Kickoff Sunday, Sep 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Raiders (
20.5) at

Steelers (
26)

Over/Under 46.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Raiders Run D
12th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
28th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D
17th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
17th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Steelers Run D
4th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O
31st DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
19th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O
10th DVOA/1st Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Expect volume for Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster over the short areas of the field against a defensive scheme designed to limit yards after the catch
  • The snap rates, usage numbers, and opportunity shares for every Raider not named Darren Waller leave secondary Raider options completely off the table in a difficult matchup
  • Darren Waller could legitimately lead the league in targets, a highly valuable proposition from a tight end position devoid of bankable production

How Las Vegas Will Try To Win ::

Vegas called 26 pass plays to only 10 rush plays in the first half of their MNF game against the Ravens, ending with 56 pass attempts to just 21 rush attempts. Now, does that indicate a philosophical shift away from the heavy situation-neutral rush rates from 2020 (44%, ninth highest in the league), or might it require a little more nuance? Starting running back Josh Jacobs was noticeably less than 100% after being out or limited for most of the practice week leading up to the game. Furthermore, the duo of Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams form one of the top run-stopping defensive line units in the league. Might this be more a case of specific game planning? In my opinion, it is much more likely to be the latter. On a standard week, we should still expect the Raiders to be a run-balanced team, capable of hitting all three depths of the field through the passing game if required to do so. This game, however, is not expected to be a standard week for them.

The matchup on the ground yields a below average 3.5 net-adjusted line yards metric, and Josh Jacobs is still nursing both foot and toe injuries, having missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday. I would tentatively expect him to play but be rather limited in both snap rate and efficiency. One thing we know from this Raiders offense is their propensity to punch the ball into the end zone on the ground, with Jacobs rushing for two more scores Week 1 on only 10 carries. But poor matchup, poor health, and likely neutral to negative game script have this backfield a complete stay away for me.

Through the air, the offense starts and mostly stops with tight end Darren Waller. We all found out fairly quickly how well relying on previous year’s data can burn you as recently as TJ Hockenson versus the Niners, but this Steelers unit finished 2020 allowing the second fewest fantasy points per game to the tight end position, second only to the aforementioned Niners. In their Week 1 stunning overtime win, Darren Waller was the only member of the Raiders (outside of quarterback Derek Carr) to play more than two-thirds of the offensive snaps run from scrimmage. Quite telling, no? Bryan Edwards, Henry Ruggs III, Foster Moreau, Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs, and Kenyan Drake all played between 66% and 48% of the offensive snaps. I look for that to continue here in what should be considered a difficult matchup from top to bottom.

How Pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::

A year after finishing second in the league in situation-neutral pass rate at 65%, the Steelers came out and held a rate of 62% in the same metric in Week 1. Ben Roethlisberger simply does not have the arm strength he once did, and the struggles of the young offensive line remained, leaving a majority of that passing work to fall in the short to intermediate variety in Week 1. Overall, the identity of this team continues to revolve around a suffocating defense and a short to intermediate passing game. One interesting tidbit: the Steelers failed to blitz even once in Week 1, which was likely more a tribute to the escapability of opposing quarterback Josh Allen than it was a sign of things to come this season. It is possible, maybe even probable, we see the Steelers elect to keep their blitz rates low once again here, but for different reasons. With no blitz, the additional personnel can be dedicated inside to blanket coverage on the Raiders’ primary weapon: Darren Waller. This makes the most sense to me from a likely game planning approach, particularly considering the injuries to Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and the organic pressure rates the Steelers defensive line is able to generate on their own.

