather, as his deep game is what the Steelers defend the worst. 

After that, Hunter Renfrow came back last week and was at a 42.7% snap rate with only three targets and he only went 1/14. I expect him to play more snaps this week since Keelan Cole played 23.5%, but Renfrow was not that involved when he was healthy. He’s yet to score more than 11.9 DK points and every other game has been in the single digits. Mack Hollins is $1,400 more but he saw another eight targets last week to bring him to 84 on the year, 35th at his position. Despite more work than he thought he’d get this year, Hollins is only the WR48 in points per game and 41st in yards. He would face Wallace the most and the big plays Wallace has allowed give him a window to pay off on this slate since Hollins is 12th in aDOT on the year. 

Tight End

Darren Waller made his return along with Renfrow last week and managed to play 48.5% of the snaps and he garnered three targets. It was only his sixth game and Waller only has 27 targets in those games so despite him scoring a touchdown, he does feel expensive at almost $8,000 on DK. He also has just a 15.2% target share in his healthy games so he hasn’t been a target magnet by any stretch. Pittsburgh is 10th in points per game allowed and unless we get some type of information that Waller and Foster Moreau aren’t splitting the work here, I’m not looking at him at the salary. 

Defense/Special Teams

You would need the elements or the general ineptitude of the Pittsburgh offense to help this play along since Vegas is dead last in total DVOA, 23rd in points allowed per game, and 31st in turnovers forced. Pittsburgh has allowed a 25% pressure rate and 35 sacks which are in the bottom half of the league. I don’t believe Vegas is good enough to give this a shot, especially since they are more expensive than the other option. 

Kicker

We’ll have to decide closer to the game but Pittsburgh isn’t the easiest kicking spot on a good day. The good news is even though it might not be a great spot, Daniel Carlson is tied for third in attempts on the season, and a whopping nine of his 29 made attempts are from 50 yards or further. We have some good kickers overall and the salaries are strong so unless it’s a disaster for the winds, both kickers are in play. 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Plays for Week 16 SNF DFS – Saturday Showdown and Primetime Slates 

Quarterback

I’d love to play Kenny Pickett here since the Vegas defense has struggled so badly, but at least for fantasy, Pickett has struggled as well. He’s just 28th in points per dropback, 30th in points per game and 21st in pass rate in neutral scripts. It’s still tempting since Vegas is 31st in DVOA against the pass, 25th in points per game allowed and 29th in completion rate allowed. Picket has not produced well when he’s pressured with a 54.1 passer rating and the Raiders are getting pressure about 27% of the time. The play-action game hasn’t added much to Pickett’s game as he’s at a 65.9% completion rate but only a 78.8 passer rating. Maybe the Raiders help that out since they are allowing the fifth-highest completion rate but that’s far from a certainty. I do think there’s a little bit of an upside with Pickett as far as rushing yards since he’s 14th in yards per game and 13th in red zone carries. If the passing game is faltering, they could give Pickett an extra attempt or two (although he’s had two concussions so I don’t expect a lot). Overall, this is likely a game for the backs and Pickett won’t go nuts here. It’s not going to help that the Raiders play their corners in man coverage around 45% of the time and Pickett is outside the top 30 in completion rating and passer rating when facing man coverage this year. 

Running Back

Jaylen Warren Week 16 Saturday Night DFS Showdown Breakdown

Last week the Steelers were able to handle the game on the scoreboard without much of a hassle and we saw both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren record 24 and 12 touches, which included four red zone attempts for each player. I believe we’re going to see that approach again this week if they can and Vegas is a weak run defense on the season. They have the 10th-lowest stuff rate, they rank 22nd in DVOA against the run, and they’re 29th in points allowed per game. We know Harris will get the carries as long as the score is close since he is ninth in carries on the season and 15th in yards. Since the receiving work has taken a dip, the points per game are only 23rd while Warren is rattling off 5.7 yards per touch. Harris is 52nd there at 3.9 so I truly don’t mind the double-back approach here as the Steelers try to ground and pound their way to a win. 

Wide Receiver

I’ve been generally taking George Pickens over Diontae Johnson every week, but that’s going to be reversed this week. We’re going to see a shorter pass game in this one and Johnson is the more refined route runner, giving him an advantage. Johnson also has a 10.1-yard aDOT compared to 14.9 for Pickens and the target share for Johnson has hit 27.2% compared to 15.5% for Pickens. The salaries should be further apart in my eyes because Johnson is 11th in receptions and that’s the likeliest way to pay off on this slate. The matchup against corner Nate Hobbs is not that worrisome either. He’s allowed the highest catch rate in the secondary at 69% and all three have a matching 0.23 points per route. While Johnson probably feels like he’ll never score again, he’s still sixth in targets, eighth in routes run and ninth in red zone targets. 

Pickens is still in play even though the matchup grades out better for Johnson in the WR/CB Matchup Tool. Sidney Jones is going to be on that side and has a 65% catch rate allowed but has also only covered 57 routes so far. The talent is palpable but Pickens is outside the top 50 in points per game and yards run per route, not super exciting even on a showdown slate. Steven Sims is playing about 40% of the snaps since Chase Claypool was traded to the Bears and has an 8.8% target share but the 6.1 aDOT could funnel an extra target or two toward him in this environment.  Tyler Hall is in the slot and has allowed a 65% catch rate and you’re just hoping for 4-5 targets at the salary. 

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth Week 16 Saturday Night DFS Showdown Breakdown

Perhaps the goose egg from last week will keep the rostership for Pat Freiermuth in check, and that outcome was a new low for him. He’s still under a 75% snap rate since Claypool left which I can’t figure out but the Raiders are 24th in points per game allowed. Even with the goose last week, Freiermuth has a 22.7% target share since the Claypool trade and is tied for the team lead in red zone targets at five. His aDOT is appealing here as well since it’s only 9.5 yards and I doubt they go another game without making it a point to get him involved in the passing game. I’d play him ahead of Pickens in this spot. 

Defense/Special Teams

Vegas doesn’t generally give you much since they are in the top 10 in sacks allowed and they have just 14 giveaways, the second-fewest. Still, Pittsburgh is 13th in total DVOA and 14th in points per game allowed. The temperatures are going to be brutal and Pittsburgh has forced 17 turnovers while sacking the quarterback 29 times. They are a fine play that could be enhanced by the weather, but we’ll see. 

Kicker

Chris Boswell made his return last week and through nine games, he’s had a tough year by his standards. Of the 18 attempts, he’s only hit 13 but six are from 50 yards or further so that helps, especially Saturday. Vegas is 25th in yards allowed per game so we should be able to see some attempts if nothing else. 

Core Plays

  • Davante Adams
  • Najee Harris
  • Jaylen Warren 
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