Kickoff Sunday, Dec 26th 4:25pm Eastern

Steelers (
17) at

Chiefs (
27.5)

Over/Under 44.5

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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 mjohnson86 >>
  • The Chiefs have had some weeks recently where they looked like the Chiefs of old, but there are some major questions here about whether they will have the personnel or need to do that against the Steelers.
  • Pittsburgh’s run defense has been one of the worst in the league for the last few weeks, getting gashed on a weekly basis.
  • The pace for this game projects to be very fast, with both teams ranking top-10 in pace and throwing at a top-5 rate.
  • The status of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will have a huge impact on the outlook and projection for this game.

How pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::

Over their last three road games, the Steelers have given up 118 points – an average of 39.3 points per game. Those games were against three talented, explosive offenses in the Chargers, Bengals, and Vikings. A road trip to Kansas City and the high-powered Chiefs offense certainly sets up as a similar spot that we would expect a similar game script to play out.

While they have been pass-heavy all season, Pittsburgh has actually thrown at the highest situation-neutral rate in the league since Week 11. Last week against the Titans was a weird game environment as both teams were content to play boring, inefficient football with their mediocre offenses. That game had very few total plays, and Ben Roethlisberger only threw the ball 25 times. Prior to that, Ben had averaged 39 pass attempts per game over the four previous weeks. The Kansas City defense works to limit wide receiver production and big plays in the passing game while trying to funnel things towards the running game and short, middle of the field. This actually fits fairly well with the Steelers method of attack as they attempt to hide Ben Roethlisberger and his inability to push the ball down the field. The Chiefs defense has been very good recently, as they had held six straight opponents under 20 points (four of which were held under 10 points) prior to last week’s shootout with the Chargers. In theory, this matchup sets up well for how the Steelers try to attack (voluminous, short-area passing), but in reality, this is a very dangerous matchup where if Ben is throwing 40+ times, the Chiefs defense could tee off on him. The Chiefs are, by far, most susceptible on the ground, but the Steelers have the 27th graded run blocking by PFF, and Najee Harris hasn’t been able to consistently produce on the ground this season due primarily to the environment and blocking around him. The Steelers should start this game trying to run the ball and pepper Diontae Johnson with short-area targets, but without the threat of Ben challenging them down the field, the Chiefs will likely be prepared for this and give them fits early.

How kansas city Will Try To Win ::

The Steelers run defense was a feared unit for many years. How the mighty have fallen. Currently ranked 30th in DVOA and 31st in yards allowed per carry, the Steelers are a team that opponents are actively attacking on the ground. The Chiefs have PFF’s #3 graded run-blocking offensive line and have shown significant improvement running the ball since last season and the start of this season. This is bad bad news for the Steelers as they head on the road to face a Patrick Mahomes-led offense.

While the Chiefs still pass at a top-5 rate in the league, it is worth noting that they are only throwing at a 59% situation-neutral rate over their last four games – which is about the league average. As their defense has improved and opposing defenses have sold out to slow down the explosive Chiefs passing game, they have evolved their approach to make their opponents pay for playing so far off the line and using so many defensive backs. The Chiefs are likely to be able to move the ball in whatever manner they choose, and the Steelers will dictate to them what that will be. If the Steelers do not dedicate resources to help their poor run defense, they will likely be gashed repeatedly on the ground. If the Steelers do bring their offense closer to the line, Mahomes and company will be able to take shots down the field and use their elite talent for chunk plays and explosive scoring. The status of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce (who are both on the COVID list with uncertain statuses for Sunday) will likely have a significant impact on how the Steelers elect to defend the Chiefs, as, without both of these players, they would be able to focus on reinforcing their run defense with less worry of being exposed on the back end.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

Although they are a pass-heavy team, the Steelers are not going to voluntarily get into a shootout with Patrick Mahomes on the road. The Steelers will run the ball and use their short-area passing game against the Chiefs, trying to sustain drives and score points to protect both Ben Roethlisberger and their highly susceptible defense. So much of the projection for this game relies on the health status of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, both of whom we will likely not have the final word on until Sunday morning but who still have a chance to be cleared thanks to the league’s new COVID protocols allowing a shorter return to play. Ironically, I think the Chiefs are more likely to control this game with their running game if they have Tyreek and/or Kelce active, as that will keep the Steelers from allocating more resources to help their struggling run defense. On the flip side, if the Chiefs are forced to play without both of their top receiving options, that would likely lead to the Steelers stacking the box and taking their chances against the replacement level receivers the Chiefs would be left with. The Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes, however, and that could end up a recipe for disaster if the Chiefs can give him time to take those shots down the field, regardless of who is on the receiving end.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Patrick Mahomes:

  • PIT has allowed 223.6 pass yds/g, with just four QBs over 275 yds
  • Mahomes has passed for 289.4 yds/g (5th most)
  • Mahomes has five games of 300 pass yds this year
  • PIT has allowed the 7th fewest QB DK pts/g
  • Since W7 Mahomes has scores of 9.7, 15, 10.4, 9.5, 13.6, 20.3 DK pts, but he also has scores of 39.2 & 34.6 DK pts
  • Mahomes may be without both Kelce & Hill as of right now (Covid), which means his top targets would be Hardman, Robinson, Pringle

KC WRs:

