Chase Claypool –
You Can Find Me on Twitter @DelRayBoston
Big Ben on the road. Now historically, that has been a thing – however this season, with the way Ben has been playing … yeesh – Gotta love the Chargers Defense here right – Joey Bosa should be back by the way. Seriously, let’s stay on Ben for a second here. In 9 Games this season, he is yet to score 20 fantasy points and that is no better evidenced that he has only thrown for 300 yards once as well. The real striking thing though is his average completion percentage which is a shocking 65%.
The only positive I can say about Big Ben in this game is that he looks to be under 12% owned as a Flex and 7% owned as Captain on DK, 8% owned as an MVP on FD. So if you go with Ben at top and he bucks the season long trends, you could have found probably one of the only real leverage plays on the night. So let’s talk Captain/MVP First then we’ll touch on strategy and dart throws. Let’s go:
Pat Freiermuth – Surprised I am starting with The Muth? Few reasons why I have my eye on Freiermuth first. First, 4 or more targets since Week 6, 30 or more yards during that stretch and 3 touchdowns. Second, the Chargers rank 29th against the Tight Ends. Third, 4% owned at Captain on DK and 7% owned at MVP on FanDuel. The ownership I think is due to Eric Ebron being back, but all reports coming from the Steelers’ camp is that Ebron is coming back as the #2 to Freiermuth. Could it blow up in my face? Sure… but I’ll have faith in the Freir.
Najee Harris -Unbelievably, as of right now Harris looks to be the 4th highest owned Captain on DK and First, the 3rd highest owned MVP on FD. If this holds, you gotta play Najee tonight. The Chargers have been well publicized as a ‘run funnel defense’ and Harris has dominated this backfield. Since week 5, Harris has had 22 or more rushing attempts per game and at least 2 targets per game. Second, he’s just great. He’s had double digit fantasy points in every game this season except week 1. He’s been averaging 22.5 Fantasy Points per game from Week 2 on. It will be tough to fade Harris tonight, even if you are multi entering. The only hesitancy I have is that Harris is the most expensive player on either site tonight… so you will need to find some value/dart throws in your lineup to make it work.
Austin Ekeler – the 3rd highest owned Captain on DK and the second highest owned MVP on FD, Ekeler has also been having a great season. Double digit Fantasy Points in every game – BUT he has only gone 20 points or higher once in the last 4 games. However tonight the Steelers will be without two Defensive studs in TJ Watt and Joe Haden, so I am extremely interested in EK even despite the recent ‘struggles’ of this offense, even despite the ownership. Ekeler has had double digit total touches in every game and is a vital piece to the success of the Chargers.
Justin Herbert – since the bye week, it just hasn’t seemed like the Chargers have been “right”. They have gone 1 – 2 during the stretch but tonight, with the Steeler’s pass rush diminished with TJ Watt sidelined, as well as in the secondary with Joe Haden sitting – this could be the type of game the Chargers need to get back on track. This all starts with Herbert, who looks to be the highest owned Captain/MVP. He also is the second highest priced player on either site. Herbert has enough weapons on the field to get it done for you and he also has rushed 2 or more times in every game this season. Don’t mind the extra yards at all.
Diontae Johnson – It is true that the Chargers have been solid against #1 receivers, however if there is one guarantee with the Steelers is that Diontae Johnson will be targeted. 4 times this season he has seen 13 targets. 6 Times this season, 10 or more targets. Only twice has he seen less than that number. In the 6 games where he has seen 10 or more targets he also is catching the ball at a 62.5% rate. He’s gone for 70+ yards 6 times this season as well. The only thing he is lacking is Touchdowns, in fact he hasn’t scored one since Week 5. But for the volume and opportunity, I like Johnson at Captain tonight on DK and don’t mind him as a contrarian MVP on FanDuel.
