By Sean Weymouth
Now it is the 2019 NFL and anything can happen but tonight’s AFC Matchup has the makings of a good ol’ fashioned down and dirty grudge match. Two stingy defenses. Two young quarterbacks. A timeless running back and a rookie going up against a banged up pro bowler and a committee. Yuck.
That being said, someone has to win some cash tonight so why not you?
I’ll be honest, this may be the only game in showdown history that I advocate to start both defenses in the same lineup. But for the more general approach Josh Allen ($11,200) is probably the only Buffalo Bill I will consider as a captain tonight and frankly it is due to his versatility as both runner and passer that has me intrigued. Pittsburgh’s D is ranked #3 against QBs. Since the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick they have been lights out against the likes of Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Jarod Goff, Jacoby Myers and Jeff Driskel (Andy Dalton rode the pine that game). Not really a murder’s row of QBs if you ask me and Josh Allen’s ability to extend plays with his legs has me intrigued to see how the Steelers fair. Now Allen is not a lock by any stretch of any imagination, but if I was to Captain a Bill his unpredictability has me at least interested.
John Brown ($9,600) will likely draw the most interest from the Steelers secondary and while “Smoke” could always break away for a big time catch and run, I personally like Cole Beasley ($9,800) and the safety net he provides Allen just a bit more. Particularly in the red zone where over the last three weeks Beasley has hit paydirt.
I’m also looking at rookie Tight End Dawson Knox ($3,200) as a potential target. If there is one potential hole in the Steelers Defense it is tight end where they rank 14th and again during their recent stretch of defensive domination they also haven’t really faced a tight end the caliber of the talented Buffalo rookie.
Devin Singletary ($9,400) also may be in for a long night as well as his ageless handcuff Frank Gore ($2,200). The Steelers give up just over 100 yards on the ground but they also rank 4th in the league against Running Backs. I think if the Bills are going to get anything done it will be through Josh Allen’s arm so of the two backs, Singletary holds more appeal as a pass catcher.
As I alluded to at the top, I do have interests in Buffalo’s Defense ($4,600) going up against Duck Hodges. The Bills currently rank 7th in the league against QBs, 5th against Running Backs and 5th against Wide receivers and I think are fully in play tonight as a flex.
Likewise I also like kicker Steven Hauschka ($4,000) as if the Steelers are able to stall the Bill’s offense in the red zone, Buffalo will take the points his foot can offer.
Duck Hodges ($8,200) will be without Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster once again tonight and will need to lean on the hunting relationship he has formed with James Washington ($7,000) and the Touchdown relationship he has formed with Diontae Johnson ($6,400) to get things done. Only one issue. At least half of the time both guys will be lined against the Bill’s shut down corner Tre’Davious White who has been lights out as of late – so while both are in play, I wouldn’t play them without stacking with Hodges too.
Big tight end Vance McDonald is also out tonight so that puts Nick Vannett ($1,800) in play but beware – the Bills are good against Tight Ends ranking 2nd in the league against the position.
This brings us to the Pittsburgh running game featuring rte returning James Connor ($10,600) who will give it a go. Just a suggestion – if you do play Connor I may also consider using Benny Snell ($2,600) or Kerrith Whyte ($200) or Jaylen Samuels ($1,200) as even if Connor is healthy, it is tough to say if Coach Tomlin will rise his star back all night with a potential playoff berth looming. However if there are any plays tonight to bank on tonight it is the Steeler’s running game. Buffalo ranks 14th against them run and with young Duck under center I could see the Steelers really leaning on their backfield.
If you hadn’t gathered already I like the Steelers Defense ($5,000) who are in a good spot tonight to shut down an AFC team and continue their march to the playoffs. With Allen’s volatility at QB, as much as I am intrigued with his potential, I also expect sacks and even a turnover or two to come from Steel City.
Lastly in what I would expect to be a low scoring game, kickers will be king so don’t sleep on Steeler’s kicker Chris Boswell ($4,200) who will firmly be in play despite an up and down season.
I expect this to be a low scoring, down and dirty grudge match tonight. Good Luck in your Contests!!