In what developed into a true slugfest, the Steelers struggled to get anything going on the ground against the Bills, averaging a disparagingly low 2.8 yards per running back carry. The matchup is perceived to be a good one on the ground this week, but the Raiders just held the top run offense in the game to an obscene 3.56 adjusted line yards metric and Pittsburgh displayed a downright putrid 2.60 adjusted line yards metric in their first game. Together it yields a net-adjusted line yards metric of just 3.08 (small sample size alert, but shocking nonetheless!). Yes, rookie running back Najee Harris played on every single offensive snap for the Steelers in their Week 1 game, but I was left wanting more after he saw only three targets on the day. Furthermore, a massive 56% of Harris’ 45 rush yards came after contact. We saw the jet sweeps, pre-snap motions, and shifts that we alluded to in the preseason primer, which are all designed to be utilized from the pistol formation to open up an opposing defense.

Over 33% of the Steelers’ pass plays in Week 1 came through play-action, a method designed to open up the lanes in the second level. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is clearly trying to do what he can with this offense to manufacture success, but the matchup in Week 1 was a difficult one. Big Ben’s 6.2 average intended air yards were right in line with his value from last year so this offense will continue to rely on yards after the catch and high completion rates for success. Opposing defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s bump and run press Cover-3 defensive scheme is one that limits downfield passing, a logical hire after the team allowed a massive 11.4 yards per completion last season. Bradley’s system blitzed at the lowest rate in the NFL during his four years in Los Angeles, so we should expect more of the same here. In all, this defensive scheme should do well in limiting yards after the catch potential but should cede high completion rates over the short and intermediate areas of the field. Expect the Steelers to have to methodically march the field here, using the short passing game as an extension of the run game.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

The primary game flow from this one will be dictated by the Steelers since they hold the clear edge on both sides of the ball. We are likely to see an increase in the standard number of plays run from scrimmage as the Steelers tilt pass-heavy organically and the Raiders are forced to tilt more pass-heavy as well, considering the injuries at running back, their weak offensive line, and a likely neutral to negative game script. This should serve as a bump to the primary volume pieces from both offenses, primarily Darren Waller, Diontae Johnson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. In a setup like this, we can be fairly certain about the floor from these three.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • LV defense ranked 12th in pressure rate, per SIS, and 16th in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate, in 2020
  • PFF gave LV a 91.2 grade for Pass Rush in Week 1, tops in the league
  • PIT graded out at 93.7, second in the NFL
  • On the road, they held the Buffalo Bills to only 16 points

Derek Carr

  • Carr’s 2020 yards per pass attempt, 7.94, were a career high
  • 5.2% TD rate in 2020 was the highest it’s been since 2015
  • ADoT from 2018-2020: 7.1 // 6.9 // 8.5
  • The offensive line ranked in the top 10 in lowest adjusted sack rate the past two seasons
  • OL has lost 3 starters from ‘20
  • Against Baltimore in Week 1, the OL received a 57.1 pass blocking grade from PFF, and a 44.6 run blocking grade
  • Carr is a Top 10 QB in accuracy and rating when kept clean
  • He’s just average when facing pressure
  • The Steelers defense led the league in pressure rate in 2020
  • In Week 1 of ‘21, on the road, they held Josh Allen to just 18.2 DK points, over 9 points less than his ‘20 average
  • Carr’s DK totals in ‘20, in games that finished with 49+ points: 13.56 // 22.66 // 17.44 // 24.44 // 27.98 // 20.26 // 15 // 7.16 // 22.6 // 4.6 // 35.74 // 28.84 // 2.12 // 26.24 // 25.94
  • Among that set, here are the DK totals on the road: 13.56 // 17.44 // 27.98 // 15 // 4.6 // 35.74 // 25.94
  • In an overtime win at home vs. Baltimore in Week 1, Carr posted the following stat line: 34 completions on 56 attempts (60.7%), 435 yards with 7.8 yards per attempt, 10.1 average depth of target, 2 TDs & 1 INT, with a 76.9 PFF passing grade
  • 15.8% of his pressures turned into sacks, nearly identical to the 15.3% last season
  • Week 1 DK score: 28