Mike Williams – I know I should be talking about Keenan Allen here, and if you want to try Keenan at the top of your lineups, I won’t stop you. But if you want to win in a tournament, you need to have some leverage and with Keenan Allen the 3rd and 4th highest owned Captain and MVP respectively, I love the ownership and price discount you are getting on Williams (savings of about $2,000 from Allen to Williams). Yes, Williams has certainly cooled off from earlier this season but with potentially an extra second or two for Herbert with TJ Watt out and the potential for blown coverage with Joe Haden being out and a second team CB out wide, maybe this is a surprise big game for Williams. At 7% ownership, that is the type of variance you need to take down a tournament.
Kickers – I hate rostering Kickers at Captain/MVP but I am ok with it tonight. I know I have talked a lot about the Steerler’s defense being down two core pieces. However they are still a team that has yet to allow over 27 points in any game this season. Likewise the Chargers are getting Joey Bosa back from Covid. Only once have they allowed over 30 points, and one of those games was against Patrick Mahomes. My point is there is a real chance that Kickers in this game will matter. If you are multi-entering, I’d have at least one lineup with a kicker at the top.
Defenses – On Thursday Night Football it was the Patriots defense that was the top scoring play at Captain on DK. I can copy and paste what I just wrote above but you get the point. Again if you are multi-entering, I’d have at least one lineup with a defense at the top.
FLEX STRATEGY & DART THROWS
The first thing I am going to say here is … I think you can do with Fading Big Ben tonight. There was a chance he wasn’t even going to play this week already and even if his receivers have a good game, it doesn’t mean he will. We have already seen it all season long. That being said…
If I am playing Freiermuth at Captain, I likely will stack him with Ben and at least one other Steelers pass catcher in Johnson or Claypool. I don’t mind using Najee here either as I always feel like the TE and Running Back correlate well.
If I am playing Diontae Johnson at Captain, I don’t mind the stack with Big Ben but I also want to have a secondary pass catcher in that stack – Chase Claypool, The Muth or a dart throw such as James Washington, Eric Ebron or a deep dart like Ray Ray McCloud. If I am not using Ben in the stack, I don’t mind being different and using Najee Harris.
If I am playing Najee at the top, I am limiting my Steelers Pass Catchers to one – primarily Johnson, Claypool or Freiermuth and I am finishing the Steelers stack with the Steelers Defense.
My favorite Chargers run backs on Steelers stacks here are Herbert, Ekeler or Keenan Allen and the Kicker Dustin Hopkins.
If I am going off the wall with the Steelers, I am using Chase Claypool at Captain – simply because you don’t know when he will go off so similar to what I wrote about Mike Williams, variance can be key. I would stack Claypool with Big Ben and then I’d fill the rest of my lineup with Chargers.
If I am using Austin Ekeler at the top, I’ll be stacking Herbert with him since he sees enough work in the passing game for that to make sense. I would choose one additional primary weapon, mostly Keenan Allen but I don’t mind using Mike Williams here either.
If I am using Justin Herbert at Captain, I am stacking him with Ekeler, Allen or Williams plus a dart throw like TE Jared Cook or a deeper dart with TE Donald Parham. You can also sprinkle in a deeper dart in WR Joshua Palmer who saw 4 targets last week and has seen at least one target in 7 of 9 games this season.
If I am using Mike Williams at Captain, I am stacking Herbert with him of course and then I am limiting my other Cardinals to one of the Dart Throws – Cook, Parham, Palmer – as the story I am telling is that Williams is taking over the game. Similarly if I am playing Keenan Allen in the top spot, but I don’t mind adding Ekeler to the stack in Keenan Allen lineups.
If I am going off the wall with the Chargers – it’s actually with the Defense at Captain. I’d stack Ekeler and Herbert here and then fill up the rest of the lineup with Steelers not named Ben plus the Steelers kicker Chris Boswell.
My favorite run backs on Chargers stacks are Diontae Johnson, Najee Harris, Chase Claypool, The Muth and the kicker Boswell.
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS!