Kickoff Sunday, Jan 16th 8:15pm Eastern

Steelers (
17.0) at

Chiefs (
29.5)

Over/Under 46.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Steelers Run D
18th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
21st DVOA/16th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
9th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
3rd DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Chiefs Run D
6th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
20th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
22nd DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
22nd DVOA/15th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster returned to a limited practice on Thursday and has an outside chance of returning against the Chiefs.
  • Running back Najee Harris missed two practices in a row to start the week with an elbow issue but reports out of Pittsburgh are that he is fully expected to play.
  • No current COVID issues with the Steelers.
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire was ruled out on Friday afternoon. 
  • Tyreek Hill began the week with a full practice and was subsequently downgraded on Thursday to limited but reports are that he’s expected to play along with Darrel Williams. 
  • No current COVID issues with the Chiefs.

How pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::

Pittsburgh continued their high volume, low upside pass offense throughout the second half of the season. Ben Roethlisberger had the shortest time to throw of any qualified quarterback this season by a wide margin, meaning the Steelers utilized quick aerial strikes as a means of hiding a poor pass-blocking offensive line and diminished arm strength of their starting quarterback. I would expect more of the same against a Chiefs defense designed to take away the deep areas of the field. With that understanding, we also need to consider the fact that the Chiefs struggled with yards after catch allowed for the majority of the season, finishing the year with the third-most allowed in the league. Also, the Chiefs finished towards the bottom of the league in most rush efficiency metrics allowed, but it’s really a net-zero considering the inabilities of the Steelers offensive line. Overall, expect the same high pass rates primarily to the short areas of the field from the Steelers this week.

Najee Harris led the league in offensive snaps played amongst all running backs this season and there is no reason (outside of his injured elbow) to expect anything to change in the postseason. Harris failed to practice on Wednesday or Thursday this week but head coach Mike Tomlin stated he will be on the field come Sunday, but it is something to monitor nonetheless. For some perspective, Harris failed to crack 20 running back opportunities only six times all season, which is an incredible rate of opportunity. That said, he also cracked 100 yards rushing only three times all season and will likely need a trip to the paint to matter on this slate. The pure rushing matchup yields a below-average 4.25 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Kansas City defense that has played better against the run to end the season.

Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are the only pass-catchers on this offense to see near every-down usage, with Ray-Ray McCloud, Pat Freiermuth, and Zach Gentry filling in for “tick under elite” snap rates in situational roles, on an offense that has transitioned to heavy 12-personnel alignments as the season has progressed. Diontae saw double-digit targets in all but four healthy games this year and should be relied on heavily as a chain-mover this weekend. Chase Claypool has seen his role change numerous times this season, particularly with respect to his route tree, and the best way to describe his role over the final month of the season is “a mixture between a prototypical X and Z receiver,” meaning his primary role is a perimeter possession-style wideout but he mixes in some deeper, low probability routes. Freiermuth is primarily a threat in the red zone, seeing sparse usage between the twenties. Ray-Ray McCloud has seen his role grow out of necessity due to the injuries and COVID issues amongst the pass-catchers, which could be put in question this week with the possible return of JuJu Smith-Schuster to the starting lineup. Whoever takes hold of that slot receiver role will be highly intriguing this week considering the matchup and recent usage (McCloud has seen 27 targets over the previous three weeks).

How kansas city Will Try To Win ::

Kansas City ranked in the top ten in overall pass rate and pass rate with a lead over the final half of the season at 59% and 57%, respectively. While those rates are down compared to the first half of the season, the glaring takeaway is that their situational play-calling doesn’t change much depending on game flow. As in, their overall pass rates are down due to their surging defense, but the Chiefs are going to stick to their game plan regardless of the outcome on the scoreboard. The other notable trend is their first and second down pass rate, which has been towards the top of the league for each of the past three seasons. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it creates more second-and-third-and-short situations. Secondly, it keeps opposing offenses on their heels. Both of these have led to the Chiefs once again ranking as the league’s most efficient offense this season. Against a Steelers team that has no true strength on defense other than their elite pass rush, we should expect this Chiefs offense to attack in any way they choose.

