Yahoo! DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Seahawks at Steelers

Oct 16, 2021
 Yahoo! DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Seahawks at Steelers

Yahoo! has a roster construction of one ‘Superstar’ that scores at a 1.5 multiplier, while the remaining four roster spots accumulate points at the normal rate. This is half-point PPR scoring and the ‘Superstar’ pricing does not change from the Utility. All scoring and rules can be found here.

In Week 6, Sunday Night Football features a matchup between the Seahawks and Steelers, a pair of faltering teams who did not expect themselves to begin the season with 2-3 records, and now desperately need a win to turn their season around. Both teams lost key pieces to major injuries in their last contest, but none is bigger than the loss of Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson. This will mark Geno Smith’s first NFL start since 2017.

Depending on the type of contest we’re creating rosters for, we’ll need to adjust our player selection strategy. If playing in a tournament with a huge amount of contestants, it will be vitally important to play something other than the optimal lineup based on projections. Differentiating yourself from the rest of the field is equally valuable. Once we understand the type of roster we need to be building for the specific contest you’re trying to take down, we can then focus on player selection, working to identify combinations of players that could all hit their respective ceilings together, based on specific game environments. Slow, run-oriented defensive battles often allow very different players to hit their ceiling score compared to when a game is fast-paced and pass-happy.

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More Single-Game Breakdowns: FanDuel/DraftKings

Vegas Total and Spread

With Seattle traveling east and starting their backup quarterback, it isn’t surprising that the Seahawks are road underdogs this Sunday. The Steelers have an implied team total of 24 points, a score they’ve only reached once this season while Seattle has an implied team total of just 18.5 points.


Unlike last Sunday night, weather isn’t a concern here. Temperatures in Pittsburgh are expected to be in the mid-50s with winds less than 10 MPH, and no precipitation in the forecast.

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

The Steelers offense currently ranks 25th in the NFL in offensive efficiency. Their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, once known for his ability to escape the pocket and extend plays, has become arguably the league’s most immobile starting quarterback and they just lost veteran wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster to season-ending shoulder surgery. The Steelers have been throwing at the sixth-highest clip in the NFL, averaging 39.0 passing plays per game.

We know where a majority of those targets are headed, especially with Smith-Schuster out of the lineup. Diontae Johnson ($21) should see a larger target share than he did last week, though he still managed to find the end zone on one of his two targets. Chase Claypool ($18) also scored last week, and shouldn’t have trouble against the Seahawks defense that ranks ninth-worst in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to wide receivers. James Washington ($10) should see plenty of snaps as well and has earned five targets in back-to-back contests.

On the ground, it should be all Najee Harris ($29), all the time for the Steelers. Harris ranks number one in the NFL in opportunity share. He should be in line for 25-plus opportunities. The Seahawks have allowed the third-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to running backs.

For Seattle, new offensive coordinator Shane Waldren will try to create a game plan where backup quarterback Geno Smith ($23) can succeed. Expect the Seahawks to attempt several quick-hitters to Tyler Lockett ($21) and DK. Metcalf ($25) early on as they try to get Smith into a rhythm. While these numbers may fluctuate with a new quarterback, Lockett and Metcalf are currently commanding 54.5% of the Seahawks' total targets, and a staggering 78.7% of their air yards. I don’t expect these numbers to alter much at all with Smith under center. If Seattle is able to surprise Pittsburgh with a more pass-heavy approach, Seattle will have a chance to keep this game close. Seattle’s auxiliary weapons Freddie Swain ($12), Gerald Everett ($12) and Will Dissly ($10) will spend plenty of time on the field, but it’s hard to imagine any of the trio getting more than two targets with Smith at the helm.

With Chris Carson placed on injured reserve, we can expect Alex Collins ($14) to get the start for Seattle, but don’t be surprised if both speedster Travis Homer ($10) and 2020 fourth-round pick DeeJay Dallas ($19) are involved, creating the dreaded three-headed monster, typically a nightmare for fantasy gamers. While we can project roughly 13-18 combined running back fantasy points for the trio, it’s nearly impossible to project the split in production. Collins should have roughly double the opportunities of either backup, so he’ll have the best chance at leading the backfield in scoring.

Close, low-scoring game

Close, high-scoring game

Blowout for home team

Blowout for away team

Cheap/Unique Stack Option

Najee Harris ($29)/Pat Freiermuth ($10)/Steelers ($12)

With the Steelers favored by nearly a touchdown, the Steelers defense, in spite of ranking just 14th in the NFL in offense EPA allowed per play, may have a huge advantage against the SeahawksGeno Smith-led offense. Smith has a history of multi-turnover games, and the Steelers remain well above-average in generating pressure, which leads to the Steelers defense to being a strong option, even in tournaments. As our DFS playbook series points out, it’s advantageous to correlate our running backs and tight ends with strong home favorites, making Najee Harris ($29) and Freirmuth ($10) fairly simple ‘Vegas-line-based’ picks. Freiermuth is still splitting time with Eric Ebron ($10), but Ebron has yet to see more than two looks in a game. Freiermuth has seen four-plus targets in two of his first five NFL starts.

Low Salary Volatile Plays

Alex Collins ($14)

Collins earned 18 opportunities a week ago, earning a paltry 72 total yards, but he’ll once again be given the reins to this backfield with Chris Carson on injured reserve. The Steelers allow the third-lowest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to running backs.

James Washington ($10)

Washington likely slots into a vast majority of the Steelers’ three-wide receiver sets now that Smith-Schuster is out for the year. Washington has averaged an 82.2% snap share and has earned five targets in back-to-back weeks. He’s an excellent value-play, but with his ability to earn deep targets, he has a massive ceiling as well.

Travis Homer ($10) and DeeJay Dallas ($10)

Now that starter Chris Carson is out for the next three games, expect the Seahawks to try and get touches for their second-string and third-string backs Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. While the pair could combine for as little as 10 total opportunities, it’s no guarantee that Collins has the Seahawks backfield locked up for himself. If one from this pair breaks off a big play or two, Seattle could absolutely ride the “hot hand” throughout the second half.

Superstar Picks

Najee Harris ($29)

Harris has by far the most projected workload of any FLEX player on this slate. His 19-target game three weeks ago solidified his floor, and with his 88.9% snap share indicates there’s no concern that he’ll be taken out in important situations.

Ben Roethlisberger ($23)

Roethlisberger hasn't topped 20 fantasy points since Week 16 of 2020, but still has a high pass rate and an offensive line that has done a better job at keeping him upright the season, currently ranking best in the league in pass protection rate. With 35-40 projected passes for Roethlisberger, he is an easy start, but at his high salary and expected roster percentage, he’ll need three-plus touchdown passes to be a tournament-winner.

Geno Smith ($23)

The biggest wild card on the slate, Smith has two phenomenal weapons on the outside in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and certainly offers more upside as a rusher than Ben Roethlisberger. Smith rushed for 23 yards in Week 5, which is great for fantasy football, but he’ll need to improve upon his 58% completion percentage if the Seahawks want to have any hope of sustaining drives and keeping the game close.

Diontae Johnson ($21)

Johnson has scored 12-plus fantasy points in every game this season and earned 10-plus targets in all but one. His 50-yard touchdown catch was one of only two catches on the day for Johnson last week, but expect his target volume to creep back towards the double-digit mark against the Seahawks' middling secondary.

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