Week 14 kicks off with a matchip between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET. The Patriots are fresh off a loss to the Chargers and facing elimination with a loss or tie here, while the Steelers look to bounce back from a loss to the Cardinals and continue vying for a Wild Card bid.
Steelers running back Najee Harris has been listed as questionable heading into Thursday. Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott is out. Patriots wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker are questionable, with Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte both listed as out.
Here, we break down the best DFS lineup strategy for Thursday’s game.
NFL DFS Showdown strategy: Patriots vs. Steelers
Jaylen Warren, RB, Steelers ($12,000)
Najee Harris is listed as questionable this week, and while he may still be able to suit up and play, we could see a decrease in his load in the backfield. Jaylen Warren will pick up any slack left off, as the two have been trading off carries and targets all season. Warren feels like a better bet in the captain’s chair for this week specifically .
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Patriots ($14,100)
With Rhamondre Stevenson injured and out for several weeks, Elliott will be taking over the majority of the load in the Patriots’ backfield. He was already seeing consistently high production in both the rushing and passing game, and we can expect to see that take another step up this week as the Pats face the Steelers with several wide receivers listed as questionable. Elliott will likely be the Patriots’ biggest earner this week.
George Pickens, WR, Steelers ($10,000)
Pickens is the leading receiver for the Steelers, and even with Kenny Pickett out for the week, he should still see plenty of action on the field from backup Mitch Trubisky. Pickens had four receptions for 85 yards in Week 13. After Diontae Johnson appeared to have some hamstring soreness last week, Pickens is the best pick in a FLEX spot this week.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Steelers ($7,400)
Freirmuth had a huge Week 12 which was followed up by a fairly modest Week 13 performance. The tight end is somewhat on the cheaper end of the top options at receiver this week. He had a 120-yard day against the Bengals, and while we may not see that again, Freiermuth’s size makes him a reliable option in the short game.
Players to Avoid
Mac Jones, QB, Patriots ($9,000)
Jones did not start in Week 13 after getting benched at halftime in Week 12, and while Bill Belichick has not officially announced that Zappe will be starting again this week, it’s safe to assume that Jones will remain on the bench. Even if Jones does play, we don’t expect him to be much of an asset for a DFS lineup, so go ahead and stay away there.
Hunter Henry, TE, Patriots ($7,800)
Henry could be a decent budget play here, but his production has not been particularly notable as of late. Henry had two receptions for 15 yards in Week 13 and three for 21 yards in Week 12. He could always have an unexpected standout game, but with the way the Pats’ offense is looking, it’s probably safer to stay away.