There are a number of moving pieces and uncertain situations regarding the Chiefs backfield this week, as both Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams started the week with limited showings (update: CEH has been ruled out). Williams maintained that level of involvement on Thursday while CEH was downgraded to DNP, which could be due to a number of reasons ranging from maintenance to an aggravation of his shoulder injury. Of note, CEH wasn’t spotted at the portion of practice open to the media on Friday, indicating a potential questionable-at-best situation for Sunday. Should CEH play, we should expect him to split the load with Williams, but should CEH miss, we’re likeliest to see Williams take a stranglehold on the backfield opportunities for the Chiefs. Williams would be one of the top plays on the slate at any position should CEH miss. Behind those two, expect Jerick McKinnon and Derrick Gore to fill situational roles. The pure rushing matchup yields an above-average 4.445 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Steelers team that has been gashed by opposing backfields over the second half of the season (26.7 fantasy points per game allowed to opposing backfields over the full season, which ranked seventh-worst in the league).

The uncertainty continues with the pass game options for the Chiefs, as Tyreek Hill was downgraded from full participant on Wednesday to limited on Thursday, and Travis Kelce has been nursing injuries for the past month. I would tentatively expect both to be full-go this weekend, with the outside chance at Byron Pringle being more involved should the game be in hand early. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill make up such a large portion of this pass offense on a standard week and should be treated as such. Behind those two, Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman, and Josh Gordon fill situational roles. The only other consideration of note is the elite pass rush of the Pittsburgh defense, which has been highly successful at generating organic pressure this season without the need for high blitz rates (middle of the pack 24.9% blitz rate this season), which could theoretically affect the number of downfield looks the Chiefs are able to take on second and third down. Overall, expect the Chiefs to largely have their way in any way they choose to attack.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

It is likeliest we see this game play out like many of Pittsburgh’s other games this season, with an early emphasis on the run and short passing games followed by their opponent taking control of the game, forcing the Steelers away from the run game and towards a low upside, short-area passing game. This game brings the lowest game total on the slate, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plays that won’t be of fantasy utility to us this weekend. While we can’t be certain how the Chiefs will approach a game that they are highly likely to control from start to finish, their historical trends this season indicate a heavy emphasis on the passing game, regardless of game flow. That said, this is the playoffs, and the Chiefs have multiple offensive pieces nursing injuries after a grueling season, so there is a distinct possibility we see an increased emphasis on the ground game should they jump out to an early lead (likely). Look for the Steelers to maintain their short-area passing game as they try and claw their way back into this one.

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN NOTES

DFS+ Interpretation sunday slate ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • Eight of the Top 10 teams in ATS record made the playoffs (in order of ranking: GB, DAL, NE, TEN, ARI, BUF, CIN, PHI)
  • PIT is one of two playoff teams that ranked in the Bottom 10 in ATS record (LV is the other)
  • Vegas total opened at 48 but has since dropped two points (as of Thursday evening)
  • KC’s implied total of 29.25 is the highest on the week, two full points higher than the second highest (TB)
  • PIT’s implied total of 16.75 is the lowest on the week, two full points lower than the second lowest (PHI)
  • The 12.5 pt spread is the widest, four points wider than the second widest (PHI @ TB)
  • PIT scored fewer than 20 pts in three of their final four regular season games (26 in the fourth)
  • KC scored greater than 30 pts in three of their final four regular season games (28 in the fourth)
  • PIT held their opponents to 14 or fewer pts in three of their last four
  • KC’s opponents scored 24 or more pts in three of their last four
  • In Week 16, PIT lost @ KC 36 to 10
  • In the regular season, KC ranked fourth in ppg (28.2), PIT ranked 21st (20.2)
  • KC ranked eighth in ppg allowed (21.4), PIT ranked 20th (23.4)
  • KC averaged the fifth most offensive plays per game (66.7), PIT averaged the ninth most (65.5)
  • On defense, PIT’s opponents averaged the sixth most offensive plays (65.6), KC’s averaged the 20th most (62.4)
  • Per numberFire, PIT @ KC is the lowest ranked game in terms of average pace (30.2 seconds per play) but the highest ranked game in average pass rate (62.1%)

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Stat line in Week 16’s 10-36 loss @ KC: 23/35:159:1:1
  • His 4.5 YPA was the second lowest on the week
  • On the season, KC allowed 7.0 YPA (seventh most)
  • Four straight weeks scoring fewer than 15 DK pts
  • Scored 4x his DK salary ($5,200) twice this year: 22.92 @ LAC in Week 11 // 28.82 @ MIN in Week 14
  • Both of those games were under domes
  • On the season, KC ranked 30th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (19.96)
  • In their last four games, only Ben was held to fewer than 20 DK pts
  • On the season, his 8.36 pts in Week 16 were only the second instance of KC holding a QB to single digit DK pts