LV Pass Catchers

  • Raiders WRs averaged 14.9 targets per game, 31st in the league
  • They combined for 9.7 receptions (31st), 146.9 yards per game (23rd), 9.9 yards per target (2nd)
  • In Week 1, the WR room totaled 22 targets in an overtime victory over Baltimore
  • Departed WR Nelson Agholor led last year’s WRs with 82 targets, 896 yards, and eight TDs
  • Henry Ruggs totaled 43 targets in 13 games, good for only 3.3 per game
  • His average depth of target was 17.4 yards. Among WRs that played 50% of their team’s offensive snaps, that mark was second in the league
  • Ruggs DK totals: 9.6 // 1.4 // 22.8 // 6.5 // 2.9 // 1 // 6.1 // 2.7 // 8.4 // 16.4 // 4.8 // 0.7 // 5.8
  • In Week 1, Ruggs played 44.7% of his snaps in the slot, 55.3% out wide
  • He finished with 2 receptions on 5 targets, for 46 yards and 6.6 DK points
  • Bryan Edwards played on only 24% of the offensive snaps in 2020. PFF gives him a 69.5 grade
  • In Week 1 vs. Baltimore, Edwards played on 90.7% of snaps
  • He had zero targets until late in the game
  • Edwards finished with 4 receptions on 5 targets, 81 yards, and 12.1 DK points
  • Hunter Renfrow averaged 8.5 yards per target in ‘19 & ‘20, for 46.5 & 41 yards per game, respectively
  • Renfrow’s DK totals in outdoor games last year: 4.1 // 20.4 // 5.2 // 12.6 // 8 // 8.7 // 5.4
  • Against the Ravens, Renfrow led the team in slot percentage at 67.5. He caught 6 balls on 9 targets, for 70 yards and 13 DK points
  • Zay Jones caught 2 targets against the Ravens, including the game winning TD in overtime, but he only ran a route on 17 plays
  • Darren Waller finished third (22.4%) and first (26.4%) in team target share the past two seasons
  • In 2020, Waller caught 107 of 145 targets, for 1,196 yards, and nine TDs
  • Waller finished 2nd among all TEs in receiving yards per pass attempt
  • Waller finished 2nd to Kelce among all TEs in DK points per game
  • Waller’s DK log in outdoor games last year: 10.5 // 2.9 // 15.8 // 7.7 // 13.2 // 48 // 30.7
  • In all games with final totals of 49+: 10.5 // 31.5 // 2.9 // 16.8 // 15.8 // 17 // 13.2 // 6.7 // 21.8 // 6.3 // 48 // 14.5 // 33 // 19.2 // 30.7
  • Against the Ravens, Waller had 10 receptions on 18 targets, for 105 yards and 1 TD. That was good for 29.5 DK points. His 35.2% target share led all TEs in Week 1

LV RBs

  • LV finished 15th in rushing expected points added and 13th in success rate in 2020
  • Josh Jacobs averaged 3.9 yards per carry
  • His 51% success rate ranked 13th among all RBs with 150+ carries
  • Jacobs’s average DK points last season, in games where he scored a TD: 22.79
  • Those individual scores: 35.9 // 22.5 // 13.8 // 32.6 // 13.4 // 20.4 // 20.9
  • His 12 rushing TDs came in just seven games
  • Jacobs’s average DK points in games without a TD: 9.98
  • Those individual scores: 13.5 // 10.3 // 10.3 // 6.1 // 15.9 // 6.4 // 10.4 // 6.9
  • Against the Ravens last week, Jacobs had 11 touches (42.3% of the team total for RBs, 20% of all team touches) on 52% of the snaps with 2 targets
  • His overall stat line: 10 rushing attempts for 34 yards and 2 TDs, 1 reception on 2 targets for 6 yards
  • Jacobs scored 17 DK points in the 33-27 OT victory at home
  • Kenyan Drake matched Jacobs for touches in Week 1, on less snaps (48%)
  • Drake scored 12 DK points with statlines of 6-11-0 rushing and 5-59-0 receiving on 5 targets
  • The Raiders acquired Kenyan Drake in the off season
  • Drake set career-highs for the Arizona Cardinals last season, with 955 rushing yards and 10 TDs
  • His 4.1 yards per touch was a career low, and he only averaged 1.7 receptions per game
  • Prior to losing three starters in the offseason, last year’s offensive line ranked 27th in ESPN’s Run Block Win Rate, at 69%
  • In 15 games with Jacobs last year, other RBs averaged 9.1 touches per game (6.6 rushes and 2.5 receptions)
  • In 2019, for Arizona, Drake averaged 0.89 yards per route run, which was 35th among RBs per PFF. In 2020, his 0.55 YPRR ranked 54th out of 58 qualifying RBs, below former Jacobs and backups Devontae Booker & Jalen Richard
  • 77.2% of Drake’s fantasy points came from the ground game in 2020
  • Drake’s DK point totals in outdoor games last season: 14.5 // 3.5 // 13.2 // 16 // 24.3 // 16

