Wednesday Afternoon Showdown – Steelers Ravens – Covid 19 Strikes Again – DFS Showdown Strategy

Another fun Monday Night Football Game in the books and this one ran pretty much as I suspected. The Seahawks got up early, their defense played the middle of the game tough and the Eagles did enough during garbage time to put a little green in the pockets for anyone who rostered them. Go ahead and check, my closing thought on the game was that scenario. It also played out on Sunday Night too. Will it play out here today again? I kinda hope so. Let’s take a look at my best lineup from last night as evident why this kind of game can be profitable:

Captain: DK Metcalf Flex: Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Dallas Goedert, Alshon Jeffery, Boston Scott. This lineup had me placing 586th out of 178,359 players. Plus I cashed a little cash. Not a bad night.

As we discussed yesterday Russell Wilson was UBER Chalk in tournaments – 83% owned, but I was ok with him in the lineup because (as I had thought) Wentz was coming in significantly under owned across the field (he was 30%) and my real contrarian play was Jeffery. The leverage came from Metcalf at Captain who was a leverage play on Tyler Lockett who was 63% owned. Metcalf was also in 50% of lineups but he also outscored Lockett by 23.5 points to – which helped.

So now let’s look at the winning lineup in that tournament which happened to take the top 48 places in the contest. Yes, even a ‘unique’ lineup can be duplicated in Showdowns with the limited player pool. The top 48 players all split the top prize and all had the same identical score. It can happen.

Captain: DK Metcalf Flex: Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rogers, Boston Scott

Yes you are reading that correctly. Had I selected Richard Rodgers versus selecting Alshon Jeffery, I would have been the 49th player taking a cut of the top prize. It wasn’t that I didn’t play Richard Rodgers anywhere – I just didn’t in my particular lineup that cashed. Of course the Garbage Time Hail Mary Catch pushed Rodgers above most of the rest of the field – including the lineups with the Seattle Defense rostered. I mention that for a reason….

So onto this much maligned matchup between the Steelers and Ravens. What can we take from last night’s Showdown winners? What can we do to be different in our builds? Let’s find out.

My Captain/MVP Picks

I believe one of the more popular picks for Captain Pick on DK will be the Steelers Defense. Makes a lot of sense given the narrative of this game. However in order for the Steelers Defense to be the optimal play at Captain they will need to have a massive score to be the optimal play. To be fair, they actually have kinda done this three times already this season. Week 11 against Jacksonville (17 Draft Kings points), Week 8 against the then Lamar Jackson run Baltimore Ravens (18 DK points) and Week 6 against Cleveland (18 DK Points). If you had played a showdown in for those games, the Steelers Defense would have scored you 27 Fantasy points in the Captain seat. So let’s say you didn’t just play showdowns for those three games, but for all 11 of the Steelers games this year and you always rostered the Defense at Captain. Three weeks this year the Steelers D found their ceiling at Captain – 27 DK Points. 3 out of 11 is 27, so 27% of their games this year the Steelers D would score you 27 points. That means the other 8 games they didn’t hit their ceiling or 73% of the games. So the answer here is that the Steelers Defense (and really any defense) is more likely to not deliver a Ceiling game in any matchup and if you compare their 27 point ceiling to DK Metcalf’s score in last night’s winning lineup, it isn’t even close. Metcalf had over 40 Fantasy Points as Captain.

SO my lineups today will start with gaining leverage off of the chalky Steelers Defense. The easiest way to gain leverage on a chalky defense is to look at the offense that is opposing it. However one may then say – what offense? The Starting QB (Jackson) is not playing. The most productive pass catcher (Mark Andrews) is not playing as well as the defacto safety net in the passing game (Willie Snead is also out). Plus (at the time of this writing) the top two running backs in the offense are also missing due to Covid. So who is left? Gus Edwards! Edwards should be a popular flex play today but I think most people will view him too risky to play at Captain as they will see the Steelers being listed as 3rd best against running backs and barely giving up 100 yards on the ground. However in Week 8 when these two teams played, Edwards put 87 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Incidentally in that game JK Dobbins also put up 113 yards rushing, combining for nearly 200 yards rushing on the Steelers defense. If Ingram and Dobbins remain out, the backfield will be lead by Edwards with Justice Hill and Ty’Son Williams available. duplicates nearly 200 yards against the Steelers again? Even I would say it isn’t likely – but it is possible. Could they duplicate the Week 8 production on the ground? The Ravens run at a league high 51.9% of snaps, so there should be plenty of opportunity for Edwards and Co. Edwards is also averaging an impressive 5 yards per carry on the season.

However if you want to go contrarian, I would suggest the passing game. If you do trust the passing game you may be interested in using RGIII at Captain and I like the idea. If the Steelers Defense is a chalky captain, no better leverage on that than to play the QB opposing them. We haven’t seen enough of RG3 in this offense for me to give you a lot of analysis but I will say this. I think the Ravens will scheme designed runs and I think RG3 will try and push the ball down the field. Could we see some down field shots to Hollywood Brown or Dez Bryant? Plus if Ingram and Dobbins remain out, Justice Hill should see work in the passing game too. The Steelers are ranked 17th against wide receivers and are giving up an average of 230 yards per game through the air. So it isn’t crazy to think that the Ravens could move the ball today and I think the majority of people will be playing Steelers. RGIII and his pass catchers could fly under the radar.