PIT Passing Attack

  • Snap share: Diontae Johnson 84.1% // Chase Claypool 70.2% // Pat Freiermuth 58.2% // Ray-Ray McCloud 45.9% // James Washington 40.9%
  • Target share: Johnson 25.5% // Claypool 15.8% // Freiermuth 11.9% // McCloud 9.9% // Washington 6.6%
  • Johnson’s target counts in the last four games: 5 // 9 (@ KC) // 15 // 10
  • Stat lines: 5:38:0 // 6:51:1 // 8:31:1 // 7:51:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($6,700) once in 16 games: 33.5 vs. BAL in Week 13
  • Also scored 20+ DK pts three times
  • Claypool’s target counts in the last four games: 2 // 6 (@ KC) // 9 // 7
  • Stat lines: 0:0:0 // 4:41:0 // 3:17:0 // 5:37:1
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($4,800) once in 16 games: 27 vs. DEN in Week 5
  • Has otherwise not scored 20 DK pts
  • McCloud’s target counts in the last four games: 3 // 8 (@ KC) // 10 // 9
  • Stat lines: 1:0:0 // 4:25:0 // 4:35:0 // 4:37:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($3,700) once in 14 games: 15.3 vs. PIT in Week 10
  • Has otherwise not scored double digit DK pts
  • Washington missed Week 18 on the COVID list, but has been activated for this week
  • His target counts in his last four games: 6 // 5 // 2 (@ KC) // 1
  • Stat lines: 4:65:1 // 3:36:0 // 0:0:0 // 0:0:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($3,200) once in 11 games: 16.5 @ MIN in Week 14
  • Has otherwise not scored 12+ DK pts
  • KC ranked 23rd in DK ppg allowed to WRs (35.63)
  • Notable opposing WR scores: Emmanuel Sanders 20.4 // Devonta Smith 22.2 // Marquise Brown 26.3 // AJ Brown 30.3 // Hunter Renfrow 32.7 // Mike Williams 36.2 // Ja’Marr Chase 58.6
  • Freiermuth missed Week 16 @ KC due to a concussion
  • His target counts in his last four games: 3 // 4 // 6 // 9
  • Stat lines: 2:32:1 // 4:37:0 // 5:22:0 // 6:53:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($4,200) once in 16 games: 21.3 vs. CHI in Week 9
  • Scored double digit DK pts an additional seven times
  • KC ranked 17th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (12.34)
  • Notable opposing TE scores: Zach Ertz 12 // Ricky Seals-Jones 15.8 // Dallas Goedert 16.6 // Dawson Knox 23.7

Najee Harris

  • Stat line in Week 16 @ KC: 19/93:0 rushing & 5/7:17:0 receiving
  • Led all NFL RBs in snap share (83.5%) and target share (14.2%)
  • 22.4 touches per game ranked second behind Derrick Henry’s 29.6 (who hasn’t played since Week 8)
  • Despite facing the sixth fewest rushing attempts per game, KC allows the 12th most yards (117.6) and second most YPA (4.8)
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($6,600) twice in 17 games: 31.2 vs. KC in Week 3 // 32.6 vs. CLE in Week 17
  • Scored 20+ DK pts eight times
  • KC ranked 20th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (23.99)
  • Notable opposing RB scores: Melvin Gordon 20.6 // Kenneth Gainwell 20.9 // Austin Ekeler 22.7 // Nick Chubb 23.1 // Javonte Williams 32.8

Patrick Mahomes

  • Stat line in Week 16’s 36-10 win vs. PIT: 23/30:258:3:0
  • 8.6 YPA ranked sixth highest on the week
  • Four straight weeks of 20+ DK ppg, averaging 23.16 on the season
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($7,400) four times in 17 games: 32.72 @ PHI in Week 4 // 34.6 @ LAC in Week 15 // 36.28 vs. CLE in Week 1 // 39.24 @ LV in Week 10
  • On the season, PIT ranked 10th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (16.63)
  • Notable opposing QB scores: Patrick Mahomes 22.32 // Aaron Rodgers 24.12 // Derek Carr 27.18 // Justin Herbert 38.28

