Kickoff Monday, Oct 28th 8:15pm Eastern

Dolphins (
15) at

Steelers (

Over/Under 44.0


Key Matchups
Dolphins Run D
21st DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
12th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D
18th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
19th DVOA/20th Yards per pass
Steelers Run D
13th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O
3rd DVOA/1st Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
7th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards per pass

Showdown Slant ::

Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!

Week 8 wraps up with the atrocious Dolphins visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh has a massive team total of 28.75 currently, while the Dolphins are sitting at a total of 14.75 (which, given how their offense has performed so far this year, might be aggressive). That said, the Dolphins do have the offensive pieces to make this an interesting showdown, and while 5-1 onslaughts will be popular they are definitely not the only way to build.

The Pittsburgh run game starts with James Conner, who at $13,400 is as expensive as I can remember seeing a player be in Showdown….ever. With that said he is by far the safest play on the board and a smart place to begin your cash game lineups. Conner has been seeing 70-80% of the snaps when healthy, which, against a Dolphins defense that has already given up 200+ rushing yard games twice this year, still leaves some meat on the bone for the backup. As of right now the backup looks likely to be Jaylen Samuels, who has made a faster-than-expected recovery from a knee scope, but if Samuels misses, Benny Snell is a nice value play. 

The Steelers’ pass game is a little trickier to figure out. JuJu Smith-Schuster has the talent required to obliterate this Miami secondary, but the question is if he’ll see the volume that he needs to pay off his high-end price tag. Diontae Johnson is $7,800 and he’s a guy whose best NFL game has been 77 receiving yards. I actually like Johnson, but both of these guys are overpriced for their median expectations; that said, if the Dolphins just fall over and fail here, they could be in the optimal lineup just by virtue of nobody else even sniffing double-digit points after Conner and Mason Rudolph. Behind these two, James Washington should be active after missing Week 6. Washington has not really established himself on this offense, but he should slide in ahead of Donte Moncrief and Johnny Holton and he’s just $3,800, making him the first reasonable value we’ve come across in our analysis. Holton is just $200 and played 53% of the snaps in Week 6, well ahead of Moncrief, and is a reasonable MME punt. Finally, Vance McDonald is now splitting snaps with Nick Vannett, which has many best ball drafters (including yours truly) banging their heads in frustration. Both are cheap, both will likely need touchdowns to matter. I’d bet on McDonald for his superior YAC ability if picking between the two. 

On the Miami side, Kenyan Drake has been ruled out as the Dolphins are trading him, and Mark Walton had taken over as the lead back in Week 7 with 52% of the snaps (compared to 41% for Drake and just 7% for Kalen Ballage). Walton has been trending up at Ballage’s expense since Week 4, so he should take over as lead back, though we don’t really know how the split will work out. If Walton is a real lead back with Ballage just spelling him in a 70/30 or so split, then Walton is underpriced for his role. Given that Ballage has managed an anemic 1.7 yards per carry and has only caught three of 10 targets, the safe bet is that Walton should see a lion’s share of the work. 

The Miami pass game has finally gotten going a little bit in the last two weeks, with a couple of passing TDs (for the Dolphins, this is exciting) and several hundred actual yards of aerial offense. The two most involved receivers are Preston Williams and DeVante Parker, who are both playing almost every offensive snap and who picked up 18 total targets between them out of Fitzmagic’s 35 drop-backs last week. This is a bad offense, but at least it’s starting to look like a condensed offense, which is DFS-frendly. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can avoid turnovers, he’s also priced down around the cheapest we’ve ever seen QBs in showdown. Beyond Parker and Williams we have a timeshare with Allen Hurns, Albert Wilson, Jakeen Grant, and Isaiah Ford all seeing the field. Of those four, Wilson is by far the most useful for DFS, with gamebreaking speed. If you believe that his snap count is going to increase as he puts his recent injury further behind him, he’s a play. Finally, at tight end, Mike Gesicki has been consistently involved in the offense and gets a great matchup against a Steelers team that doesn’t really even bother trying to guard tight ends. He’s a solid value play. Durham Smythe is playing about as many snaps as Gesicki but is just a blocker. 

The way this game is likeliest to play out is for the Dolphins to, as per usual, get wrecked. James Conner should lead the way, though the Steelers passing game should also face little resistance, but it’s harder to project significant pass game volume. The Dolphins are likely to struggle against Pittsburgh’s above-average defense and aggressive pass rush, though the relatively concentrated nature of their offense means at least one good score should emerge.

Some other ways the game could play out:

  • The Dolphins could put up more of a fight. Most people are going to be building 5-1 and 4-2 onslaught lineups, but we’ve seen Ryan Fitzpatrick look like a competent NFL quarterback for various brief flashes in his career, and it’s not outrageous to think he could do so again in this game.
  • The Steelers could crush the Dolphins, but with all of the scoring coming through the air. Maybe they try to take it a bit easy on Conner, who was nursing an injury recently, or maybe they try to get Mason Rudolph some confidence by letting him run more of a passing offense in a weak matchup.

The obvious captain here is Conner, and while you can argue contrarian takes, it’s worth noting that in other showdowns which have one really, blatantly obvious captain, that player’s captain ownership rarely gets above 35-40%. If you told me Conner would be 40% owned in the captain spot, I think I would want to be overweight on that. The other interesting captain choices to me are the Steelers’ backup RB (whoever that ends up being), Walton, and Davante Parker.

Some groups to consider:

  • At most 1 defense
  • At most 1 kicker
  • Pair captain receivers with their QB
  • Pair captain QBs with at least 2 receivers
  • At most 1 of the Dolphins’ secondary receivers (Wilson, Hurns, Grant, Ford)
  • At most 1 of Washington, Holton, and Moncrief
  • At least 1 of Conner and Rudolph

Advanced Showdowns

Xandamere’s Advanced Showdown Course is now available through OWS :: Marketplace! This is his tournament course for Showdowns; and given the tangible edge in this contest type, it should pay itself off pretty quickly(!).

JM’s Notes for Thursday-to-Monday Players ::

  • • On the 15-game slate, there is no reason to target the Dolphins offense on the road against a stout, aggressive Steelers defense unless you’re simply trying to close your eyes and swing for the fences with a long-shot play. (If going that route, you might as well throw in a Dolphins player block — essentially trying to capture an unexpected “big game from the Dolphins,” rather than just trying to isolate an individual piece that might get lucky.)
  • On the Steelers side: as noted in the past — there are no bad matchups against the Dolphins; only the potential for bad volume.
  • With Mason Rudolph under center, the best bet for volume/production is James Conner. Conner is a solid bet for a big game and can be considered a roster staple in all contest types.
  • There is also upside on Jaylen Samuels (who appears set to return), Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and even Vance McDonald — with the pass-catching pieces obviously long-shots with Rudolph under center (requiring a big play or a game environment in which the Dolphins do well and force the Steelers to get aggressive through the air in order to have a strong shot at hitting; but with the matchup nevertheless keeping these guys in the fringe-tourney conversation).
  • The Steelers defense also has “staple piece” potential this week.