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Ben set career lows in average yards per attempt (6.3, 38th in the league) & depth of target (7.4 yards, 32nd in the league), in 2020
  • In Week 1, Ben’s yards per attempt was 5.9
  • Ben had 40.5 passes per game in 2020, second most in the league
  • 16.3% of Ben’s throws went over 15 yards downfield, 30th in the NFL
  • Ben connected on only 35.4% of those passes, 33rd in the NFL
  • DK points in road games last regular season: 22.1 // 15.6 // 15.3 // 28 // 17.7 // 15.5 (@ BUF) // 8.7
  • In all games with 48+ point totals: 19.2 // 21.4 // 15.6 // 15.3 // 28.5
  • On the road in Buffalo last week, Ben managed 12 DK points on 32 attempts
  • He completed 56.3% of his passes, with 5.9 YPA & 6.2 ADoT
  • 2 pass rushers for Las Vegas received grades above 90 from PFF in Week 1 versus Lamar Jackson
  • The Raiders secondary was led by Casey Hayward in Week 1, who received an 82.8 pass-coverage grade without allowing a reception on two targets in his direction while playing coverage on 39 snaps

PIT Pass Catchers

  • Week 1 PFF grades for Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, & JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Buffalo: 66.1 // 72.8 // 69.9
  • Diontae led the team in targets with 10. He finished with five receptions, 36 yards, and one TD (the lone offensive score), good for 14.6 DK points
  • His 31.3% team target share finished 4th among all WRs in Week 1
  • Chase Claypool had five targets on the road in Buffalo (15.6% of the team total), with three catches for 45 yards & one rush for 25 yards, good for 10 DK points
  • Claypool’s 10.6 ADoT led all WRs for Pittsburgh
  • JuJu led the team in slot snap % with 76.3%, the next closest was James Washington (33.3%) who only had 9 total snaps
  • JuJu secured four catches on eight targets for 52 yards, a total of 9.2 DK points
  • JuJu had a 25% team target share in Week 1
  • Tight end Eric Ebron was on the field for 19 passing plays, receiving just 2 targets and producing 1 catch for 19 yards with it. PFF graded Ebron at 62.1
  • Ebron had an 11.5 ADoT
  • Fellow tight end Pat Freiermuth was on the field for 13 passing plays, with 1 target that he secured for 24 yards. PFF grade: 72.8
  • Freiermuth had a 15.0 ADoT

Najee Harris

  • In his first regular season game, Najee played on 100% of the Pittsburgh offensive snaps, with 80% of the rushing attempts
  • He was targeted on 10% of his routes run
  • He had 16 rushing attempts for 45 yards, only 2.81 yards per attempt
  • Najee had 3 targets, good for 1 reception for four yards
  • Najee scored only 5.9 DK points in Week 1
  • The Raiders defense allowed fellow rookie Ty’Son Williams to rush for 65 yards and a TD on only nine attempts in Week 1, good for 7.2 yards per attempt & three receptions on four targets for 29 yards and a TD
  • Ty’Son played on only 51% of the offensive snaps for the Ravens