KC Passing Attack

  • Snap share: Travis Kelce 77.5% // Tyreek Hill 72.6% // Demarcus Robinson 58.2% // Mecole Hardman 52.1% // Byron Pringle 49%
  • Target share: Hill 23.6% // Kelce 19.9% // Hardman 12.3% // Pringle 8.9% // Robinson 6.1%
  • Hill’s target counts in his last four games: 13 // 2 (vs. PIT) // 10 // 3
  • Stat lines: 12:148:1 // 2:19:0 // 6:40:0 // 1:2:0
  • Hill was said to be exhausted from his bout with COVID during Week 16’s 36-10 victory over PIT
  • He dinged up a lingering heel injury in warmups prior to Week 18
  • Hill was a full participant on Wednesday of this week, but limited on Thursday
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($7,100) three times in 17 games: 35.8 @ LAC in Week 15 // 40.1 vs. CLE in Week 1 // 50.6 @ PHI in Week 4
  • Hardman’s target counts in his last four games: 4 // 5 (vs. PIT) // 1 // 11
  • Stat lines: 2:11:0 // 3:31:1 // 1:53:0 // 8:103:0
  • His 103 yards in Week 18 were a career high
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($4,100) twice in 17 games: 16.6 vs. BUF in Week 5 // 22.3 @ DEN in Week 18
  • Hardman has otherwise not scored 15 pts
  • Pringle’s target counts in his last four games: 4 // 7 (vs. PIT) // 4 // 8
  • Stat lines: 3:22:0 // 6:75:2 // 3:35:0 // 5:56:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($3,900) once in 16 games: 25.5 vs. PIT in Week 16
  • Pringle has otherwise not scored 15 pts
  • Robinson’s target counts in his last four games: 3 // 2 (vs. PIT) // 2 // 6
  • Stat lines: 0:0:0 // 2:15:0 // 2:33:1 // 3:19:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($3,300) twice in 13 games: 13.6 @ BAL in Week 2 // 13.6 @ WAS in Week 6
  • Week 17’s 11.3 DK pts was Robinson’s only other double digit game
  • PIT ranked 10th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (33.18)
  • Just 10 opposing WRs have scored 20+ DK pts vs. PIT
  • None have hit 30 DK pts
  • Kelce missed Week 16’s 36-10 victory vs. PIT due to COVID
  • Target counts in his last four games: 4 // 13 // 7 // 5
  • Stat lines: 3:27:0 // 10:191:2 // 5:25:1 // 4:34:1
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($6,700) twice in 16 games: 26.9 @ BAL in Week 2 // 44.1 @ LAC in Week 15
  • PIT ranked 10th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (10.89)
  • Notable opposing TE scores: Foster Moreau 11.4 // Darren Waller 11.5 // David Njoku 12.8 // Cole Kmet 14.7 // Mark Andrews 16.5

KC RBs

  • Snap share: Darrel Williams 47.5% // CEH 41.8%
  • Target share: Williams 8.4% // CEH 3.4%
  • Touches per game: CEH 13.8 // Williams 11.2
  • CEH left Week 16’s 36-10 victory vs. PIT in the third quarter, with a 9/27:1 stat line
  • Touch log from last four healthy games: 14 // 17 // 13 // 11
  • Stat lines (rushing & receiving): 12/63:1 & 2/2:13:0 // 14/54:0 & 3/3:28 // 10/37:2 & 3/3:5 // 9/32:0 & 2/4:18:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($5,600) once in 10 games: 22.4 @ PHI in Week 4
  • CEH has yet to play since his Week 16 injury
  • He practiced on Wednesday this week, but was downgraded to DNP on Thursday
  • In Week 16’s 36-10 victory vs. PIT, during which CEH left early, Williams finished with a 11/55:0 stat line
  • Touch log from last four games: 5 // 14 (vs. PIT) // 17 // 10
  • Stat lines: 5/12:0 & 0/1:0 // 11/55:0 & 3/3:30:0 // 14/88:2 & 3/3:19:0 // 7/17:0 & 3/4:30:0
  • Scored 4x his Week 19 DK salary ($5,500) three times in 17 games: 23.9 @ WAS in Week 6 // 25.7 @ CIN in Week 17 // 32.4 @ LV in Week 10
  • Williams has been limited in practice due to a toe injury but is expected to be ready
  • PIT ranked 26th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (25.61)
  • Notable opposing RB scores: Devonta Freeman 20.7 // Latavius Murray 24 // Joe Mixon 35.3 // Dalvin Cook 38.2 // Austin Ekeler 41.5