  • Tyreek Hill has finished above 60 rec yds in 45 of his 60 full games since 2018
  • The final game scores of Hill’s 25+ pt scores since 2020: (35-9), (33-31), (35-31), (27-24), (33-27), (38-24), (33-29), (42-30), (20-17), (41-14), (34-28)
  • Hill targets: 15 // 4 // 7 // 12 // 13 // 12 // 9 // 18 // 11 // 10 // 11 // 5 // 4 // 13
  • Hill (144) leads the next closest Hardman (66) by 78 targets
  • If Hill & Kelce both miss, that would vacate 19.1 targets/g
  • Since 2019 (52 games), the quartet of Watkins, Hardman, Robinson, Pringle has produced just 5 scores of 20+ DK pts, and the two biggest came during the absence of Hill
  • PIT has allowed the 10th lowest success rate to WRs
  • PIT ranks 9th in def pass DVOA
  • 16 WRs have had 60+ rec yds vs PIT
  • 6 WRs have had 80+ rec yds vs PIT

Travis Kelce:

  • Since 2020: Kelce has produced 70+ yds in 21/32 games, including 13 100yd games and 21 TDs
  • Kelce has scored 17+ DK pts in 8/14 games; 20+ in 5g
  • Since 2020: DK pts when Hill sub-15 DK pts: 22.5 // 30.6 // 22.8 // 26.9 // 20.4 // 17.7 // 12.5 // 17.8 // 5.7 // 5.7
  • Since 2020: DK pts when Hill 25+ DK pts: 27.9 // 28.9 // 29.9 // 16.2 // 30.6 // 25.6 // 6.3 // 4.7 // 22.9 // 44.1
  • Blake Bell & Jody Fortson have combined for 9 rec for 59 yds, 1 TD on the season
  • TEs with 40+ yds vs PIT: Knox (41) // Waller (65) // Everett (40) // Kmet (87) // Andrews (50)
  • Dissly & Moreau are the only TEs to score vs PIT

KC RBs:

  • RBs with 80+ total yds vs PIT: Singletary (80) // Mixon (94) // Dillon (97), Jones (99) // Javonte (86) // Collins (98) // Montgomery (80) // Swift (135) // Ekeler (115) // Mixon (163) // Freeman (97) // Dalvin (222) // Foreman (135)
  • PIT allowed 0 RB TDs in first five games; RB TDs since: 1 // 1 // 0 // 2 // 4 // 2 // 1 // 2 // 0
  • CEH total touches & yds since returning: 14:76:1 // 17:82 // 13:42:2 // 13:50
  • Williams & Gore have each scored a TD in those 4 games since CEH returned
  • Williams total touches & yds since CEH returned: 8:26 // 8:80 // 5:39:1 // 6:12

Ben Roethlisberger:

  • Ben’s only two games of 20+ DK pts: 22.9 in 37-41 loss to LAC // 28.8 in 28-36 loss to MIN (both games on primetime)
  • Ben has thrown for 270+ yds just four times all season
  • KC hasn’t allowed a QB over 270 yds since W5

PIT WRs:

  • As per usual with these Spags KC defenses, KC has been strongest on defense vs WRs, allowing the 10th fewest WR DK pts/g on the 6th lowest WR tg rate
  • WRs with 8 tg vs KC: Brown (113:1) // Keenan (50:1), Williams (122:2) // Smith (122) // McLaurin (28) // AJB (133:1) // Adams (42) // Renfrow (46:1) // Gallup (44) // Renfrow (117:1) // Keenan (78:1), Williams (49)
  • Diontae has 51 tg more (135) than next closest (83, Claypool)
  • Diontae has 10 games of 10+ tg
  • Diontae has 7 games of 80+ yds; 3 of 100+ yds
  • Claypool has just three games of 15+ DK pts (18.6, 27, 17.5), and just once since W5
  • Claypool has just four games with 5+ rec

Pat Freiermuth:

  • Freiermuth is questionable with concussion after exiting early last week
  • Freiermuth has 4+ tg in 9 games
  • Freiermuth’s tg since W8: 7 // 6 // 9 // 7 // 4 // 4 // 3 // 4
  • Freiermuth leads PIT pass-catchers with 7 TDs (6 in last 8 games since Bye)
  • KC has allowed the 7th highest success rate & yds/att to TEs
  • TEs with 40+ yds vs KC: Njoku (76) // Andrews (57) // Ertz (60), Goedert (56:1) // Knox (117:1) // RSJ (58:1) // Schultz (53)
  • KC has allowed 6 TE TDs

Najee Harris:

  • RBs with 80+ rush yds vs KC: Chubb (83:2) // Henry (86) // J Williams (102) // Jackson (86)
  • Najee has 80+ rush yds in 5/14 games, and six games of under 50 rush yds
  • Najee has 1+ TD in 8/14 games
  • RBs with 40+ rec yds vs KC: Ekeler (52:1) // Gainwell (58) // Moss (55) // McKissic (65) // Booker (65) // Dillon (44) // J Williams (76:1) // Jacobs (46)
  • Najee has 9 games of 5+ tg
  • Najee has just 3 games of 40+ rec yds, and not since W6
  • KC ranks 20th in def rush DVOA
  • KC has allowed the 4th highest success rate & 5th highest yds/att on RB tg