Steelers-Dolphins DFS Showdown: Slate Strategy Analysis


October 23

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The Miami Dolphins are dominating the optimal and ownership boards as they are more than a touchdown favorite over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. 

Tua Tagovailoa returns from his concussions tonight and offers a high passing upside with two of the best receivers in the sport at his disposal. He won’t overly concentrate volume to one or the other making Tua viable at the multiplier. He will cost you $16500 here, but his ownership projection doesn’t appear too high to stray away, given that the Steelers have allowed the third most passing yards in football this season.

We have seen Tyreek Hill have a higher overall upside, which is displayed by him costing $2100 at the multiplier with higher ownership and optimal probability projections to his advantage. Even though Waddle is listed as questionable on the injury report with a strong likelihood of playing, we cannot completely dismiss the snap count possibility, given past showdown instances. Siding with Tyreek is the safer play here, but Waddle’s flexibility would also be welcomed. 

Raheem Mostert could be a solid way to infuse financial flexibility and leverage into your lineups. If we follow the expected game script of the Dolphins playing with the lead, there could be some upside to the already near 16 carry-per-game average we’ve seen from Mostert over the last three games. He’ll only cost $11700 and would ideally allow you to squeeze in two-thirds of Tua, Waddle, and Hill at the FLEX.


Kenny Pickett has the highest optimal probability of any Steeler on this slate with significant leverage also to his advantage. Backing Kenny Pickett is very undesirable, given how he has looked through three games, but following the expected game script, there is a clear path to added pass attempts for him, giving him some late value. At the ownership he is projected to garner, he is worth considering. 

Diontae Johnson will be Pickett’s top offensive target tonight and can be one of the top PPR options in football when a strong quarterback throws him the ball. He has seen double-digit targets in four out of six games, but he’s only averaged 64 yards in those four games. The lack of high yardage and touchdowns is concerning, but double-digit targets seem all but certain if Pittsburgh is playing catch up, as they should be. 

Najee Harris has been a complete disappointment as he has only averaged about 16 touches per game compared to the near 25 we were hoping for going into the season. He’ll be priced at $8200, which looks reasonable given his play, but it still is hard to have any confidence in this guy right now. The Dolphins are much better defending the run than the pass, so Najee’s carries should be down anyway. Mostert at $7800 makes way more sense if you want to play an RB.

Chase Claypool and George Pickens are only separated by $200 with similar ownership and optimal projections. We anticipate Pickens being targeted as the WR2 tonight, even though both should have opportunities against weak defenses. Neither has a commanding red zone presence, but both offer value at fair pricing.

How you attack Miami’s tight ends will depend wholly on Durham Smythe’s injury status. When both he and Mike Gesicki were active, neither had a commanding presence as they split a lot of work, but with Smythe out last week, Gesicki had a monster game. At $5200, Gesicki will be a strong play as long as Smythe’s questionable status ends up being downgraded to out.

Pat Freiermuth at $5000 will be your cheapest pass-catching option with Pittsburgh, as the affordable options don’t see meaningful work. He is seeing an uptick in ownership as such, but with three of five games this season resulting in at least seven targets, a clear upside is available. 

Chase Edmonds has combined for three carries and four targets over the past two weeks, which makes him feel like a strong fade at $6200. Given the anti-Najee chatter we’ve seen, backing Jaylen Warren at $2800 could be worth the risk as five carries and a target or two looks to be his new floor.

Thumbnail photo via Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

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