XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday night brings us one of the lowest total games I’ve ever seen as the Steelers visit the Ravens. This game has a Vegas total of just 35 points with Baltimore favored by 2.5. It is very rare to have neither team projected to even reach 20 points! Lamar Jackson is also likely to miss again as he hasn’t practiced yet this week (bad news, because he was expected to). Good thing there’s Showdown or nobody would watch this.
Update: Lamar Jackson has been officially ruled out
On the Steelers side, we know the deal with the run game by this point in the season. Najee Harris is the RB1 but he’s no longer in the massive bell cow role that he saw in his rookie year, playing around 70% of the snaps or so, and averaging just 3.3 targets per game (he was over five last year). Encouragingly, Najee saw the most targets he’s seen all year last week with nine, along with his second highest count of total running back opportunities with 25. All that said, however, he’s been terribly inefficient and more of a floor play than a ceiling one (only one game all year of over 20 DK points, but also only three of under 10). As the second-most expensive player on the slate, it’s hard for me to get excited about him in tournaments as a road underdog with a decent-but-not-great workload in a tough matchup. Behind Najee, Jaylen Warren will play a backup role of around 30% of the snaps. Warren has reached double-digit DK points four times this season, which at $3,200 will play. He’s a reasonable tourney option who is better than just a punt (and we know that “RB2 in Showdown” is historically a good leverage spot).
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, Diontae Johnson continues one of the weirdest seasons I’ve ever seen, as he’s seen a total of 130 targets with 82 receptions and no touchdowns (Saquon Barkley is second with 72 targets and 55 receptions and no receiving TDs). Diontae is seeing consistently strong volume with only two games under seven targets and seven games of 10+ targets, but much like Najee, he hasn’t been able to convert the volume to box-score success. At $8,600, though, aiming for a strong floor play in an ugly game feels more attractive to me than Najee at $10.2k. George Pickens is someone we’ve generally viewed as having a big ceiling that we just haven’t seen yet, but the advanced metrics point to a highly inefficient receiver. While he’s a rookie and could still have a great ceiling, it’s fair at this point to wonder if he might need more seasoning before we get a chance to see it. At $8,400, he’s likely to come in at significantly lower ownership than Diontae, I would guess. If that’s the case, I’ll continue to be overweight and chase the ceiling dream, but if it looks like they’re going to be similarly owned, I would lean toward Diontae. The WR3 role is being split between Steven Sims and Miles Boykin, with Gunner Olszewski seeing a handful of snaps (diminishing last week, though – I’m not sure if that’s a trend, but I’d guess it is). Sims has a high of four targets in a game, while Boykin only has three on the year, and Gunner has seven. Fun times down here. Sims would be my favorite here as he at least has targets in every game going back to Week 8 (and his role has grown somewhat since Chase Claypool was traded), but these are all pretty gross plays. At tight end, Pat Freiermuth jumped up to an 80% snap rate last week for the first time since Week 2, with eight targets to go along with it. Part of that may have been matchup driven against Las Vegas, but Freiermuth is a guy I always love to target as he’s the second-most consistent pass catcher on the team outside of Diontae, and he’s priced over $1k cheaper. Zach Gentry and Connor Heyward will back up Freiermuth and can be included in MME pools as punt options.