Probably my favorite way to gain some leverage though is with the Pittsburgh Wide Receivers at Captain over Big Ben or the Steelers Defense. Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and even a little JuJu Smith Schuster. Claypool is in the midst of a breakout year and just seems like the Touchdown machine with 4 in his last 4 games, including one against the Ravens in Week 8. He also has two multiple TD games under his belt this season. Johnson however seems to have claimed the number one target spot for Big Ben with 10 or more Targets in 4 of his last 5 games. Claypool and Johnson will be popular plays but I think there are ways that you can be different in the rest of your lineup by using them. JuJu I think is your contrarian receiver here. It should be noted that the last time these two played JuJu outscored Diontae Johnson. I will have the most exposure Captain to to Claypool and Johnson.

A Steelers Wide Receiver is leverage on the Steelers Defense because the theory is if the Defense is scoring points, the offense really doesn’t have to do a lot. So by using a Steelers Wide Receiver at Captain/MVP it is bucking that notion and hoping that this game shoots out a little. Make sense?

Flex, Flex, Flex it Up

If I am building a Ravens favored team, I am using both Edwards and RGIII together. The reason is I expect RGIII to get some designed running plays and you may be getting the majority of the Ravens rushing yardage out of that stack. For pass catchers I am stacking either Hollywood Brown or Dez Bryant with RGIII, but not both together. If RGIII finds some success with one guy, I could easily see him keying in on that guy throughout the game and so I don’t think both guys have big games. But I want to have a piece of each in my stack. I’d look to round the stack out with either Justice Hill or WR Devin Dubernay but I also like kicker Justin Tucker here. In the event that the Ravens are able to cross midfield and get into the red zone and stall, I like the chances of Tucker having a few opportunities for Field Goals. I also think using the Ravens Defense in some lineups is another way to gain leverage and I don’t mind rostering them even with Ben and one of his pass catchers.

There is something interesting going on with the Ravens tight ends that you should keep an eye on it. This pertains to a Ravens stack option by the way. By now you know that Mark Andrews is on the Covid-19 list and will not play. But when #2 Tight End Nick Boyle went down to injury, the Ravens signed journeyman Luke Wilson to their practice squad. Well, Wilson popped up on the final injury report this week as questionable, but practice squad players are rarely included on the injury report – so does that mean that the Ravens are hoping to have him on the field? If so, I don’t mind taking a couple shots on Wilson as a third option in a Ravens stack. If he can’t go, Eric Tomilson or Jerell Adams could be the active Tight Ends and I will stay away.

For Steelers Stacks – Ben Roethlisberger should be what you build around. I like Ben to have a nice game today, but I am worried that if the Ravens can’t move the ball the Steelers just go run heavy to put them away. But If I have a pass catcher at Captain I will stack with Ben in the Flex. I think most people will try to get both Claypool and Johnson in a stack with Ben but that is price prohibitive. So I would pick one of Claypool and Johnson to stack with Ben and Eric Ebron. Ebron has touchdown in 3 or his last 4 and no one likes playing Eric Ebron (haha). I would also consider using the Steelers Defense in the flex or Benny Snell. James Connor is the on Covid-19 list which means Benny Snell will get the nod at RB. Connor had a tough game in week 8 against the Steelers but does have one of the only RB Touchdowns that the Ravens have given up this season. Could Snell find similar success. Snell will have Anthony McFarland backing him up too.

I should also mention Pittsburgh Kicker Chris Boswell here who has had 2 or more field goal tries in 4 out of his last 5 games. In Week 8 he attempted no field goals and there is a real possibility that happens again here. I don’t mind using Boswell as a flex play, but I personally will not. Unless a completely different Ravens defense shows up in this game, I don’t think Boswell has enough upside to roster over another player. But that’s just me.

The other guy I do want to mention though, who I do have interest in using is James Washington. Washington is seeing 2 – 3 targets per game and also has 3 touchdowns on the season. I think with a lot of attention on Claypool, Johnson and Ebron – James Washington makes a nice contrarian play to include in a Steelers stack, similar to Alshon Jeffery last night. Vance McDonald should also be active for this game but with the emergance of Claypool, Johnson and Ebron in the offense I don’t have a lot of interest in taking a shot on him. Someone else can fall on that sword if they want to.

I have spent a lot of time talking about this game and treating it as a competitive contest. I think as fans we all hope that it can be. We have had a string of good and or fun primetime games this season and no one wants to see a stinker. The Reality is though that this was a tough matchup for the Ravens in Week 8 with all of their starters healthy. Now they are coming in way under gunned and have a real uphill battle on their hands. So it is quite possible that this is a blow out and because of that, I will say that if you are multi-entering having a good amount of Steelers onslaught 5-1 lineups isn’t a bad idea. But know that is the popular thinking so you will need to build your lineups and think differently as you put the pieces in place and try and find leverage where you can. Hopefully I gave you enough of how I am looking to find leverage for you to pull from and if you are hoping for a Raven’s upset, hopefully I gave you enough on Baltimore to build a lineup with enough leverage there to take down a tournament – if they win.

Good Luck in your Contests!

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